The Seattle Seahawks are in the middle of mandatory minicamp, but general manager John Schneider is still working hard to create cap space and give the team flexibility to make some more moves before the 2022 regular season.
Schneider found a way to create some significant cap space thanks to defensive lineman Shelby Harris. The 30-year-old veteran was acquired in the trade that sent quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos after tying a career high with six sacks in 2021.
Ian Rapaport from NFL Network reported early on Wednesday morning that the Seahawks and Harris worked to restructure the veteran’s contract, clearing more than $3.2 million in cap space for the 2022 season.
Rather than cutting a player or making a trade, the Seahawks were able to clear some impressive cap space while retaining a solid veteran in the trenches.
Shelby Harris Has Been a Playmaker in the NFL
Harris wasn’t a big name coming out of college, but the 30-year-old has established himself as a reliable defensive lineman over the course of his NFL career.
Coming out of Illinois State, Harris waited until the seventh round to hear his name called in the 2014 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. He rarely saw playing time with the Raiders before trying to make it onto an active roster in 2016, but was waived by both the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys without seeing the field.
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Harris finally found a home in 2017 when he signed on with the Broncos, having an instant impact. He played in all 16 games and racked up 5.5 sacks in his first season in Denver, even blocking a field goal against the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football.
In five seasons with the Broncos, Harris played in 75 games, picking up 203 combined tackles, 34 tackles for loss, 21.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles. Pro Football Focus (subscription required) also credited Harris with 125 pressures during his time in Denver.
His career may not have taken off right away, but Harris has developed into a solid defensive lineman, and will be a big presence on Seattle’s defense.
What Will the Seahawks Do With the Extra Cap Space?
After creating more than $3.2 million in cap space by restructuring Harris’ contract, the Seahawks have a lot of financial flexibility. Over the Cap had the Seahawks with nearly $14 million in cap space before the move, so the Seahawks have a lot of money to work with if they want to make a move.
The Seahawks could add a veteran free agent, make a trade, or sign DK Metcalf to a contract extension as he holds out of minicamp. However, the move that the Seahawks continue to be linked to is a trade for disgruntled Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Mayfield has been seeking a trade since the Browns acquired quarterback Deshaun Watson in a trade with the Houston Texans. That has been a difficult request to accommodate, however, as Mayfield is set to count for nearly $19 million against the cap in 2022 before becoming a free agent after this season.
Now that the Seahawks have even more cap space, there’s likely to be even more speculation about a potential trade for the former first overall pick.