MASSIVE TRADE AGAIN: What it means for DK Metcalf emergency contract talks, Seahawks
Tyreek Hill is getting $30 million per year from the Miami Dolphins
Okay, now it is time to talk about what the Seattle Seahawks should pay DK Metcalf.
On Wednesday morning, the Kansas City Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins for a late first, a second, and three more draft picks. The Dolphins then signed Hill to a four-year, $120 million contract with over $72 million guaranteed. Now you see why we’re having this emergency conversation.
In what is starting to feel like blowback for a depressed salary cap in 2020-2021 during the pandemic, wide receivers are now getting more than $27 million per season when they play at a high level and strike at the righ ttime.
Davante Adams was traded to the LV Raiders for a first and a second, then signed a five-year, $140 million contract with $65.7 million guaranteed; an AAV of $28 million per year.
Now Hill has a four-year, $120 million contract and is making $30 million per year. Even if the numbers get somewhat inflated by backloading the deal, the $72 million guaranteed implies that he’s not going to make less than $25 million over EACH of the first three years.
Even a high level number two wide receiver like Mike Williams got $60 million over three years with the Los Angeles Chargers, so what are we supposed to expect for a potential number one like Metcalf? A player who is 24, is three-for-three in having productive seasons at the wideout position, has rare athletic traits like Tyreek Hill, and entering a contract year for a franchise that doesn’t really have many other players who they need to take care of right now?
The answer to that question could either blow the minds of Seahawks fans when Metcalf strikes a new deal in Seattle. Or it could lead to a separation of franchise and player based on the unusually high salaries going out to his peers, and the monumental trade packages that teams have been receiving in return for wide receivers.
Let’s examine what the answers could be to these two questions:
What would Metcalf cost the Seahawks on his next contract?
If Adams signed for $28 million AAV, Hill signed for $30 million AAV, then we can expect that Metcalf’s agent (CAA Football, as of him getting new management in 2021) will at least start the bidding at $31 million AAV.
By changing representation now and joining a more formidable agency, Metcalf clearly is thinking ahead towards when he will be eligible for a lucrative extension when he can cash in for his efforts.
It’s amazing to see that only a year ago, there were concerns that maybe Metcalf would ask for $20 MILLION per year. Now an offer like that would probably make CAA hang up the phone with Seattle and start calling around to field realistic offers for what other teams would pay for Metcalf, with the Seahawks permission of course. And you don’t think that the New York Jets, after missing out on a trade for Hill this week, wouldn’t open the checkbook for DK Metcalf?
The Seahawks will not get away with offering Metcalf $20-$24 million per season anymore. That’s below the bottom line.
Another CAA football client, Chris Godwin, was recently working through his second franchise tag in as many offseasons. Godwin, 26, made $3.2 million over four years on his rookie contract, then $16 million on the franchise tag in 2021. He was set to make $19 million in 2022, but he lost some leverage because of a serious knee injury last season and instead signed a three-year, $60 million contract with $40 million guaranteed.
Metcalf would have to ask for considerably more than that and his agency also knows that Seattle can afford much more than the Bucs could right now: The Seahawks have about $11 million in “real” cap space for 2022 and potentially have the most cap space in the NFL in 2023. Well more than $100 million in cap space.
Also knowing that the Seahawks will probably go “cheap rookie deal” or “cheap veteran deal” at the quarterback position, Seattle’s showing their cards that they hope to be able to spend those savings on elite players. The Seahawks do not have many players with the potential to become elite other than Metcalf.
This is a unique negotiation though.
Metcalf is younger than Hill and Adams, but also less proven.
He is entering a contract year, but the Seahawks continue to hold all the leverage because the franchise tag still exists. Like the Bucs with Godwin, Seattle can do more than just threaten to use the tag in 2023… they’ll guarantee him that they will use it.
Metcalf can hold out, but he’d only lose money and the Seahawks have proven over and over again that they don’t give into holdouts. More than nine times out of ten, the player will return to the team and get no financial gains from the holdout.
Pete Carroll wants to “lock up” Metcalf this offseason. But in order to do that off the back of these contracts, he might need to lock up more than $25 million in cap space per year from 2023-2025, at least.
Is that fair for DK Metcalf? It wouldn’t be for every NFL team. It might almost have to be for Seattle’s current situation of simply needing good players, and that’s exactly the leverage that Metcalf’s agents will use in negotiations. If those negotiations fall apart because Metcalf’s agents won’t accept anything less than a three-year, $90 million, fully-guaranteed contract though…
What could the Seahawks get in trade return for DK Metcalf?
If negotiations completely fell apart like they did for Tyreek Hill and the Chiefs, the Seahawks and Russell Wilson, or the Panthers and Deshaun Watson (if Carolina would guarantee his full contract, he might be playing for the Panthers next season), then Seattle would have to do their due diligence and see what he’s worth in trade.
This is something that John Schneider has emphasized since his first day on the job: the Seahawks will exhaust and research ALL possibilities.
The Packers got a first and a second for Davante Adams, though the franchise tag made those parameters only slightly negotiable.
The Chiefs got a first, a second, two fourths, and a sixth for Tyreek Hill. But overall picks at 29 and 50 seem a little underwhelming for a player of his caliber: six Pro Bowls in six seasons. The ludicrous contract figures that KC could have never matched may have played a significant role in the return.
There’s zero question then that any DK Metcalf trade talks would start with a first and a second. Given that he’s five years younger than Adams and four years younger than Hill, with a unique 6’4 frame and 4.3 speed, the package should be better than both returns.
Talks should start at two first round picks, if not at least a top-10 pick and a high second round pick. Knowing Pete and John though, quantity may rule out over quality.
I also believe that Pete and John are aware that the 2023 NFL Draft is exceptionally better than the 2022 NFL Draft class, so nabbing future draft picks would probably take priority.
How seriously should the Seahawks consider trading Metcalf if a team is offering 2022 and 2023 first round picks, plus a 2022 second round pick, while knowing that Seattle would also be avoiding a $25-$30 million per year deal for a wide receiver?
What will the Seahawks and DK Metcalf do?
The greatest malpractice by Seattle in this situation would be to not use the 2023 franchise tag as immense leverage in negotiations. The Seahawks hold Metcalf’s rights in 2022 and the tag means that Seattle couldn’t possibly lose him before 2025 without massive compensation. The Seahawks could continue tagging Metcalf for up to three years and given the size of these other contracts, what harm would it do?
Metcalf’s only leverage is to holdout, but we’ve seen how that goes for others, like Marshawn Lynch and Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. It never went well for the player. Not once. And it happened a lot.
Instead, Metcalf could accept an unbelievably good contract offer, like say four years and $100 million with $70 million guaranteed, and take the risk that maybe he’s leaving some future money on the table.
If the Packers or Jets suddenly swoop in with a trade package that nobody though possible a month ago though, then Pete and John have some more tough decisions to make. We saw what route they went when that became the issue with Russell Wilson.
Also, the Seahawks signed Justin Coleman back to the roster on Wednesday. NEWS!
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