Hutchinson Offer Sheet Talk of NFL

The type of offer sheet signed between the Vikings and Seattle Seahawks guard Steve Hutchinson is drawing reaction from media, local and national. No doubt it was a creative document that favors the Vikings. Plus, an update on the Daunte Culpepper trade situation.

Vikings vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski has been creative and successful in managing the team's salary cap position throughout his time in Minnesota, but the offer sheet he and agent Tom Condon put together for guard Steve Hutchinson, who was given the transition tag by the Seahawks, is drawing reaction around the league.

The offer, for seven years and $49 million dollars, reportedly includes a number of provisions that make it difficult for the Seahawks to match. If the Seahawks want to match it, they would have to do so within seven days of Hutchinson signing it, which he did Sunday.

First is the first-year cap number that is believed to be about $13 million. Seattle was thought to have about $17 million under the cap before the Vikings' offer. Considering the Seahawks' transition offer of $6.4 million, it would likely cost Seattle another $5.6 million in cap space this year to match. While they might be able to afford that, it would severely cripple the rest of their free agent activity, especially when rookie allocation money for the draft is needed in reserve.

But even more daunting than the first-year cap number is a clause that has been reported as requiring Hutchinson to be the highest paid offensive lineman on the roster or have the entire contract guaranteed. While Hutchinson would be the highest paid player on the Vikings roster, the Seahawks had signed left tackle Walter Jones to a contract that averaged $7.5 million per season, meaning Hutchinson wouldn't be the highest paid player on Seattle's offensive line and would have the entire contract guaranteed.

The combination of the first-year cap number and the guaranteed clause combine to make what is often referred to as a "poison pill" in NFL offer sheets—meaning it is extremely difficult for the other team to match.

According to Adam Shefter of NFL Network, the Seahawks are miffed that Condon would execute such an offer sheet after Seattle didn't slap Hutchinson with the franchise tag so they wouldn't upset him.


ESPN reports that free agent quarterback Drew Brees left Miami on Monday night without a contract. However, the two sides are expected to start talking contract on Tuesday. Brees underwent extensive medical testing in Miami on Monday to examine his shoulder. He tore his labrum at the end of the season and said he is four to five months away from being fully recovered.

Brees' situation with Miami matters to Vikings fans because the Dolphins are considered one of two candidates seriously interested in trading for Minnesota quarterback Daunte Culpepper. If the Dolphins sign Brees, they would be out of the bidding for Culpepper.

Brees has also had extensive meetings with New Orleans, and their offer is thought to still be in play.

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