Over the course of the offseason, we will explore different players from the 2020 Seahawks roster and evaluate them. We will review their performance from the previous season, what worked, what did not, and then glance at what their future may hold with the Seahawks or perhaps elsewhere.
This week's focus player is receiver D.K. Metcalf, who earned his first Pro Bowl nod in his second season in Seattle.
Expectations were sky-high for the Ole Miss product after a solid rookie season in which he caught 58 passes for 900 yards and seven touchdowns. Many expected him to take another step towards greatness.
Boy, did he ever.
The 22-year old Metcalf came out of the gates scorching hot in 2020, hauling in 22 passes for 496 yards and five scores in the team's first five games. He was on pace for almost 1,600 receiving yards at that point.
He also turned in five 100-plus yard receiving games, including a new career high of 177 yards against the Eagles in Week 12. Given his other-worldly physique, athleticism, and ball skills, Metcalf made headlines across the nation as the next budding star at receiver in the NFL, especially after chasing down Budda Baker during an interception return that looked like something out of a Marvel movie chase scene.
The 6-foot-4 wideout finished the regular season seventh in the NFL in receiving yards with 1,303, setting the single-season record for a Seahawks receiver, which was previously held by Steve Largent with 1,287. Along with his gaudy yardage, Metcalf finished tied for eighth in the NFL with 10 receiving touchdowns along with teammate Tyler Lockett. Plus, who could forget his torching of the previous season's Defensive Player of the Year in Stephon Gilmore? In that contest against the Patriots, he caught four balls for 92 yards and a long touchdown, beating the All-Pro corner numerous times.
Being young, Metcalf certainly had his moments where he showed he is not, in fact, an infallible superhero that he sometimes appears to be on the field. There were moments of immaturity, like the fumble out of the end zone against the Cowboys as he prematurely celebrated an assumed touchdown. People forget just how young he is being just two years out of college.
Overall, Metcalf turned in one of the best seasons ever by a Seahawks receiver and earned his first career All-Pro and Pro Bowl nods in the process. He also earned a stellar 82.7 grade from Pro Football Focus, ranking No. 68 among all NFL players for 2020. One assumes there will be many other Pro Bowls in his future. With Lockett, Metcalf makes up one of the most dynamic duos at receiver any team possesses.
The future is as bright as a mid-summer's day at Lake Washington for Metcalf. There is no one, perhaps, on the Seahawks roster with a brighter future than him. Metcalf is on a pace to be certainly one of the best receivers in Seahawks history. Among the truly great receivers to play in the NFL, many had similar two-year starts to their illustrious careers as Metcalf.
He currently sits at 2,203 yards and 17 touchdowns through two years. Seven-time Pro Bowler Julio Jones started his career at 2,157 yards and 18 scores in his first two seasons. Calvin "Megatron" Johnson racked up 2,087 yards and 16 touchdowns in that same timeframe.
There is no reason to believe that Metcalf cannot reach the heights those two legends reached during their careers, especially if Russell Wilson is the one throwing him the football. Anything less than 1,000-plus yard seasons with multiple Pro Bowls moving forward would be disappointing at this point.
After finishing year two, Metcalf is still under contract for two more seasons at around $1 million per year. It may be early to talk about an extension for Metcalf, especially given the lack of flexibility Seattle has with their current cap situation, but it would be foolish to let Metcalf get away after 2022.
Metcalf is quickly becoming one of the best receivers in football and in about a year, Seattle will face the reality of needing to pay him like one. DeAndre Hopkins is currently the highest paid receiver at $27.25 million on average per year. Julio Jones, Keenan Allen, and Amari Cooper are also receiving at least $20 million per year. If Metcalf can repeat or improve upon his production from 2020 next season, that is the type of money he will command before his rookie contract expires and he will have fully earned it.