The Seahawks find themselves in unknown circumstances. They sit home on wild card weekends – and not in a funny way – and have major questions and concerns heading into their offseason. The first of these big questions seems to have found an answer. Apparently head coach Pete Carroll has avoided the chopping block and there’s no whisper that GM John Schneider is going nowhere either.
Now the team is starting an exclusive trading window with their many premium free agents and extension candidates. Perhaps none are more important than the pending extension talks for the DK Metcalf Receiver.
Metcalf has been nothing short of amazing in his first three seasons with the Seahawks. Known for his running issues and college injuries, the former Ole Miss star has dramatically improved his mechanics with Seattle and hasn’t missed a game of his NFL career, despite the fact that he had to eliminate the last 14 weeks of the 2021 campaign with a foot injury that could require surgery this winter. He fell just off his second straight 1,000-yard season, but set a career-high in touchdowns (12).
This all points to a massive upcoming expansion for Metcalf and he’s won it all. But do the Seahawks have to be the team to give it to him? Almost certainly the answer is yes. The Seahawks love Metcalf and his hypothetical departure would be nothing short of shocking. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a conversation. Each player has a prize, including the star catcher.
The 24-year-old broad is likely considering a new deal that will land somewhere north of the $ 20 million APY over a period of four or five seasons. Currently, the highest paid receiver – in terms of cumulative value – is Amari Cooper, who signed a five-year, $ 100 million contract with the Cowboys at the age of 25. Metcalf has similar numbers to Cooper in his first three years and the salary cap will only increase over the next decade.
Metcalf could reasonably ask for $ 20 million a season, and he could get it. Julio Jones earns $ 22 million per year in Tennessee, while DeAndre Hopkins earns $ 27 million per season in Arizona. Metcalf could also look to break the record for guaranteed contracts of $ 64 million, currently held by Jones.
Whether Metcalf is worth that kind of money can be debated enough, but it’s not just about what it’s going to cost. It is about allocating your resources in such a way as to position yourself in the best possible way for success. Towards the end of the 2021 season, we saw the Seahawks re-engage in the racing game with great success, and with that, relatively modest success for Metcalf. In the last five games of 2021, Metcalf has landed 23 of 45 targets for 257 yards and four touchdowns.
While Seattle commits to running a similar method in 2022, paying $ 20 million a year for a player who doesn’t see more than nine targets per game isn’t ideal. It is certainly not a compromise, but could this money be spent elsewhere in a more efficient way?
When it comes to the cost of trading, all deals should start with a first round pick. It’s hard to imagine Seattle moving him for this, but that was the cost for Dallas to acquire Oakland-era Amari Cooper. Could a team be made to give up a first and fourth round pick for Metcalf, who will play in 2022 with a cap of $ 1.5 million? May be. The 2022 draft class is strong across the board (except quarterback), including receiver level, which may dampen demand for Metcalf.
But there are a few places that might make sense. Would the Dolphins be ready to trade in their first-round pick and DeVante Parker for Metcalf? Parker is under contract until the 2023 season at a reasonable APY of $ 9.5 million. The Jets have two first-round picks and aren’t getting their money’s worth from Corey Davis. Philadelphia saw Metcalf’s dominance up close. Would they part with the 15th pick to pair Metcalf with DeVonta Smith? These are all real possibilities.
But ultimately, the Seahawks don’t need to trade Metcalf. He’s under contract for one more season. By all accounts, it is open for signature of an extension in Seattle. He’s incredibly popular with fans, and if the offseason is to be about appeasing Wilson, trading his most explosive weapon is going to be tough.
Even if the Seahawks can’t get Metcalf to sign a long-term deal, Schneider can leverage the franchise tag after the 2022 season. That would pay Metcalf $ 22 million and give the organization a de facto contract. $ 24 million over two years for his young superstar with a booming salary cap.
So yes, the Seahawks are in a very good position with Metcalf. But just because something seems far-fetched at first glance doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve discussion and critical thinking.
Will the Seahawks trade Metcalf? Almost certainly not. But should they be open to it, and even discuss it with other teams? Absolutely, unequivocally yes. Leveraging an asset to get the most value is the job of a CEO. And by not even considering it, Schneider wouldn’t be doing his job right.