Seahawks Insider Blog

Breaking down roster by salary shows how Seahawks have (so far) kept core together under salary cap

Newest Seahawks RB Fred Jackson fits perfectly with the team’s offensive, locker-room and budget strategies.
Newest Seahawks RB Fred Jackson fits perfectly with the team’s offensive, locker-room and budget strategies. AP

The signing of Fred Jackson got me diving into the Seahawks’ 2015 roster and salaries to further illustrate how this team keeps its championship core together, and still has some room to augment it with a 34-year-old role player with years of proven talent as Buffalo’s lead runner.

The 34-year-old Jackson went undrafted in 2003 out of Coe College, a Division-III school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He becomes the fourth member of Seattle’s five-man stable of running backs to go undrafted with the one-year contract. The Buffalo News reported it is worth $900,000, $30,000 above the minimum for a veteran of his tenure.

Jackson is the 28th member of the Seahawks’ 53-man roster for Sunday’s opener at St. Louis that was either a seventh-round draft choice or wasn’t drafted at all.

That means the majority of the team not only is driven by a desire to prove many wrong. It comes cheaply.

The Seahawks have a roster top-heavy with stars taking up the bulk of the salary cap space. Nineteen percent of its roster -- 10 players, in order of pay: Richard Sherman (cap number: $12.2 million), Lynch ($8.5M), Jimmy Graham ($8M), Michael Bennett ($8M), Cliff Avril ($8M), Earl Thomas ($7.4M), Russell Okung ($7.28M), Russell Wilson ($7.05M), Brandon Mebane ($5.7M) and holdout Kam Chancellor ($5.65M cap number) -- take up 55 percent of its $141,874,595 in cap space for the 53-man roster this year.

That doesn’t include $12.27 million in so-called "dead money" Seattle is paying against the cap for players it no longer employs.

The Seahawks’ roster is even more bottom-heavy with those inexpensive – and motivated – seventh-round draft choices and undrafted players. Twenty-seven players, more than half the roster, count $665,000 and below against this year’s cap.

That list starts with defensive tackle Demarcus Dobbs, a defensive lineman they claimed off waivers last season from San Francisco, through Drew Nowak, the new starting center who will make his NFL debut at the position Sunday while earning the league’s mimium salary of $435,000. That’s tied for lowest pay on the team with Dion Bailey, last year’s practice-squad rookie who is now Chancellor’s fill-in as starting strong safety. Nowak is replacing traded, two-time Pro Bowl center Max Unger. Unger counted nearly 10 times Nowak’s cap number against Seattle’s cap last season at $6.1 million.

That’s how the Seahawks keep their young core together, by paying only those in it the big bucks and having a tiny middle class. The majority of the roster is from the league’s proletariat income bracket, just above minimum salary.

And not just the young players eager to prove.

Guys like Jackson.

"The best thing that could’ve happened to me happened," he said of his Buffalo release and Seattle signing. "You know, I got to come to a great organization with open arms. And I’m here now and I’m excited about it."

Here, from, is the salary and cap numbers this year for the Seahawks.