BY Art Thiel 02:49PM 03/31/2020

Thiel: Seahawks cut 2; playoff expansion OK’d

Seahawks cut TE Ed Dickson and CB Tedric Thompson, saving $5.1 million under the salary cap. Maybe a big move is imminent. And the NFL approved a 7th playoff spot.

FS Tedric Thompson, along with Shaquill Griffin, celebrate with mascot Blitz an interception against the Rams in a 30-29 win at the Clink Oct. 3. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

The Seahawks did some anticipated housekeeping Tuesday, perhaps a signal of a breakthrough in the pursuit of DE Jadeveon Clowney — or to welcome his successor in the Seahawks’ desperate attempt to fix a passive pass rush.

The NFL also did some anticipated housekeeping Tuesday: As the traditional beacon for the “more is better” school of sports economics, owners officially voted to expand playoffs for the 2020 post-season — presuming there is one — that adds two more teams, one per conference, and reduces by one the number of first-round byes.

First the Seahawks: They saved a combined $5.1 million against the salary cap by waiving TE Ed Dickson ($3 million) and FS Tedric Thompson ($2.13 million), the club announced. calculated that the Seahawks began the day with about $11.3 million left under the cap, not counting the acquisitions of free agents WR Phillip Dorsett and DE Bruce Irvin. Dorsett’s one-year cost against the cap is modest, according to ESPN’s Field Yates Tuesday: $877,500, while Irvin’s one-year deal has yet to be reported.

So the clearing of accounting entries make it stand to reason that something is happening, but imminence was unknown Tuesday afternoon.

Dickson, 32, was entering the final season of a three-year, $10.7 million deal after a knee injury kept him out of all of 2019. He played 10 games in 2018, catching 10 passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns. He was not expected to return.

Neither was Thompson, 25, once the Seahawks allowed him to seek a trade a few weeks ago following labrum surgery on his shoulder. He was put on the injured reserve list Oct. 30 after it  became clear Thompson was over-matched as a starting free safety. The Seahawks traded for Quandre Diggs Oct. 23 to solve the problem.

A fourth-round pick in 2017 out of Colorado, Thompson had a lot of pressure to succeed Earl Thomas, but managed only 16 career starts in 29 games.

The Seattle ’17 draft has produced only three starters, CB Shaquill Griffin (third round) and two seventh-rounders, RB Chris Carson and No. 3 WR David Moore.

At the league level, the new 14-team playoff format, approved via teleconference based on a new collective bargaining agreement barely agreed to by the players March 15, works this way:

The AFC and NFC wild card games on the first weekend (Jan. 9-10, 2021) will feature the two seed hosting the seven, the three seed hosting the six, and the four seed hosting the five. Gone is the first-round bye for the second seed, meaning being No. 1 in the conference is an even greater advantage.

Three-quarters of the owners had to approve, but it’s unlikely there was a single nay because the extra playoff game, plus the pursuit for the new berths that could involve half the league, enhances the industry’s value to networks and streaming services in future contracts.

The standard complaint upon expanding a playoff format is that it dilutes the quality of the field. But the NFL had a ready answer.

According to, since 1990, when the playoffs expanded from 10 to 12 teams, 44 of the 60 teams that would have claimed the seventh seeds had winning records, including 10 different 10-win teams. Only the 1990 Dallas Cowboys would have made the playoffs with a losing record over that span in a 14-team format.

The move to 14 means 43.7 percent of NFL teams would qualify for the postseason, compared to 33.3 percent in MLB (33.3), 51.6 in NHL and 53.3 in NBA.

One of the fan bases least likely to complain about dilution would be Seattle’s, mainly because in the first year of the Pete Carroll/John Schneider regime in 2010, the Seahawks’ 7-9 record was good enough to win the NFC Worst and host the defending Super Bowl champions in the first round.

Since the 41-36 upset triumph included the immortal BeastQuake by Marshawn Lynch, it is likely that silence over the change shall stand astride over Puget Sound.




  • jafabian

    I can see both being brought back on a Training Camp deal, especially if no one picks them up. I’d really like to see Ansah and Iupati return. Both faced an uphill battle when the 2019 season started with the injuries they had to deal with. Chuck Knox used to say you can never have enough linemen.

    • Husky73

      The Seahawks REALLY need a solid and productive draft this year. They need a first round IMPACT player and 4-5 young players who can be upgrades from the injured and the retreads. It has been a LONG time since the Seahawks had a good draft, top to bottom. When the draft is over, and the pundits make their grades, Schneider needs to be in the A or A+ category– not another C or Incomplete. He can’t blow another first round pick.

      • art thiel

        Hard to argue with any of that. It’s remarkable the Seahawks got as far as they did with relatively little production from recent drafts. That’s largely due to Wilson.

    • Mark Stratton

      They basically paid Ansah to rehab all of last year, might as well bring him back on a cheap deal to see if he’s healed.

      • art thiel

        If he’ll take the veteran’s minimum, all non-guaranteed, it couldn’t hurt.

    • art thiel

      Doubtful on all four, because every year teams need to get cheaper, younger, healthier and better, and shedding vets is standard practice. Ansah has an outside shot if he can demonstrate full fitness, something we can’t know now.

  • 2nd place is 1st loser

    Just read that Clowney has lowered his asking price down to 17 to18 million. Wow that’s darn near a bargain basement price.

    • art thiel

      I’d pay it myself, and I’m sure he’ll accept $5 monthly installments.

  • Joe_Fan

    Art, what’s your gut feel at this point on the likelihood that there will be 2020 NFL and college football seasons? Right now, I gotta say I don’t think it looks very good. Even if things improve this summer, spikes of the virus in the fall could completely derail any attempts to bring together 65,000 fans. An eye towards being prudent and safe would likely conclude that the seasons need to be shut down. Also, when do you think such a decision needs to be made by?

    • Husky73

      I completely agree with you. I would not bet on a baseball, college football or pro football season in 2020.

      • art thiel

        Not unreasonable, for reasons above.

    • woofer

      They could do Mariners games, dutifully observe the full six foot social spacing requirement in the stands, and still break attendance records.