Escalators shrink projected cap space

Salary cap logoThe Seahawks lost a chunk of cap space this week as a few players got 2020 pay hikes.

Per OverTheCap.com, instead of a projected $63 million, the Hawks now are forecast to have $54 million (counting cap savings for Ed Dickson’s expected release). That would give Seattle more like $47 million for veterans between now and the start of the season.

The players whose cap numbers all went up include Tyler Lockett ($2 million), K.J. Wright ($1.5 million), Chris Carson ($1.4 million), Shaquill Griffin ($1.4 million), Tedric Thompson ($1.4 million), D.J. Fluker ($750,000) and Duane Brown ($250,000) — for a total of close to $9 million.

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Will Schneider answer Wilson’s challenge?

John Schneider draftingJohn Schneider has a pretty well-known MO when it comes to trying to keep the Seahawks’ roster competitive for Pete Carroll: The GM is conservative in free agency and the draft, saving his big splashes for blockbuster trades.

However, given the resources at his disposal this year and the dire need to reformat the defensive line and fortify the offensive line, will Schneider be more aggressive?

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Will Schneider pay his top pass rusher this time? And who else?

Logo -- Free agencyJohn Schneider is living his own version of Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day.”

A year ago, he had to decide whether to pay his best pass rusher. He didn’t, so now here he is again, in the exact same situation.

As the Seahawks entered last offseason off a terrible playoff loss in Dallas, their biggest need was to fortify their pass rush. Schneider didn’t want to pay $20 million a year to Frank Clark, though, so the GM made a move that was unprecedented for him: getting great draft value for a star in his prime.

Now, a year and another playoff loss later, Schneider is in the exact same spot — with Jadeveon Clowney now in Clark’s seat and Seattle still needing a second pass rusher as well because Ziggy Ansah did not work out.

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Why the Hawks again started slowly in a road playoff game

logo-playoffsWhy did the Seahawks come up short in Green Bay?

Plenty of fans and media are focusing on the end of the game: Pete Carroll’s decision to punt on fourth-and-11 from the Seattle 36 with 2:41 left (we would have punted, too), Ken Norton letting rookie Ugo Amadi cover Davante Adams on a third-and-8 that turned into a 32-yard gain and the close Jimmy Graham play against Lano Hill (why was he in coverage anyway?) on third-and-9 that sealed it.

But let’s be clear: That game was lost in the first half, when Russell Wilson and company scored just three points. It was the fifth time in nine road playoff games that Carroll’s Seahawks had scored three points or less in the first half (the four others were scoreless first halves). In those nine games, the Hawks have averaged 4.7 points in the first half, never scoring more than 13. They have led just once, 10-3 in Philadelphia in this season’s wild-card round, and they are 3-6 in those games (all of the losses in the divisional round).

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Clowney & other offseason needs

logo-playoffs(Updated 1/21) The Seahawks had been on an uphill climb for over a month, as injuries whittled their roster, so it was no surprise they finally succumbed, losing 28-23 in Green Bay to extend their losing streaks to nine games in Green Bay and on the road in the divisional round.

They certainly had their chance to win — especially if they had taken the first half more seriously. But, it probably was about as far as they could expect to get in a year in which they led the NFL in games lost to injury, at various points losing their starting tight end and center and their top three running backs while using six offensive line combinations and never really playing with a full deck on defense.

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Schneider has done his part this season

John Schneider (via Fresh Files)As the Seahawks return to John Schneider’s home state to face his first NFL team, it is a good time to give the general manager some credit for his recent work in Seattle.

In March 2018, we called out Schneider for a mostly poor five-year run that helped lead to a slow decline of the franchise — from Super Bowl champs, to Super Bowl losers, to playoff losers, to playoff watchers.

Schneider definitely had a rough 2013-16 — in the draft, trades and free agency — but he has been very aggressive the past three years while trying to make up for previous mistakes, to replace departed stars and to keep a competitive roster for Pete Carroll.

He did especially good work this year, helping the Hawks win 11 games despite the NFL’s highest injury rate. They would not have gotten this far if Schneider had not made three really good trades for veterans and found a few draft picks who were able to contribute as rookies.

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Hawks try to take the road less traveled

logo-playoffs“There’s a real confidence about us. We don’t care where we are playing.’’ — Pete Carroll, on his 8-1 road Seahawks.

A wild-card team has never hosted a conference championship game, but the Seahawks have a chance thanks to the Vikings’ upset of the Saints in New Orleans on wild-card weekend.

If Minnesota can win in San Francisco on Saturday, the Hawks will be playing for a home game next week. If the 49ers win, though, Seattle will then try to join the three teams that have won three straight road games on the way to winning the Super Bowl.

It all starts with exorcising a couple of curses in Green Bay.

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Roster is still less than two-thirds strength

logo-playoffsThe Humpty Dumpty Seahawks will find a way to put themselves together by Sunday, but you have to wonder how many more times they can do it before they finally have a great fall.

They were the most injured team in the league across the season, according to Man Games Lost. That includes losing their top tight end and center early in the season and their top three running backs in the final month, using six offensive line combinations, playing sick and injured at receiver in several games, never having a fully healthy defensive line and using a rotating cast at safety all season.

It all adds up to a team that has never come close to being 100 percent yet has won 12 games and is headed to Green Bay for a shot at the fourth NFC title game in franchise history. Give Pete Carroll some credit for yoking together this cracked egg of a club.

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Hawks, Pack resume one of NFL’s best rivalries

Seahawks at Packers helmetsIf you liked the drama of Seattle’s past two games, you will love it when the Seahawks and Packers resume a series that has been one of the NFL’s best non-division rivalries for two decades.

This will be their 16th meeting since 1999, the most for each franchise against a non-division foe. It’s their fourth playoff meeting — also making them each other’s most common postseason foe in those 21 seasons.

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