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Analysis: What Would DK Metcalf Extension With Seahawks Look Like?

With Metcalf not being dealt before the 2022 NFL Draft, Seattle plans to keep him around as a building block for its next contender. How much will the front office have to pony up to lock him up long-term?

Over the past three months, the NFL has seen an astounding number of star players change teams in one of the most active offseasons in league history. Hitting the reset button, the Seahawks were at the forefront of the chaos, shockingly trading quarterback Russell Wilson to the Broncos and releasing All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner in March.

But while Wilson's move to the Mile High City may stand out as the most important addition made by any team this spring, this offseason has truly been defined by unprecedented movement coupled with skyrocketing contracts for superstar receivers.

The madness began when the Packers couldn't come to terms with Davante Adams on a new contract, forcing them to trade him to the Raiders in a rare sign-and-trade deal. Shortly thereafter, the Chiefs shipped Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins, who gave him a record-setting extension that surpassed Adams' deal. Then, during the 2022 NFL Draft, the Titans stunned the football world by sending A.J. Brown to the Eagles, who promptly signed him to a monster extension.

On the heels of the Adams and Hill trades, considering the soaring cost of elite receivers and the team's rebuilding state minus Wilson and Wagner, speculation about DK Metcalf's future in Seattle ensued. With the young star entering the last year of his rookie deal, many wondered if a trade like the one Tennessee ultimately made with Brown would materialize on draft weekend.

However, the Seahawks never entertained the idea of trading away Metcalf, who reported for the start of the team's offseason program on April 18 despite his contract situation. While rehabbing from offseason foot surgery has limited what he can do on the field thus far, he's already taken on an expanded leadership role and has stated publicly he wants to stay in Seattle long-term.

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DK Metcalf

What do these deals mean for Metcalf and the Seahawks as they try to hammer out an extension of their own? Comparing contracts can be like comparing apples to oranges, especially in this instance.

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With only one season of more than 1,000 receiving yards on his resume and a lone All-Pro selection, Metcalf hasn't posted as gaudy of overall numbers as Hill, Adams, or Diggs. From a production standpoint, Seattle could potentially argue he hasn't quite earned $28 million per year as one of the three highest-paid at his position.

But at the same time, the 6-foot-3, 228-pound Metcalf just turned 24 years old in December and remains an ascending superstar. According to Pro Football Reference, he's one of only five players in NFL history to produce 3,100 receiving yards, 200 receptions, and 29 receiving touchdowns in his first three seasons. With that achievement, he's in exclusive company with the likes of Hall of Famers Randy Moss and Jerry Rice.

Metcalf has also already made history in Seattle, breaking Steve Largent's single-season receiving yardage record in 2020. He also ranks first in the franchise record books for receiving yards and receptions in his first three seasons while only trailing Daryl Turner in receiving touchdowns.

Considering his youth, rare physical talents, and impressive numbers to start his career, Metcalf and his agent should be pushing for a four-year pact worth between $100 and $120 million and north of $70 million in guarantees. In other words, a deal in the range between what the Eagles paid Brown annually and the top two contracts signed by Adams and Hill should be perfect for both parties.

Based on how Seattle typically conducts business, one may expect Metcalf's contract to more closely resemble Brown's deal in terms of structure with backloaded salary. But with Wilson's contract coming off the books next year, Schneider may be more willing to offer more guaranteed money up front.

Regardless of how guaranteed money, signing bonuses, and roster bonuses shake out when pen meets paper, the Seahawks shouldn't have any hesitations in paying Metcalf. While he earned such a lucrative deal with his sensational play over the past three years, even with a downgrade at quarterback, he projects to only get better in coming seasons as a focal point in their offense and anticipated future production makes him well worth the investment.