It looks like the Seahawks could have two contract holdouts when they convene for their mandatory minicamp in mid-June — and, worst case, even for training camp in July.
Everyone knows Earl Thomas is sitting out OTAs because John Schneider seemingly is not interested in paying him top dollar, but Frank Clark apparently is staging his own financial protest.
“I think he’s showing he wants to get paid, as he should be,” former teammate Cliff Avril said on KJR. “But I’m not even sure that works anymore.”
It would be odd for Clark to hold out at this point, with a couple of months still to get something done before training camp — unless he knew or strongly felt the Seahawks were not going to offer him a fair extension. He’s entering the final year of his rookie deal and he should merit around $11 million a year, based on market value for a guy who ranks 14th in the NFL with 19 sacks the past two years.
Even though they have plenty of cap space in 2019 and beyond, it’s entirely possible the Seahawks are not interested in paying Clark. After all, they never paid Avril or Michael Bennett even $10 million a year (Bennett’s deal in December 2016 was for $29 million over three years).
But Clark is Seattle’s only proven good outside rusher, so it seems likely Schneider would be willing to pay him $10 million or so. The question: How much more than that does Clark want?
Von Miller, the top-paid pass rusher in the NFL, averages $19 million a year. The top 10 make at least $14 million. Clark probably is targeting a number in that range, knowing he is Seattle’s No. 1 pass rusher now.
After trading Bennett and cutting the injured Avril, the Hawks have a dearth of outside rushers. Beyond Clark, they have Dion Jordan, Marcus Smith, Rasheem Green and Barkevious Mingo. Jordan and Smith are on one-year deals, though, and none of those four is a proven NFL pass rusher.
If the Seahawks don’t want to pay Clark, they will have to hope Green and Mingo show rush ability and Jordan or Smith proves worth a new, more affordable deal. Any way you look at it, outside rusher looks like it will be a big need in the 2019 draft.