The Seattle Seahawks, much like the rest of the NFL, can’t pay everyone. So, signing a new contract or extension is a pretty big deal. There are hold outs every year like Earl Thomas’, where a player feels they deserve to be paid more or get a better contract, and the solutions are rarely easy. This is a business for both sides and they can treat it as such. Let’s look at the deals for Duane Brown and Tyler Lockett and see how they affect Thomas’ holdout and Frank Clark’s possible new deal.
Duane Brown inked his deal last month. He extended his contract three years for $36 million, so he is under contract with the Seahawks for the next four years. I think Seattle made this a priority signing because they have invested a lot of draft picks and free agent contracts into the offensive line for several years. Now, they believe they have a solid left tackle for Russell Wilson and they wanted to lock him up for the foreseeable future. We will see how Brown plays this year after an above average year in 2017, he is 33 years old and could see a decline in play sooner rather than later. But, he is the biggest reason for optimism for our offensive line. He gives Seattle a matchup where he will do his job and the rest of the guys don’t have to help or worry about him. For a team like the Seahawks, who have been shuffling through o-linemen so quick the past few years, Brown starting his second year with relatively the same other linemen is a godsend. They can grow together as a unit, which seemed to be lacking in some previous years.
Tyler Lockett’s deal was announced August 29th and is a three-year extension worth up to $37.8 million with $20 million guaranteed. He will also be with the team for the next four years (he will earn the $2.1 million he was due this year before the new deal kicks in). Lockett was in line to be another Seahawk receiver to hit free agency and make more money than Seattle was willing to give them. Like Golden Tate and Paul Richardson. Lockett’s deal shows a commitment to the younger guys on the team, who are forming the core of this revamped roster. Lockett is a good receiver who should be back to full speed after recovering from a severely broken leg two years ago, his short area quickness and easy long speed put him in rare company in terms of pure speed. He is a playmaker for the offense and for the special teams’ unit who can score from anywhere on the field.
Frank Clark is in the last year of his rookie contract, just like Lockett, so he could be next in line for a new deal. Clark is a good pass rusher and has been productive with Seattle, with 22 sacks in three years. He has mainly come in on passing downs and as a rotation player, until last year where he started 12 games in place of Cliff Avril. Clark’s contract will be much harder to negotiate based on his position alone, pass rushers are some of the top paid defenders in the league, and are highly coveted. Since Clark is only 25 he has a lot of football ahead of him and his potential for more double-digit sack seasons is high, other teams will be willing to throw money at him if he becomes a free agent. And now that he is the de facto number one pass rushing option for the Seahawks, it would seem like he is probably going to get an extension sometime this year before other teams start trying to pay him more than Seattle can.
Earl Thomas has slipped a little bit to the backburner for a lot of fans. He has stopped making statements and he hasn’t been on the field, so it is easy to start thinking past him. I think that Thomas will not reach an agreement with Seattle. So, the only way he plays for the Seahawks again is if he ends his holdout. Thomas has shown his willingness to be fined for not showing up and he has drawn a very hard line in the sand about playing without a new contract. He has said he won’t do it, and Seattle has said they won’t extend him. It would be very hard for them to come up with the money he wants this year anyway, even if they wanted to give him a new contract. Some of you might be asking, how could Seattle extend Lockett’s and Brown’s contract but not have enough money for Earl. It’s because they are extensions, so they play out the contract they have right now and next year is when the new ones’ kick in. So, they spend zero extra money this year from those contracts and Thomas wants money this year. It is a business both ways and no matter how much I might want to see Earl fly around for the Seahawks again I respect his willingness to fight for what he thinks he deserves. Football takes a terrible toll on the body and Thomas wants to make sure he is compensated fairly for the risks he takes because of his aggressiveness. He is arguably the best safety in the league and he is not the highest paid one. That is argument enough for him to hold out. But I wish him well whatever the next move is, and I hope there are no hard feelings about the holdout.