When the Seahawks drafted DK Metcalf, it was viewed as both a steal and a necessary move to give then-quarterback Russell Wilson a bona fide deep threat on the outside. The move paid off big time for the organization, as the Ole Miss standout lived up to his draft stock and then some after somehow falling to the end of the second round.
As Metcalf enters the fourth and final season of his rookie contract and offseason programs wrap up around the league, this is the prime time to get a contract extension done and the Seahawks have been active trying to hash out a deal. As coach Pete Carroll indicated after the team's final minicamp practice on Thursday, however, that process has not been easy so far.
"There's been conversations, some, and we're in a pretty, kind of a standard, kind of semi-quiet right now knowing that camp is coming up," Carroll said in a very candid fashion. " These are crucial weeks to get something done. We'll see what happens and hope that we can work something out. We really intended to get that done."
Metcalf has done plenty to warrant receiving a new contract. He has established himself as one of the best deep threats in the league, becoming just the fifth receiver all-time to produce 200 or more catches, 3,100-plus yards, and 29 receiving touchdowns in his first three seasons. This past season, he showed a much wider skillset and improved route running.
Even though Metcalf caught less passes for fewer yards, he was hindered by Wilson's injury and the growth was evident as he continues to develop into a complete receiver. That genesis has led to him not appearing for mini camp as he waits for the Brinks truck to pull up to the VMAC.
“We've been communicating on that topic, yeah,” Carroll commented. “I had hoped that he might come in because he was still in a rehab phase, that he wouldn't be able to do all of the work that he would've been here. It would've been good for us and so unfortunately, he wasn't here.”
Carroll seemed somewhat taken aback by Metcalf's decision in part because the former All-Pro reported for the start of Seattle's offseason program on April 18. Even with him being limited recovering from foot surgery, he exhibited great leadership attending those sessions and participating in everything that he could. Opting to turn around and not come to minicamp was a strange shift, but the NFL is a business and these situations are always fluid.
“It’s a decision that he had to make [not attending mini camp], and we missed him," Carroll added. "He had done a nice job of contributing and being part of everything that we had done and then he's not here, so I can't say much for what he hasn't done here, but we would love to have him with us.”
Metcalf's desire for new contract is warranted and then some. He has massively outperformed his rookie contract as the 64th overall pick and he's only 24 years old. Getting him that new contract is not only complicated, but will also set the direction for the Seahawks moving forward. The main reason for the complications? The receiver market just got flooded with massive contracts this spring.
Early in the offseason, both Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill were traded for massive hauls that included two top-64 picks and contract extensions north of 28 million per season. Other receivers also made out like bandits too.
A.J. Brown and Hollywood Brown fetched first round picks for their former teams, with Brown getting 25 million dollars per year. Christian Kirk somehow got 18 million per season on the open market. With all of these contracts getting bigger, making a commitment that large is something that the Seahawks need to be certain about and with the immediate future of the franchise somewhat in flux without Wilson, that has likely caused the holdup.
Carroll himself has not lost the faith though. This isn't his or general manager John Schneider's first rodeo with a star player seeking a new contract and most of the time, they knock these lucrative extensions out before training camp.
“No, I'm not less optimistic," Carroll explained. "We've been through this for years, and we know it's a challenging time. We've had so many high-profile guys that have gone through this process and how's that worked out for us? We've figured it out in time. Johnny [Schneider] is on it and he's as experienced as you can get at handling this stuff. DK has great representation, and DK is a heck of a kid, but there's no way of avoiding the first time of this. The first time and what it feels like, and the experience of it and all of that. There are so many classic examples of that, how guys have dealt with it and handled it, and our guys got to figure it out."
Missing minicamp is never a good thing but as Carroll pointed out, there are reasons to be optimistic and time is still on their side. There are six weeks before training camp starts in late July and nobody should be pushing the panic button with the receiver reiterating several times this offseason he wants to stay with the organization. If he doesn't show up for day one of training camp, then the Seahawks will have a real problem on their hands.