Signs that Kenneth Walker, DK Metcalf will sign Seahawks contracts soon
Seaside Joe 1231: Big news (HAPPY NEWS) should be happening soon
Rookie Month at Seaside Joe continues with a potential update on the Kenneth Walker III rookie contract situation. If you missed this morning’s BonuS PosT: Why Drew Lock is probably Pete Carroll’s true QB1, not Geno Smith.
Rookie contracts are not supposed to be as complicated under the current CBA as they were prior to the 2011 update that set an exact dollar figure for every prospect based on draft position. First round picks would have fully-guaranteed four-year contracts with a fifth-year option, and anyone who goes after the first round has a four-year contract but with less money and less guaranteed.
However, sometimes agents for players negotiate different language and guarantees within those contracts and one such example in 2022 is the only running back who was drafted before Walker: Breece Hall.
Not only did Hall sign a four-year, $9 million contract with the New York Jets, but he may have set a new precedent based on his guarantees: Hall essentially has a fully-guaranteed three-year deal. As reported by Jets writer Rich Cimini, Hall’s third season is 100% fully-guaranteed, which is a significant difference from the 58% third-year guarantee signed by Dolphins safety Javon Holland as the 36th overall pick in 2021.
Though there is no reason to panic, Walker, Boye Mafe, and Coby Bryant are the last remaining Seahawks draft picks to not sign their rookie contracts. The fact that Hall came to an agreement with the Jets on Tuesday signifies that Walker should be able to sign his rookie contract before training camp and he might be able to get his third season 100% fully-guaranteed.
Will Seattle balk at the request? I don’t see a good reason why they would.
Even though the Seahawks parted with Christine Michael during his third NFL season, they did stick with Rashaad Penny into his fourth season and the pay-off was having the league’s best rushing attack in the final six weeks of the year. That may have only been possible because Penny had a fully-guaranteed four-year rookie deal.
As Cimini notes, guaranteeing more money to early second round picks may become common practice. The Houston Texans signed safety Jalen Pitre, the pick right after Hall, to an $8.9 million contract with over $7 million guaranteed.
The Seahawks drafted Walker to be one of their star running backs over the next four years, at least. They certainly want to show that they have confidence that he can step up to that challenge, especially in the face of skepticism from the media that drafting running backs in the second round (when it used to be that only the first round was “the issue”) is a mistake, and Hall’s completed deal should fast-forward that process. The Saints signed 49th overall pick Alontae Taylor to his rookie deal shortly thereafter.
If you want to see Walker fast-forward through college defenses and haven’t read Seaside Joe’s series on him, you can start here.
Then DK Metcalf is next
After the Seahawks sign Walker, Mafe, and Bryant, the next step will be finalizing the largest contract in franchise history for a wide receiver. There should be no questioning whether or not Seattle will sign DK Metcalf to a contract extension prior to the 2022 season and sometimes the best reason for optimism is the fact that there is no news about it happening at all.
No news on a holdout. No news of any complaints. No rumors. No trade talks. Not even any concerns about the fact that Russell Wilson has been replaced at quarterback by several quarterbacks who are not Russell Wilson.
That’s great news, even if it’s no news.
On Tuesday, Deebo Samuel’s much more public outcry for a new contract from the 49ers had another headline to share: Samuel’s personal trainer says that Deebo is “about to get paid.”
That could mean nothing, but San Francisco linebacker Fred Warner also expressed confidence this week that the team would extend Deebo Samuel before too long.
The Eagles didn’t want to extend A.J. Brown, so they traded him. The Commanders didn’t want to trade Terry McLaurin, so they gave him a three-year, $71 million extension. The Ravens didn’t want to extend Marquise Brown (and he didn’t want to stay in Baltimore) so they traded him.
The 49ers didn’t trade Samuel. The Seahawks didn’t trade Metcalf.
San Francisco might as well extend Samuel because you can almost guarantee that they won’t get the full Samuel experience if he doesn’t feel comfortable putting his body on the line before his 2023 pay day. The Seahawks might as well extend Metcalf because they have hardly any other contracts to pay out in 2023 and 2024 and he’s a perfect partner/selling point for whoever ends up being the next franchise quarterback.
If Samuel gets his extension soon, then Metcalf’s deal will come shortly later.
Metcalf essentially knows that he will get at least $44 million in 2023 and 2024 if he is playing on the franchise tag. That makes a two-year, $44 million deal the BASELINE and means that the Seahawks will have to pay him a little bit more than that. But the sweet spot ends up being three years for most contracts because it gives the player more of a guarantee but it also gives the player/team a potential out after three years.
Either because the player out-plays his contract value and wants a raise or because he underperforms and the team wants to move on.
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So look for the third year on Metcalf’s contract to be worth $27-$30 million and his final contract to be something like a three-year, $71 to $75 million extension with at least $62 million to be guaranteed. That’s why McLaurin’s contract was a three-year, $71 million deal and that’s why Brown signed a four-year, $100 million contract with the Eagles.
The fourth year is not that serious but sometimes it helps boost those headlines: “Eagles sign A.J. Brown to $100 million deal.”
But if Brown is a top-five receiver over the next three years, he will be holding out in 2026. If he gets injured or disappoints, the Eagles will release him by 2026.
I like the idea of a three-year, $72 million contract for Metcalf that is fully guaranteed. It should be done by the end of August. It would also be one more chance for Pete Carroll and John Schneider to gain favor with the Seahawks fanbase just days before the first season without Wilson in over 10 years kicks off against Russell Wilson.
I wonder if Deebo's agent knows as much about conditioning as his trainer knows about contract negotiation.
Wait a minute Seaside, I read just this morning that the Seahawks were rebuilding and therefore, did not need Metcalf now. So, they were likely going to trade him, and that Dallas was a good landing spot for him. You really should be more informed regarding these NFL matters.