Pete Carroll on a new DK Metcalf Seahawks deal: ‘We don’t plan on him going anywhere’
DK Metcalf is getting healthier.
Pete Carroll is assuring the Seahawks will soon be making their star wide receiver happier.
Happier, that is, than he already is.
Metcalf is out of the walking boot he’d been wearing in the weeks after his offseason surgery on his foot to repair old issues from a previous surgery.
“He has started his running,” Carroll said Saturday at the end of the NFL draft.
The coach said his huge 2020 Pro Bowl selection is “in a total rehab mode right now.” Seattle enters the second, on-field stage of the team’s offseason conditioning program on Monday.
Metcalf set the Seahawks record with 1,303 yards receiving in 2020. He’s had seven, 10 and 12 touchdown catches in his first three NFL seasons for Seattle.
He is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He said at the end of last season “of course” he wanted a new deal from the Seahawks this offseason.
“I’m not trying to leave,” the 24-year-old Metcalf said in early January.
The Seahawks say they don’t intend to let him.
The team plus the league’s wide-receiver market have changed dramatically since the end of last season. Metcalf’s price has gone up.
So Carroll and general manager John Schneider were asked Saturday if they are “comfortable” waiting into the summer before finalizing a new contract extension for Metcalf.
“Can we get through the draft?” Schneider said, smiling.
“We are really communicating great,” Carroll said. “And DK’s been on, he’s been on a great wavelength to move forward, and hopefully this will all work out.
“We don’t plan on him going anywhere. We want him to be with us.”
Since Metcalf said “I’m not trying to leave” in January, Seattle has traded Russell Wilson, its franchise quarterback, to Denver. The team decided to release Bobby Wagner, the All-Pro linebacker, on the same day last month.
The Jacksonville Jaguars gave free-agent wide receiver Christian Kirk, far from an All-Pro or even Pro Bowl player, an out-of-left-field deal for $72 million over four years with $37 million guaranteed. Kirk is one year older than Metcalf. He has never had 1,000 yards receiving or six touchdowns in any of his four NFL seasons.
Kirk’s unexpected deal accelerated the wide-receiver market. The Miami Dolphins traded for Tyreek Hill last month and gave the former Kansas City Chiefs three-time All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowl pass catcher the richest wide-receiver contract in NFL history: $120 million over four years.
This weekend, the Tennessee Titans traded A.J. Brown to Philadelphia. The Eagles then gave Metcalf’s good friend and former teammate at the University of Mississippi a four-year, $100 million contract.
With the relatively pedestrian Kirk commanding $18 million per year and the top-of-the-market Hill now getting $30 million per season, Metcalf’s worth is likely around Brown’s $25 million per year.
In theory, that’s a price Seattle will be able to pay. The league salary cap is going from $182 million last year to $208 million this year to perhaps above $225 million in 2023. Next year, the NFL’s new media-right deals kick in.
That increased buying power plus not having Wilson’s contract or needing to renew it anymore means what seems expensive to pay Metcalf now won’t be nearly so pricey relatively next year.
The top five wide receivers in average annual salary are Hill, new Las Vegas Raider Davante Adams ($28 million per year), Arizona’s DeAndre Hopkins ($27.25 million per), Brown and Buffalo’s Stefon Diggs (an average of $24 million).
Diggs is four years older than Metcalf and coming off seasons with a league-leading 127 then 103 catches. Diggs got $70 million guaranteed this month on a $96 million, four-year extension with the Bills.
Other top wide receivers are seeking to take advantage of this newly set market at their position. Deebo Samuel has reportedly asked the San Francisco 49ers to trade him. Brown in Tennessee and Terry McLaurin in Washington were skipping the start of their team’s offseason workouts this month.
Metcalf? He showed up last week smiling at team cameras while reporting for the start of the first phase of the Seahawks’ offseason program at their facility.
What's in @dkm14's cup? Wrong answers only pic.twitter.com/tc9MJoOTE4
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) April 19, 2022
“It was a great statement for our guys,” Carroll said. “He is back in the rehab mode, but he wanted to show that this is his place and he has a responsibility to it, as we do, also.
“I thought it was a great start to the offseason.”