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Mailbag: How Can Seattle Afford So Much Talent?



Charles Haley is the only player in NFL history with five Super Bowl rings. So why wasn't he an automatic first ballot lock? Why has he been passed over five times? What am I missing or is the vote less about performance and more about politics?

Rowan: That last point probably plays into it. I think everyone in the Dallas area believes he should be in, and I still hold onto the belief that it will eventually happen. But every year he gets passed by is another year I'm a little more unsure. At this point, I have to imagine off-field persona plays into why it hasn't happened yet.  

David: I think perhaps off-field considerations play a role in Haley missing the cut. But outside of his stupendous Super Bowl success, Haley's resume isn't exactly a slam dunk. His 100 career sacks rank just 34th in league history, and he had the fewest Pro Bowl selections of any player up for enshrinement. Michael Strahan, by comparison, had 41 more sacks, two more Pro Bowl selections and two more All-Pro selections. So I think it's a combination of the two. That said, I do think he'll eventually make it in.

I'm puzzled, as I don't really understand the salary cap. Please can you explain how Seattle can afford so much talent? I'm not sure any of the 30 players who played defense for us this season would make the depth chart at Seattle!

Rowan: It's a credit to what they've done in the draft. While other teams are finding contributors sporadically in the late rounds of recent drafts, the Seahawks are turning those players into valuable, feared starters at an amazing rate. Eventually, they won't be able to afford those guys they drafted, but they're reaping the benefits of the first contracts.

David:To put it in perspective: the Cowboys currently have six players with contracts valued over $35 million, and their quarterback is on a $100 million deal. The Seahawks are paying just three players that type of money. Their most expensive player, [embedded_ad] Percy Harvin, is on a $64 million deal – significantly smaller than Dallas' top contracts. That vaunted "Legion of Boom" secondary we've heard so much about? Kam Chancellor made $7 million this year, Earl Thomas made just $3.5 million. Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell's 2013 salaries were roughly $500,000. Russell Wilson's rookie deals pays him roughly $730,000. So basically, the Seahawks are getting Pro Bowl-type contributions from guys who don't eat up the salary cap. That's all going to change when guys like Sherman and Wilson come up for contract renewal, which makes it even more impressive that Seattle won while they were still cheap.

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