Seahawks Decline to Use Franchise Tag on Pro Bowler for Roster Flexibility

Quandre Diggs

Getty The Seattle Seahawks declined to place the franchise tag on safety Quandre Diggs.


he Seattle Seahawks made three major decisions on March 8 that will influence the direction of their franchise for years to come.

First, the Seahawks traded quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos for a plethora of picks and players. Then, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the Seahawks informed linebacker Bobby Wagner that they are releasing him.

Lost in the shuffle of those two major stories, though, was Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times reporting the Seahawks decided not to place the franchise tag on safety Quandre Diggs. The two-time Pro Bowl safety is now set to become an unrestricted free agent on March 16.

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Seahawks Enter Rebuilding Mode

Seattle may very well land the top rookie quarterback with the No. 9 selection from Denver in the 2022 NFL Draft. But the fact remains, without Wilson, the Seahawks are not expected to be contender this fall.

With that assumption, it’s not a surprise the Seahawks elected to cut Wagner. That decision saves Seattle $16.6 million towards the 2022 salary cap. The two players that were expected to be Seattle’s biggest cap hits this fall — Wilson and Wagner — are now no longer on the roster.

Franchise tagging Diggs would have solidified Seattle’s defensive backfield, but the franchise tag guarantees nothing beyond the upcoming season. A season that now marks the beginning of a new era without Wilson and Wagner.

“There had been some speculation that the team might use the tag on Diggs, which would have locked him for the 2022 season on a one-year deal worth $12.9 million with the ability to continue to negotiate a long-term contract until July 15,” wrote Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times.

“But with Tuesday’s trade of quarterback Russell Wilson to Denver, the team might want to be more flexible than ever as it goes about building its roster for 2022.”

Roster Flexibility Without Wilson, Wagner & Diggs?

There are two different ways to look at Seattle’s three decisions from March 8. With the Wilson trade and release of Wagner, the Seahawks will have nearly $30 million in dead cap money. Brady Henderson of ESPN reports that the Wilson trade alone will result in $26 million in dead money for the Seahawks in 2022.

But with the Wilson trade and release of Wagner, the Seahawks also save more than $27 million in salary cap space. The decision to not tag Diggs didn’t open up any addition space, but it gives the Seahawks almost $13 million to spend elsewhere on players that can help beyond 2022.

Spotrac reports the Seahawks possess the second-most salary cap space in the NFL with more than $51 million to spend in free agency. Only the Los Angeles Chargers have more cap space as of March 9.

Before moving on from Wilson and Wagner, the Seahawks had the eighth-most salary cap space.

With how competitive the NFC West is and without a franchise quarterback, the Seahawks are likely headed for a second straight last-place finish. But they now have three draft picks in the first 41 selections of the 2022 NFL Draft and plenty of cap space to use in free agency.

It didn’t make much sense to use part of that space on a franchise tag with Diggs.

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