After watching his defensive backfield mate Jamal Adams "hold in" for a record-breaking contract extension, it was presumed Pro Bowl safety Quandre Diggs would follow suit. As he sat out a week of practice towards the end of August, it appeared that was exactly what he was doing, further evidenced by Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll saying Diggs was "making a statement."
But on August 31, Diggs clarified that was not his intention. Instead, he was simply staying out of practice—and harm's way—as he finalized an "insurance policy" that would protect him from injury, but had no reservations about playing against the Colts in Week 1.
"I wouldn't necessarily call it a statement," Diggs told reporters. "I would just say I had a couple things I had to get cleared up for myself business-wise, just like the team business-wise—they have stuff they have to do—and it was just something I had to do to protect myself just as the team protects themselves. I got a family to feed also, so for me, I had to make the best decision for me."
Now, we know exactly what Diggs and the Seahawks were working on behind the scenes: not a new contract, but a restructure of the final year on his current deal. According to ESPN's Field Yates, Seattle has converted the Texas native's $100,000 per-game roster bonuses ($1.7 million) into salary. Additionally, the team is giving him $5.05 million of his base salary up front by converting it into a signing bonus while adding a void year to spread out the financial hit.
As Diggs alluded to in his late August press conference, this is a deal that not only benefits him but the Seahawks as well. Per OverTheCap.com founder Jason Fitzgerald, this is expected to open up $2.6 million in salary cap space, putting Seattle at $11.6 million in available funds.
On Monday, the Seahawks executed a similar deal with veteran offensive tackle Duane Brown, who, unlike Diggs, sat out the entirety of training camp and the preseason in hopes of securing an extension. While he didn't land a longer term commitment, he was able to successfully negotiate a restructure of the last year on his respective contract. As a result, Brown can now earn up to $12 million in 2021 and has an injury protection of a $2 million benefit if he can't play in 2022, thanks to yet another void year.
With business taken care of, Diggs and Brown have returned to practice and will suit up this Sunday in Indianapolis. And the Seahawks can now purely focus on football.