Why the Seahawks aren’t trading Tyler Lockett

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks
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There’s been a lot of chatter among fans about Seattle potentially trading its veteran wide receiver, but it simply isn’t feasible.

As the offseason slowly moves forward, the makeover of the Seattle Seahawks continues as the team retools the roster for rookie head coach Mike Macdonald. As that takes place, some fans have posited that the team should make moves at the receiver position in order to take advantage of an abundance of riches at the position to trade for additional draft capital. There has been no shortage of calls for the Hawks to trade DK Metcalf, and even some fans clamoring for the team to move on from veteran wideout Tyler Lockett. This is especially true in light of the trade of the Buffalo Bills trade of Stefon Diggs to the Houston Texans earlier Wednesday and the trade of Jerry Jeudy from the Denver Broncos to the Cleveland Browns earlier this offseason.

On Monday, former Field Gulls Managing Editor Kenneth Arthur authored a great breakdown of why it is unlikely the Hawks would deal Metcalf, and now it’s time to lay out why any expectation of trading Tyler Lockett should be put to bed.

The reason why the Seahawks won’t be trading Lockett anytime soon has nothing to do with his on field performance, his age or his decrease in production in 2023, and comes down to the simple fact that it is impossible to trade him at this time. That may seem somewhat ridiculous because it looking from the outside it would appear that any team can make any move they want by shuffling things around, and that is indeed true. However, without any shuffling, Seattle can’t trade Lockett.

This all comes back to the reworked contract Lockett agreed to back in early March ahead of free agency. Under the new contract, the breakdown of Lockett’s cap hits the next two seasons is as follows:

  • Cap Hit: $18.895M – $4.66M base salary + $13.895M signing bonus proration + $340k per game roster bonuses
  • Cap Hit: $30.895M – $10M base salary + $13.895M signing bonus proration + $5.3M roster bonus + $1.7M per game roster bonuses

In the event of a trade of Lockett ahead of June 1, the Seahawks would be forced to recognize the $13.895M signing bonus proration from each of 2024 and 2025 during the 2024 season, resulting in a dead cap hit of $27.79M. One need not be a rocket scientist to do the math and figure out that $27.79M is $8.895M greater than the current cap hit of $18.895M Lockett is slated to carry during the 2024 season. This cap hit increase means, of course, that trading Lockett would require the Hawks to have $8.895M of available cap space.

Simply put, the Seahawks do not have $8.895M of cap space. According to the NFLPA public salary cap report Seattle is currently has $2,740,351 in cap space after accounting for 64 contracted players. According to OverTheCap.com the Seahawks have 65 players under contract, but that is without including the recently added Laviska Shenault, which puts Seattle at 66 players. The two players the NFLPA report does not include are almost assuredly Shenault and K’Von Wallace, and taking the roughly $800k of cap space those two contracts will require once included drops the Seahawks to somewhere of around $1.9M of 2024 cap space.

So, what happens when a team submits a trade to the league office, but does not have the necessary cap space to complete the transaction? The league office simply denies the trade and doesn’t process it.

Now, before someone gets all up in a huff and argues that the Seahawks can easily create the space that they need by restructuring the contracts of Geno Smith, DK Metcalf, Dre’Mont Jones or some other combination, that is absolutely true. However, the team would need to process those restructures first, and restructured contracts do not create cap space instantaneously. Restructures require the league office to process the reworked contract, thus it requires one day to pass for a team to create space.

So, yes, the Seahawks could trade Lockett if they first create the cap space necessary to accommodate his dead cap hit, but until the move or moves which actually free up $7M or so of cap space happen, it’s not worth worrying about. It’s true that the team could wait until after June 1, but waiting until then would not add any draft capital in the 2024 draft, which seems the motivation for many who have proposed the idea.

Meaning, when all the pieces of the puzzle come together fans should probably forget about the idea of trading Lockett for the time being.

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Title: Why the Seahawks aren’t trading Tyler Lockett
Author: John Gilbert

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