Seattle coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider both stated last week at the NFL Scouting Combine that unrestricted free agent defensive end Frank Clark would be with the team in 2019. That meant that he would either sign a long-term deal or that the Seahawks would prevent him from leaving by placing the franchise tag on the former 2015 second-round pick.
The latter turned out to be the plan. At least for the time being.
By placing the franchise tag on Clark before Tuesday's deadline, Seattle now has exclusive negotiating rights with their best pass rusher who had 13 sacks last season and has 35 for his four-year career. If the two don't reach a deal on a long-term contract before July 15, Clark must play next season at a salary of $17.2 million and then become a free agent again next offseason.
That's a lot of coin for Seattle to pay for one season and there's little doubt that Clark would rather have signed a long-term deal worth more guaranteed money. So, expect the Seahawks to work diligently to lock down Clark, 25, on a multi-year deal as soon as possible.
"It is ultimately (the goal), yeah," Carroll told reporters at the combine, according to Seahawks.com. "Frankie just turned 25, he's still a very young football player. Made a huge step this year in terms of leadership, growth and maturity. It was so obvious. I was really proud of seeing that develop for Frank. He played great too. Frank, he's a very valuable football player and that's the process we're in the middle of and all that, I can't tell you guys how that's going to turn out, but it's going to be positive for the Seahawks and for Frank."