Wyman: What Seahawks should do with players entering contract year in 2022
With the NFL offseason officially underway, there’s naturally a lot of attention being paid to pending free agents. That’s especially true for the Seahawks, who have top players like safety Quandre Diggs, left tackle Duane Brown and cornerback D.J. Reed set to hit the open market.
But the Seahawks also have a good chunk of notable players who are entering contract years in 2022 who the team could choose to extend this offseason both to secure their long-term futures, but also to potentially free up some cap space for this offseason.
Bob Stelton asked his Wyman and Bob co-host Dave Wyman, a former NFL linebacker, whether those players entering contract years should get extensions from the Seahawks this offseason or if they should play out the final year of their deals before a decision is made. Here’s what Wyman had to say about those players.
WR DK Metcalf
Star wide receiver had a down year in his third NFL season in 2021 due in large part to quarterback Russell Wilson’s finger injury, but he still put up some big numbers.
Metcalf didn’t build off his 1,303-yard 2020 season like many expected, but he caught 75 passes for 967 yards and set a career high with 12 touchdown receptions.
There's no stopping @dkm14 💪
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) October 8, 2021
With Metcalf, 24, having wrapped up his third NFL season, he’s eligible for a contract extension. Wyman believes that needs to happen.
“Metcalf you might want to extend and show him some love there,” he said.
Stelton called extending Metcalf a “no-brainer.”
“You don’t let him play the year out and become a free agent,” Stelton said. “Then (there’s a chance) he’s being offered crazier money than he’s probably already in line to get … How he’s a unique talent. And he’s far from fully developed into what he’s going to be.”
Because Metcalf is so talented and has put up great numbers to start his career, Wyman thinks he’d be a hot commodity for star quarterbacks on other teams.
“Maybe there’s some hotshot quarterback out there that’s recruiting him like, ‘Hey DK, you’ve got to come here, man,'” Wyman said. “I would like to get him secured. And just show him again like the appreciation like I was talking about with Carlos Dunlap (more on that soon). And maybe you end up saving yourself some money in the long run if you’re the Seahawks.”
Wyman also said that 2021 showed Metcalf is truly a football player because he played through a notable foot injury for nearly the entire season.
“Playing through that pain, that’s a huge deal … he is a tough guy, not not only physically but mentally,” Wyman said. “And I feel like that that takes a lot of mental toughness. Plus just the other plays, he made the play where he runs down Budda Baker, I mean, he’s just a good football player. So yeah, you reward him.”
LB Bobby Wagner
While Metcalf is searching for his first major NFL payday, longtime Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is entering the last year of a very lucrative deal that, at the time, made him the NFL’s highest-paid middle linebacker. He enters 2022 as the third-highest-paid middle linebacker in football with a cap hit over $20 million with a yearly cash flow of over $16 million.
Wagner is an eight-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler who is also a longtime defensive captain for Seattle. He yet again had over 100 tackles in 2021 and holds the Seahawks franchise record for total tackles.
.@Bwagz came up huge on this third-down sack. 💥💥💥
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) September 19, 2021
Wagner has had his future discussed at length over the past few months because of his high cap hit and the fact that the Seahawks could save over $16 million by cutting or releasing him.
But the Seahawks could also save money in the short-term by extending Wagner, which Wyman thinks should happen.
“Bobby, they’ve got to restructure him and do something there,” he said.
It appears the Seahawks will have a new defensive scheme under new defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt. Hurtt has experience with a 3-4 defense and he has former Chicago defensive coordinator Sean Desai, who also has a background with 3-4 defenses under longtime NFL defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. The Seahawks, though, have typically ran a 4-3 defense with Wagner at middle linebacker.
Wyman doesn’t think the Seahawks will shift to a true 3-4 defense. Whether they do or not, Wyman is interested in how Wagner performs under Hurtt.
“If that’s (they change to a 3-4), he would have to take on a guard. In a 3-4, it’s much more of just a head-on collision,” Wyman said. “I don’t think he wants to do that. It’ll be interesting to see how differently he plays this year as opposed to last year, but yeah, I think you’ve got to restructure that.”
DE Carlos Dunlap
Veteran edge rusher Carlos Dunlap had a very interesting 2021 season, which was his first full year with the Seahawks.
After coming to Seattle in 2020, Dunlap had five sacks in eight games and totally changed the Seahawks’ pass rush.
Naturally, expectations were high for Dunlap in 2021. Seattle cut him due to his high cap hit, but he re-signed on a two-year deal.
But through the first 13 games of the season, Dunlap had just 1.5 sacks and was not playing much. He was also seen dropping into coverage a bit when he did play.
But over the last four games of the season, Dunlap played more, rushed more and had seven sacks to finish with a team-high 8.5 sacks.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) December 5, 2021
Wyman thinks the Seahawks should show the soon-to-be 33-year-old Dunlap that they want him in Seattle.
“And that you really value him here … I think you can gain a lot of favor with him especially if Clint goes to him and says, ‘Man, we need you here. It’s going to be different this year. We’re going to give you what’s fair that you’d probably get out on the market’ because it’s not like he’s some young buck that’s going to go out there and get a $20 million deal,” Wyman said.
DT Poona Ford
Last offseason, the Seahawks inked defensive tackle Poona Ford, a 2018 undrafted free agent who quickly became a key part of the defense, a two-year deal worth nearly $14 million with incentives.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) October 26, 2020
Ford has started every game for the Seahawks the last two years and is very good against the run and can cause pressure in the passing game, but should the Seahawks extend him for the second offseason in a row?
“Poona, I think play it out,” Wyman said. “I don’t want to say he’s been disappointing. I just thought that he was going to look at this point like he was underpaid … I thought by the end of his contract he was going to look like a guy that he could have gotten paid a lot more somewhere else. And then he just hasn’t been as dominant. But I think he’s a really good player.”
RB Chris Carson
After back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2019 and 2020, running back Chris Carson has rushed for 913 yards in 16 games since due to injuries to foot and neck, the latter of which limited him to only four games in 2021.
There was no denying @ccarson_32 on this one. 😤
Q2: SEA 14, PHI 0
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) December 1, 2020
Carson re-signed with Seattle on a two-year deal after 2020, but coming off a neck injury that required surgery, it’s unclear what he’ll look like if he does return in 2022.
Wyman isn’t sure Carson will even be able to play next season, though he hopes he’s wrong.
“Man, I love Chris Carson. When we do our top-20 (Seahawks) players every year, he’s top five,” Wyman said.
With the uncertainty around Carson’s status, he’s a “play it out” guy, Wyman said.
Wyman also gave some quick thoughts on three other Seahawks hitting the final year of their contracts.
LB Cody Barton: “I’m going to sound biased and everybody’s gonna give me a hard time if I say extend him,” Wyman said. “But no, he’s a play it out guy. He definitely is. I mean, look, he just hasn’t played that much. I think he’s good, but I don’t think every NFL team thinks that he’s a starter.”
K Jason Myers: “You let him play his final year,” Wyman said.
DB Marquise Blair: “You let him play it out,” Wyman said.
Listen to the full fourth hour of Thursday’s Wyman and Bob at this link or in the player below.