O’Neil: Tyler Lockett has been a bargain for Seahawks, but Frank Clark will be expensive
Seattle had a long weekend that went a long way to improving the Seahawks’ playoff positioning, and before Seattle begins preparing for a game in Carolina that may very well end up deciding their playoff fate, it’s worth stopping to take stock of what we’ve learned about this Seahawks team through the first 10 games:
Tyler Lockett was a bargain.
Admit it, you were surprised by the size of the three-year extension he signed with the Seahawks. I know I was. Three years and $31.8 million were added to Lockett’s deal, which had a year remaining on it.
Lockett was coming off his most challenging season since entering the NFL as he wasn’t quite full strength after suffering a broken ankle in December 2016. Well, he has caught seven touchdown passes in 10 games this season, which ranks among the top 10 in the league, and he has been devastatingly efficient as Kenneth Arthur pointed out on FieldGulls.com by looking at the fact that the Seahawks gain an average of 11.4 yards every time they target Lockett. That’s incredible.
When it comes to quarterback, we’ve wisened up to understand that yards per attempt is a more important measurement than yards per game and certainly better than yards per completion, but we haven’t done the same for receivers. In this case, looking at how effective Seattle – on average – is when it goes to Lockett is truly amazing.
Frank Clark is going to be expensive.
He’s matched his career-high with 10 sacks and there’s still six games left to play, and people will say that he’s going to be a free agent at the end of the season, but that’s not completely accurate because it would be a shock if Seattle let him walk.
If the two sides can’t come to terms on an extension before March – and to be honest, a deal seems unlikely given that Clark’s production has only pushed his price up – then expect the franchise tag to be used on Clark. That won’t be cheap. The tag ran $17.1 million for a defensive end this year, and while the price hasn’t been set for 2019, it’s only going to go up.
Clark’s negotiating from a position of strength right now, and even if he doesn’t get a long-term deal in the next 12 months, he’s in great position going forward.
Seattle’s second-half defense shows signs of promise.
The Seahawks are getting better as they go. That’s encouraging because they’ve been giving up an awful lot of points early.
The Chargers scored 19 first-half points against Seattle, the Rams scored 17 and then the Packers put up 21 in the first two quarters. Seattle battened it down in the second half against the Chargers and the Packers, holding each to a single second-half field goal. That’s part of a larger trend in which Seattle has allowed 64 first-half points in its past five games and just 38 in the second. Now if the Seahawks could just find a way to start the way they finish, they might really be onto something.