Higher 2014 NFL Salary Cap projection not good news for Seattle Seahawks

Today NFL.com reported that the 2014 salary cap is expected to be around $130 million. In our offseason primer I originally quoted an article from USA today that said that the salary cap would be about $3.7 million less than that.

At first blush, this seems like good news. The Seahawks have $3.7 million more to spend. How could that be a bad thing?

While the Seahawks are a bit cap strapped headed into an offseason that was set to be a pivotal one regardless of whether or not the team won the Super Bowl in 2014, and extra budget room seems like a good thing, it actually could hurt them. You see, every other team received the same relief. There is nearly an extra $118.4 million available in the market for 2014 salaries.

We’ve already discussed some of the costs that the Seahawks will have this offseason. The team will have to sign draft picks, and are likely to seek extensions with some of their young stars. These moves could easily mean $20-30 million in cap space allocation for the team, and considering the team is not even $3 million under the cap at this point, they’ll have to make some sacrifices on their roster to make any of these moves happen.

Adding $3.7 million to the Seahawks budget, at this point, only offers them the ability to allow them perhaps to retain a player they already have, as their cap space doesn’t cover the moves they’d need to make to retain most of their free agents. Teams with more room under the cap – already functioning on a budget that could handle substantial salary acquisitions – gained budget that can be used 100 percent for incoming talent.

Where this could really hurt the Seahawks is if any of these teams show any kind of genuine interest in one of the Seahawks prospective free agents. While Golden Tate, or other Seahawks free agents may be willing to take a discount of some sort to remain in Seattle, teams with more cap room may have a pretty easy time bullying the Seahawks out of negotiations. Teams like the Raiders, Jaguars, and Browns all may be looking to add players with winning experience, and each has $49 million or more in cap space.

Understand that the salary cap being increased has a much larger positive impact on many other teams’ surplus budget room than it does the Seahawks, as their purchasing power remains fairly minimal, while many other teams’ purchasing power increased. While the Seahawks received a greater-percentage increase to their cap space, players are signed using gross dollars, not relative percentages of gross dollars.

Players aren’t commodities that can be purchased at set prices. They’re holding an auction for their services. The Seahawks will be bidding against teams with a lot more money to spend.

If you’re the owner of a Golden Tate jersey, this may be good news, as the chances of the Seahawks retaining him may have increased. If you’re looking for the Seahawks to repeat their Super Bowl championship,  it’s probably not good news, as much of the rest of league actually gained leverage on the Seahawks.