Clayton: Everything we learned about the Seahawks this week — and what lies ahead
It was a historic and productive week for the Seahawks.
Russell Wilson got his four-year, $140 million contract extension. Contract talks now shift to defense, trying to get extensions for Frank Clark, Bobby Wagner and Jarran Reed. The schedule came out for the Seahawks and the other 31 teams. Meanwhile, the draft is one week away.
Let’s look at some of the things we learned this week.
• Full details have come out on Wilson’s contract. As reported earlier this week, he has a $65 million signing bonus and $5 million guaranteed base salary. He’ll make $18 million next year and $19 million in 2021.
For those worried Wilson’s contract would ruin the budget for getting other players extensions – don’t. He will receive $30 million of his signing bonus this year and $35 million next year. The Seahawks have the flexibility and the budget to get other deals done. The best part for the Seahawks is the way Wilson’s cap numbers will work. His cap jumps up $1 million to $26.2 million in 2019. It’s $31 million in 2020 and $32 million in 2021. As long as it stays around 16 percent of the cap or less, that works. What really works is that the 2021 cap hit should be under 15 percent of the team’s total.
• The league-wide thought of Wilson’s contract is positive. His increase over the $33.5 million contract of Aaron Rodgers fits the expected percentage increase for a top-five or top-seven quarterback. The $70 million skill guarantee is right in line. Good contract. Next year, top quarterbacks will be getting deals around $37 million to $37.5 million a year.
• The most interesting thing said about the Frank Clark negotiation is that there is good communication between Clark’s agent and Clark himself. General manager John Schneider said Thursday night that it’s his understanding Clark won’t hold out even though it had been rumored Clark would do exactly that.
Clark figures to get a contract that is between the $18 million per year Trey Flowers received from Detroit and the $21 million given to Cowboys’ pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence. Sure, Clark’s name will be involved in trade rumors. But so was Wilson’s. Wilson ultimately wasn’t traded, and I don’t think Clark will be traded either.
• Defensive tackles Danny Shelton and Earl Mitchell remain unsigned unrestricted free agents. I would expect the Seahawks to sign one of them after May 7 when unrestricted free agents are considered street free agents, rather than unrestricted free agents who would take away a compensatory pick. (The Seahawks are slated to get four compensatory picks in 2020. Signing one of them before May 7 would take away a seventh-round compensatory.)
• Apparently, the television networks consider the Seahawks a playoff contender. They are among 10 teams that have five prime-time games. There are seven in the NFC: Chicago, Green Bay, Minnesota, Dallas, Philadelphia, Carolina, the Los Angeles Rams, and Seattle.
• Even though the Seahawks have four East Coast 1 p.m. starts (10 a.m. local time), Pete Carroll has done a great job of turning tough road trips into wins. Since Russell Wilson has been the quarterback, the Seahawks are 11-9 in those early starts.
• The Los Angeles Rams came out with a favorable schedule. They have only two early starts. They also get a break toward the end of the season. Their last game in a potential cold weather site is Nov. 3 in Pittsburgh. The Arizona Cardinals have six early starts, while the 49ers have four.