Will Seahawks sign DK Metcalf to second extension? Insider weighs in

Jun 23, 2024, 12:02 PM | Updated: Jul 3, 2024, 2:15 pm

Seattle Seahawks DK Metcalf...

DK Metcalf of the Seattle Seahawks runs a play against the Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 10, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The wide receiver room remains a bright spot for the Seattle Seahawks as they head into the 2024 season with the likes of DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Jaxon Smith-Njigba making up a formidable trio atop the depth chart.

But the team could be facing some tough decisions on that front in the coming seasons, one of those being deciding whether or not to re-sign the talented Metcalf. The sixth-year veteran’s contract runs through the 2025 season, which means talks of an extension could soon be on the horizon.

The average annual value of Metcalf’s current deal – a rookie extension he signed in 2022 – is $24 million, but he could be in line for a hefty raise after a bar recently set by a Minnesota Vikings star. The Vikings inked Justin Jefferson to a four-year, $140 million extension worth a yearly average of $35 million.

Is that a price the Seahawks could afford to pay Metcalf and still put together a viable roster to be a contender? ESPN NFL insider Bill Barnwell assessed that situation Friday when he joined Stacy Rost and Curtis Rogers on Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy.

“When it comes to DK Metcalf, you can’t really knock the production,” Barnwell said. “He’s been healthy, he’s been available most of his career, he’s played really well, he seems like a locker room guy. It doesn’t seem like he has any issues there. So you can’t really poke holes in DK as a player.

“I just really think the question is: How do you want to apportion your money and what do they have at quarterback?”

The Jefferson example

Jefferson’s $35 million average salary is the highest among NFL wide receivers by $3 million over Philadelphia’s A.J. Brown. The supremely talented Vikings wide receiver led the league with 128 receptions and 1,809 receiving yards in 2022 and put up 1,400 or more yards in each of his first three seasons. He also surpassed 1,000 yards last year while playing just 10 games. So a contract extension of this magnitude was expected for Jefferson, but Minnesota’s roster construction is part of what helped make it affordable.

“For the Vikings, not that they would have ever really not signed Justin Jefferson – maybe they trade him if they really don’t like him for some reason – but they’re never gonna let him leave him free agency,” Barnwell said. “And it makes sense for them to sign him, not only because he’s an incredible player, but also because they have J.J. McCarthy on a rookie deal making a fraction of what a typical quarterback makes, and you want to surround your quarterback with talent when that happens.”

The other side of the coin

A team that is in a similar spot as the Seahawks are with Metcalf and the Vikings were with Jefferson is the Dallas Cowboys. Wide receiver Ceedee Lamb – last season’s NFL leader in receptions – is entering the final year of his contract this season. However, Dallas is already paying quarterback Dak Prescott a hefty sum of money, and he’s also in line for a new deal with his four-year, $160 million deal ending after this season.

“With someone like Ceedee Lamb, it’s tougher,” Barnwell said. “So with the Cowboys, do you pay Dak 60 (million) and then Ceedee Lamb 35? That’s a more difficult conundrum. I think if you have a rookie quarterback, it’s much easier to pay those wide receivers.”

Do the Seattle Seahawks extend DK?

With those examples in mind, the Seahawks will have some interesting decisions to make in the offseason. Starting quarterback Geno Smith is signed through 2025, when he’s due to carry a $38.5 million salary cap hit.

“If you do go out and give Geno Smith a raise, if you do go out and sign Dak or someone significant at quarterback, if you trade for a Kirk Cousins, that’s a different question,” Barnwell said. “I think it’s tougher to get that deal done with DK. I still think you do it, but it really changes the sort of flexibility you have and maybe how aggressive you are in making that move.”

If the team decides to move on from Smith in favor of Sam Howell or another young quarterback on a rookie deal after this season, Seattle could save $25 million of Smith’s 2025 cap hit by releasing him.

“If you have a rookie quarterback taking over next year or someone who’s not making even what Geno is gonna make this year, I don’t think there’s really a doubt (about extending Metcalf),” Barnwell said. “I think you surround that (quarterback) with talent. You sign DK, (and) you hope that Jaxon Smith-Njigba is your number two receiver and he ends up being eligible for an extension in a couple of years from now and deserves one.”

Listen to the full conversation with ESPN NFL insider Bill Barnwell at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Tune in to Bump and Stacy weekdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

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