(UPDATED with new details Sunday morning)
When word first came down that Seattle had acquired Jadeveon Clowney from Houston for a couple of backup defenders and a third-round pick, it was almost exactly the cheap price we had predicted Seattle would have to pay if the teams made a deal.
But then came the added cost: Cutting starting receiver Jaron Brown and Cassius Marsh. The latter wasn’t a big surprise because Marsh was suddenly a superfluous player, with Clowney and Ziggy Ansah both capable of playing the LEO spot.
But Brown’s release certainly was a stunner — as it left Seattle with injured David Moore, inexperienced Malik Turner and three rookies behind Tyler Lockett.
According to Over The Cap, the team had $21 million in cap room before making roster cuts. But that number dropped to more like $15 million once IR, PUP and suspended players were deducted.
Although they reportedly are paying Clowney just $9 million of his $16 million franchise tag and are getting $4.1 million via Barkevious Mingo’s inclusion in the deal, they would have had just $10 million. And that was all earmarked for in-season cap hits for per-game bonuses and playing incentives, plus practice squad players.
The Hawks generally want/need at least $3 million for in-season injury replacements. Because Ed Dickson was injured, the only guys who made sense to pay that bill were Marsh ($1.25 million savings) and either Brown ($2.75 million savings) or Quinton Jefferson ($2 million savings). The Hawks chose to keep the improving defensive end over the only veteran receiver they had beyond Lockett.
The Seahawks still might be able to bring back Brown, if he were amenable to a pay reduction.
They could put Dickson on short-term IR and then cut a settlement with him, assuming he feels he will be ready in less than eight weeks. If the settlement is four weeks, it would pay him $825,000 of his $3.7 million. The Hawks would net $2 million in cap space — enough to bring back Brown for the minimum, if he were OK with that (although he did says his goodbyes via Twitter, so perhaps that will not be an option).