Building an NFL team into a legitimate championship contender is a hell of a task. To begin with you need great players and great coaches, obviously, and you need all of them to work well together. Bad blood and poor chemistry have spoiled a lot of otherwise stacked teams over the years (like the Seahawks in ’03 and ’04, for example). Luckily for us, that hasn’t been a problem for the squad Pete Carroll and John Schneider have built over the last four seasons, and now they’ve got a Lombardi trophy to show for it.
But if building a Super Bowl winning team is tough, maintaining one is nearly impossible. As soon as the confetti starts falling, you know that there are 31 other front offices that will be targeting your best pending free agents in the hopes that some of that championship magic will rub off on their teams. Hell, at the rate some teams lose players after a Super Bowl win you’d think they were having a going out of business sale. But lost players or no, what separates teams like the Ravens and Giants whose championship windows only seem to stay open for 2-3 years and teams like the Patriots who have managed to keep their window open for a decade-plus is how well your front office manages its salary cap every offseason (well, that and the ability of your coaching staff to adapt their schemes to changing personnel, but that’s a topic for another day).
Here’s how the numbers currently work out for the Seahawks:
|Rule 51 Total||$113,804,116|
|Rookie Cap Hit (Estimated)||$1,254,410|
|2014 NFL Cap Limit||$133,000000|
|Current Usable Cap Space||$11,634,107|
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the NFL’s salary cap rules, a little explanation is in order. The rule of 51 is a temporary thing; when the 2014 season officially begins this fall, each NFL team will still have to make sure that all 53 players on their roster fit under the salary cap. However, during the offseason, when rosters balloon out to 90 players as teams get ready for training camp, your cap hit only counts the 51 highest paid players on the roster. How they arrived at 51 players as the cutoff I have no idea, but for practical purposes it means that teams will have to make sure that they have at least an additional $840k in cap space at the ready for their 52nd and 53rd players when week one rolls around (the minimum contract for a rookie in 2014 is $420k). Currently, the Seahawks have 59 players under contract, hence the $3.35M difference between the two totals.
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