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Seattle and the Rookie Salary Schedule

Seattle is the NFL champion and good for them. Yet they may not be able to last too much longer. This year they took advantage of the rookie salary schedule and was able to invest the difference in additional quality throughout the rest of the team. I noted the following information:

526,217: The base salary, in dollars, made by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson for the entire 2013 season.

882,352: The salary, in dollars, made by Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning each week of the NFL season, via Bryan A. Graham.

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/24428217/super-bowl-xlviii-by-the-numbers-historic-ineptitude-on-display

Wilson’s salary is not listed on the top FIFTY QB salaries, but overthecap says $ 750,000. For comparison, Romo was paid $ 18,000,000. So for the $ 17,000,000 difference per year, between Romo from Wilson, one can get the following NON-rookie salaries

DE...Red Bryant.................7,000,000

DT...Brandon Mebane.....5,000,000

DT...Tony McDaniel............890,000

or a 1/4 of their starting Defense for free and have room for quality backups

CB...Brandon Browner.......773,000

DT...Clifton McDonald......630,000

and still have money left over

The bargaining with the union provided a new CBA. One area of concern was the sky rocketing price of rookies often before they had shown anything on the field. This caused some equity issues with existing players.

The union had a conflict of interest, but made the decision to sacrifice rookie salaries to maintain other money for existing members. Thus, the rookie salary schedule was introduced. Fundamentally, the rookie salaries are based on the slot in which they were drafted. In return, the length of rookie contracts are limited and just about everyone can be a UFA after the fourth year. Some first round draft picks’ contracts are still five years in length.

With the new rookie salary schedule in place, there is another way to exploit the salary differentials. Teams should trade existing talent for draft picks. Rookies are much cheaper than veterans and the team can invest that differential elsewhere. This will increase the quality and depth of the team.

http://www.bloggingtheboys.com/2013/1/31/3937402/strategy-v-the-von-miller-rookie-effect

Yet this advantage is only for a limited time. As rookies outgrow their rookie contract, they must be signed at market rates. Here is Seattle's roster of players (with 4 or less years experience and presumable on their first contract) and when they signed their contracts.

Those players with no contract number, we can assume end of contract and needs to be resigned at market wages. Then the roster notes the changes that must be made in the next several years.

Name..............................pos..age..years...salary

S-Baldwin, Doug.............WR...25...3

Morgan, Mike..................LB...26...3

Johnson, Jeron...............SS...25...3

S-Tate, Golden...............WR...25...4

Jeanpierre, Lemuel.......OG...26...4

Maragos, Chis................FS...27...4

Schofield, O’Brien........LB...26...4

Walker, Thurman.......CB...26...4

McCoy, Anthony.........TE...26...4

Under contract

S-Chancellor, Kam......SS...25...4...5,825,000

Gresham, Clint............LS...27...4.....887,000

S-Okung, Russell........OT...26...4..11,240,000

S-Thomas, Earl............FS...26...4...5,473,000

Walters, Bryan...........WR...26...4.....570,000

Carpenter, James.......OG...24...3...2,431,000

S-Maxwell, Byron.......CB...25...3.....673,000

Smith, Macolm............LB...24...3.....656,000

Wright, K J...................LB...24...3...1,510,000

Coleman, Derrick.......RB...22...2.....495,000

S-Irwin, Bruce............DE...26...2...2,547,000

Kearse, Jermain........WR...23...2.....570,000

Lane, Jeremy..............CB...23...2.....601,000

Lockette, Ricardo....WR...27...2.....570,000

Shead, Deshawn........DB...25...2.....570,000

S-Sherman, Richard.DB...25...2...1,434,000

Turbin, Robert...........RB...24...2.....684,000

S-Wagner, Bobby......LB...23...2...1,174,000

S-Wilson, Russell.....QB...25...2.....817,000

Fenner, Chandler.....CB...23...2.....420,000

Bailey, Alvin..............OT...22...R.....497,000

Bowie, Micheal.........OT...22...R.....506,000

Hauptman, Caylin...OT...22...R.....495,000

Hill, Jordan...............DT...22...R.....651,000

Mayowa, Benson......DE...22...R.....495,000

Michael, Christine...RB...23...R.....766,000

Wilson, Luke.............TE...24...R.....540,000

Boatwright, Ken.......DE...23...R.....424,000

Ware, Spencer...........FB...22...R.....519,000

Williams, Jesse.........DT...23...R.....472,000

Conclusion

The roster and starters are taken from the Seattle Seahawks homesite and the 2014 salary information is from overthetop.com. Seattle has taken advantage of the rookie salary schedule created in the new CBA. The players listed represent a large percentage of the total roster.

Yet this advantage is fleeting as eventually the players who survive have to get paid at the market rates. As they sign new players and re-sign these players, they will not be able to afford the same amount and quality of FA. This was shown to be a major factor in their defense this year. Seattle will have to re-sign Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin this year and others soon follow.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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