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Recent History Suggests Seahawks Next Big Extension May Not Happen Until Training Camp

After handing out nearly $95 million in extensions for Tyler Lockett and Gabe Jackson, the Seahawks have several other players entering the final year of their respective contracts who need new deals. But if the past five years are any indication, further activity on that front may be curbed for a while.

As part of their continued efforts to create salary cap space while still improving their overall roster, the Seahawks made two significant long-term investments earlier this week by signing receiver Tyler Lockett and guard Gabe Jackson to multi-year extensions.

Between the two signings, general manager John Schneider opened up Seattle's checkbook and shelled out nearly $95 million to keep Lockett and Jackson through at least the 2023 season. These moves further illustrate the organization's commitment to building around quarterback Russell Wilson, who should be quite pleased having his most trusted target and one of the NFL's premier pass protecting guards under contract for the foreseeable future.

Through the structure of the extensions, Lockett and Jackson's respective cap hits were each cut in half. Rather than carry a near-$15 million cap charge entering the last year of his contract, Lockett will only count around $7 million against the cap, while Jackson's will decrease from $9.6 to $4.5 million, creating nearly $13 million in much-needed cap relief.

Yet in the aftermath of those moves, the Seahawks could still use a bit more financial wiggle room. Per, without Al Woods' contract or Lockett's extension being updated yet, the team is only $1.79 million under the $182.5 million cap. Even when estimating the space opened up by Lockett's deal, the team is left with between $6-8 million, which doesn't provide much money to fill out the roster.

However, for those who believe more extensions could happen in quick order, recent history suggests Seattle may not make such a move until much later in the offseason or even during the early stages of training camp.

Over the past five years, the Seahawks have undergone substantial roster turnover, particularly on the defensive side of the football. The "Legion of Boom" dissolved, with Kam Chancellor being the only player who received a third contract from that renowned secondary, and the team has played musical chairs with edge rushers such as Frank Clark and Jadeveon Clowney, refusing to make long-term investments at the position.

Meanwhile, the cast of characters surrounding Wilson on offense looks markedly different too. Pro Bowl receiver Doug Baldwin retired before the 2019 season, while the offensive line has endured yearly shake-ups with left tackle Duane Brown as the one constant in the trenches and injuries have left the team scrambling numerous times trying to find healthy running backs.

During that span of immense roster upheaval, Schneider and the Seahawks' front office haven't handed out many multi-year contract extensions, and when they have, the majority of those deals came together long after the draft concluded.

From 2017 to the start of free agency this year, Seattle signed only six players to contract extensions of three or more years. In 2017, Chancellor and center Justin Britt received three year extensions during training camp and unfortunately, injuries led to both players being released before the conclusion of the contract.

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Then in 2018, with one year left on his current deal, Brown was rewarded with a three-year, $34.5 million extension in late July when the team reported for training camp. He has one year remaining on that deal as he prepares for his 14th NFL season and fifth with the Seahawks. The team also awarded Lockett with a new three-year deal on August 29 shortly before the start of the regular season.

The following year, Wilson gave Schneider an ultimatum to have a new contract agreed upon by April 15. Though the two sides worked until the clock nearly struck midnight, he signed a four-year, $130 million extension to make him the NFL's highest-paid player at the time. Months later, linebacker Bobby Wagner signed a three-year, $54 million extension of his own days before training camp kicked off.

Aside from Wilson and safety Bradley McDougald, who signed a three-year deal in March 2018, four of those six extensions happened in July or August. Looking back at earlier years in Schneider's tenure, that trend held true as well, with Wilson and Wagner signing their first lucrative extensions on July 31 and August 2, 2015 respectively. Baldwin also signed a four-year extension in late June 2016.

Looking at the rest of Seattle's extension candidates with one year left on their current contracts, Schneider may face some arduous, complicated negotiations, especially when it comes to All-Pro Jamal Adams. Classifying himself as a defensive weapon rather than a safety due to his pass rushing prowess, he's expected to push for at least $17 million per year, obliterating the record for the position.

After setting a new record for sacks in a single season by a defensive back in 2020, Adams holds plenty of leverage entering the fifth and final year of his rookie deal. Since the Seahawks didn't include an extension as part of the blockbuster trade with the Jets last July, it's possible if a deal isn't reached before training camp that he could opt to hold out until he receives the contract he desires, creating additional drama for a franchise that has dealt with far too much of it already this offseason.

While fellow safety Quandre Diggs won't push for near the same salary per year as Adams, the 28-year old defender also made his first Pro Bowl in 2020 and will be seeking a well-earned raise to stay in Seattle long-term. Schneider has typically been more than happy to pony up the dough at key secondary positions, but depending on Diggs' demands, negotiations could last deep into the summer.

It's also possible Brown could receive an extension before the start of the 2021 campaign. Set to turn 36 years old in August, it's more likely he will receive an additional year tacked onto his deal than a multi-year extension at this stage given his advancing age. But if the team needs a few quick million in cap space in coming weeks to help sign another player, he's the most plausible and least complicated candidate to extend.

As free agency continues to unfold and the 2021 NFL Draft quickly approaches, due to the unique nature of this offseason with a lowered salary cap, Seattle could alter its typical business approach. With several quality veterans still unsigned and seemingly in no rush to land with a new team, it's entirely possible another extension could be announced soon to help facilitate other moves.

But most likely, based on recent precedent and the fact the Seahawks now have a manageable salary cap situation after already making a bevy of moves, fans would be wise to bet on players such as Adams, Diggs, and Brown being awarded extensions later in the offseason as Schneider and his colleagues continue to solidify a long-term plan for the organization beyond 2021.