The Hawkstorian: Deep Thoughts on the Salary Cap

The Hawkstorian, Seahawks.NET's salary cap guru, waxes financial on the hidden bargain that is Jamie Sharper, rookie deals, and another $100k or so that...just...went...somewhere...

Jamie Sharper - More Than Meets the Eye

Last week, I praised the use of a later-year roster bonus to make Andre Dyson’s contract palatable for both the Seahawks and their new starting cornerback. I’ve since learned information about Jamie Sharper’s deal that shows more creative caponomics.

Sharper signed a 5-year deal that was reported to contain a $1.5M signing bonus. What hasn’t been reported is a second bonus is scheduled to be paid in 2007 of $1M. That bonus is contingent on Sharper meeting playing time standards (the details of which I’m not privy to). Because the bonus is considered to be guaranteed, it also prorates over the life of the deal, essentially making the proratable bonus $2.5M, or $500,000 each year. His 2005 cap figure is therefore $1.5M when his current year base salary is included, slightly more than the $1.3M that has been more widely reported.

Is $200,000 really that significant? When we consider that the team has been hovering near zero cap room over the past several weeks, it definitely could make a difference. My latest information shows the Seahawks with $676,000 in available cap space.

Undrafted Rookies – Relative Values

Last year, I printed a list of signing bonuses each un-drafted rookie received, attempting to give some hint as to which player might have an edge as a long-shot candidate to make the final roster. DE Gabe Nyenhuis was my early favorite to make the club considering he was paid the highest signing bonus of that crop of un-drafted rookies. Sadly, Nyenhuis had a forgettable training camp and wound up on the Jaguars’ practice squad.

That said, when I give you the names this time, I’m still going to label fullback Leonard Weaver as my “8th round draft pick”, who may have an edge come September at a coveted NFL roster spot.

This year’s un-drafted rookie class and their signing bonuses:

FB Leonard Weaver, $10,000
RB Marquis Weeks, $7,500
RB Jesse Lumsden, $5,500
S Jammal Brimmer, $4,000
G Steven Gibbs, $3,000
S Junior Rosegreen, $3,000
LS Tim Galloway, $2,000
P Chris Kluwe, $2,000
TE Calen Powell, $1,000
QB Brian Wrobel, $1,000
S Terry Holley, No Bonus

The total of the bonuses paid in 2005 was only $39,000. In 2004, the Seahawks paid $62,000 in bonuses to un-drafted players, so clearly the team chose not to chase top un-drafted players this year. In the past, un-drafted players such as Tracy White, D.D. Lewis and Kerry Carter all received bonuses higher than $10,000.

Reason #835 Why Tracking the Salary Cap is Impossible

Last month, I reported that the Seahawks were charged $103,000 towards their 2005 cap for an injury settlement from last year. Now, my latest information shows that charge went away. No explanation, of course. My guess is somebody pointed out that a 2004 charge probably shouldn’t count against 2005. Hmmm, maybe my article prompted someone into action? Do you think?? Do I get credit for saving the team over $100,000?

Response from the team:

Dear Mr. Hawkstorian:

Thank you for your compelling article about Byron Hardmon and his injury settlement. We had no idea he was being charged against our team and without your help, we could never had signed Andre Dyson, Jamie Sharper or any of our rookies. Ha ha, just kidding.

--Mike Reinfeldt. (not really)

Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?

Thanks again, to AdamJT13 for giving fans who want to know this stuff information you won’t see anywhere else. You can reach the Hawkstorian at Top Stories