The Seattle Seahawks‘ cash flow problems have been one of the biggest issues underlying the team’s moves this offseason and the reason why they headed into the 2023 NFL Draft with just 52 players on the roster.
The Seahawks failed to re-sign defensive tackle Poona Ford following the conclusion of the 2022 NFL season, as it wasn’t clear if Seattle could afford to keep the veteran defensive tackle, but on Tuesday, May 2, he signed a contract with the Buffalo Bills.
The news was a tough blow for the Seahawks, as the 5-foot-11, 310-pound tackle was a fan-favorite in Seattle, and head coach Pete Carroll told reporters on April 29 that he’d “love” to get Ford back. The Athletic‘s Michael-Shawn Dugar tweeted, “I’ll be curious to see the contract value on this. Thought it would have made sense for Seattle to try and get Poona back.”
On Friday, May 5, The Buffalo News reporter Ryan O’Halloran revealed that the Bills were able to snag Ford by signing him to a one-year contract worth up to $3.25 million with $1.5 million guaranteed and a salary cap hit of $2.25 million.
The 12s strongly reacted to Ford’s contract details on Twitter, as they couldn’t believe the Seahawks weren’t able to find a way to keep the veteran at that price. One fan tweeted. “I uhhhhhhhhh…feel like we shoulda matched that,” while another person wrote, “Omg I’m triggered… They really mismanaged their remaining dollars after the (good) Jones, Love (arg to me made here tho given what Neal signed at), Brown signings. those dollars mattered.”
However, Sports Illustrated’s Corbin K. Smith believes that $3.5 million was still out of the Seahawks’ price range. “This tells you where Seattle’s cap situation is that they couldn’t match or do better than this. Just no space,” Smith tweeted, which several fans couldn’t agree with, but for various reasons.
“Couldn’t match or didn’t want to match? Poona was not good last season,” one man responded, while another person commented, “I don’t get this, couldn’t they create millions in space with a restructured deal? Just seems like they don’t want to or won’t?”
Poona Ford Took a Pay Cut to Sign With the Bills
Whether or not the Seahawks truly wanted to retain Ford, who recorded 35 tackles, three sacks, and seven quarterback hits last season, it appears he really wanted to join the Bills.
Last month, Syracuse.com’s Ryan Talbot reported that the Bills were looking into signing Ford, but noted the cost to land the 27-year-old defensive lineman would be an issue. According to Spotrac.com, Ford’s market value had him receiving a three-year, $27.8 million contract.
While exact details of the deal were unknown at the time, Talbot revealed on May 6 that Ford took a discount to sign with Buffalo. “#Bills upped their offer from mid-March now that the compensatory pick formula is out the window,” Talbot tweeted. “As @TomPelissero noted, Poona turned down more money from other teams to join Buffalo.”
Carroll admitted following the conclusion of the 2022 NFL season that he misused Ford. “He likes Ford over the center at nose tackle,” Carroll said, as tweeted by The News Tribune‘s Gregg Bell. “They played him more outside as 3-technique and even 5-tech. ‘I think we wore him down.'”
While Ford recorded a career-high three sacks last year, he earned a career-low 56.2 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, a major dip from the 73.0 overall grade he earned for the 2021 NFL season.
The Seahawks Spent over $90 Million on 2023 NFL Draft Picks
After securing quarterback Geno Smith to a three-year, $75 million contract, signing defensive end Dre’Mont Jones to a three-year $51 million contract, safety Julian Love to a two-year, $12 million deal, bringing back Bobby Wagner (one-year $5.5 million), and adding center Evan Brown (one-year, $2.5 million) the cap space was dwindling.
The Seahawks also needed to reserve money to sign the 10 picks they had in the 2023 NFL draft. According to NFL Network‘s Tom Pelissero, the Seahawks spent the second-most money during the draft, a whopping $90.36 million. The Houston Texans shelled out the most on picks this year with nearly $106 million.