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Seahawks WR DK Metcalf
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How a looming DK Metcalf extension impacts Seahawks’ offseason approach

Seahawks WR DK Metcalf set a franchise record for receiving yards in 2020. (Getty)

The Seahawks enter the 2021 offseason without much available space under the salary cap, which will make bringing back key players, adding starting-caliber players and extending stars a lot more difficult.

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Starters like running back Chris Carson, linebacker K.J. Wright and cornerback Shaquill Griffin are all hitting unrestricted free agency, safety Jamal Adams will be seeking a long-term deal as he enters the final year of his contract, and star quarterback Russell Wilson has been vocal about wanting better pass protection so there’s a thought that Seattle could prioritize the offensive line in free agency.

A player that could impact this offseason who hasn’t been discussed much, however, is receiver DK Metcalf, who is coming off setting the Seahawks franchise record for receiving yards with 1,303 in his second NFL season. Metcalf’s elite play earned him his first Pro Bowl nod as well as Second-Team All-Pro honors.

The 23-year-old wideout, a second-round pick in 2019, has quickly become a top NFL receiver who is a mismatch for opposing defenses with his blend of size, speed, strength and explosion. Naturally, that’s going to cost the Seahawks a pretty penny at some point to keep him on the team.

With only two seasons under his belt, Metcalf is not yet eligible to sign a long-term contract extension. But at this point, it seems like a no-brainer that the Seahawks will aim to lock Metcalf up once he’s eligible for a new deal next offseason.

Currently, four NFL receivers are making an average of $20 million or more annually on their current contracts, and four more average $18 million or more. Each of those players are at least 27 years old while Metcalf, whose birthday is in December, will be 24 next offseason. That could mean Metcalf may demand one of the most expensive contracts for a wide receiver in NFL history.

With that extension looming in the background, might that impact the way the Seahawks approach this offseason?

“I think it’s got to factor in a little bit. I mean, DK Metcalf’s contract is going to be massive,” former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps said on a recent edition of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy. “If he has another stellar year like he did last year and improves even more, I mean, he’s going to get a mega, mega deal. I think that has to factor in.”

Heaps noted that Adams will be looking for his payday this offseason, so, “Pretty soon here you’re going to have a couple big-time contracts on your plate here in Seattle.”

What helps, Heaps said, is that along with Metcalf not being paid until next offseason, teams are able to move money around to allow for more short-term spending, which would help when it comes to this upcoming free agency cycle. He also noted that the Seahawks are a team that’s always looking ahead.

“When it’s solely about looking at 2021 and their cap space, there are a lot of ways they can create cap space … but they also have to think about two or three years from now and implications for what it’s going to do to their cap if you extend some of these contracts out now,” Heaps said. “So I think that is absolutely going to be in the back of their mind.”

Stacy Rost, Heaps’ co-host, brought up that Wilson’s recent comments about pass protection, his legacy, and a desire to have more say in the direction of the team could impact how young players like Metcalf view their futures with the Seahawks.

“Those guys want to be Hall of Famers, too,” Rost said. “They care about their legacy, too, and they want to know they can meet the expectations of that legacy here in Seattle. So they are very much watching those moves in addition to whatever Russell Wilson is doing … Don’t think that only Wilson is focusing on this stuff.”

You can hear the full discussion in Thursday’s Three Questions segment from Jake and Stacy in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

Follow Brandon Gustafson on Twitter.

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Jake & Stacy