Under terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, the Seahawks could designate Wistrom as a post June 1 release even though he’s released much earlier. What’s curious is the team had nothing to gain by cutting Wistrom now. They could have held him on the roster until June and encouraged him to accept a lower salary for 2007.
Instead, Wistrom balked at any talk of renegotiation and was quickly released. If the team really believed he had another season left in the tank we can assume they would have tried a little harder to keep him.
In 2004, Wistrom was signed to a 6-year $33 million deal that most proclaimed to be a huge overpayment. I was willing to give the team some slack at the time, stating that if Wistrom was a solid contributor over the 6-year term of the deal, he wouldn’t be a huge burden on the cap given that his base salaries never grew past $4.5M in 2009. Unfortunately, after earning $21 million from ’04 through ’06, he wasn’t worth a relatively small $3.5 million for ’07.
And what of Patrick Kerney and his 6-year, $39.5 million deal? Relative to the overall salary cap, Kerney’s deal is pretty similar to Wistrom’s ’04 booty. The comparisons are eerily similar – the Seahawks over-paying for a “high-motor” (media-speak for “caucasian”) defensive end whose career-best sack total was 3 seasons ago. Let’s hope the results are better (or at least longer-lived) this time.
The Seahawks are left with roughly $11 million in cap space and really not many free agent prospects. Without a #1 draft pick, the rookie class will have very little impact on this total. Once again we’re left to wonder if this is the year the team begins to lock up key veterans AHEAD of future free agency. Last year I wrote that Marcus Trufant would be a good player lock up. Looking at potential free agents for 2008, Trufant, Josh Brown, D.J. Hackett and Jordan Babineaux are all players who seem to fit in the team’s long-term plans and will likely be free agents next year.
On a final note, I stopped writing regularly last summer and have waited until now to indulge in some final words to the people who encouraged me to express a voice for two disparate topics of team history and accounting. First off to Todd Breda who cultivated the greatest community of fans of the Seahawks or any other sport. To Doug Farrar, who cultivated incredible on-line content and allowed me to feel a part of something special. To all the Seahawk fans who I don’t know by name but whom I randomly hugged and high-fived over the last 30 years. Thanks to all of you.
And finally, to Roger Goodell and Gene Upshaw, who continue this conspiracy to keep NFL capenomics a secret from a huge contingent of curious, number-savvy fans. We’re out here, and we want to know. Please lift the curtain. It won’t hurt anyone. I promise.
John Lloyd is also known as "The Hawkstorian". He'll still be writing for Seahawks.NET if we have anything to say about it. If you'd like to help us persuade him, feel free to e-mail him here.