Clark working toward his payday; will it come from Hawks?

Frank Clark is getting a lot of love amid a good start to the season, and he’s obviously enjoying it.

But the big question: Will the Seahawks show him some financial affection at some point?

National reporters keep hinting the team plans to pay him, saying Seattle has chosen the 25-year-old pass rusher over 29-year-old All-Pro safety Earl Thomas. (They actually could pay both, but that’s not going to happen.)

Clark’s market appears to be around $14 million or $15 million per year (and climbing?), which is more than the Seahawks have ever paid a defensive lineman. But they also have the cap space to do it now, so perhaps John Schneider actually will consider it — especially because the Hawks don’t have any other proven pass rushers.

With a sack in every game, Clark is off to the best start by a Seattle pass rusher since Bryce Fisher in 2005 (hmm, what else did the Seahawks do in 2005?). That’s a pace for 16 sacks. The team record is 16.5 by Michael Sinclair in 1998, and Jacob Green tallied 16 in 1983.

Folks keep pointing out that Clark stacks up favorably against the league’s top rushers, which could make him want to test free agency and see whether he could get even more than $15 million (he won’t approach Khalil Mack’s $23.5 million though).

In July, Clark said he had talked to Schneider & Co. about a new deal: “The thing that we have talked about is just the expectations of me as far as my play for the season. So, at the end of the day, I know if I do my job on the field, whether it’s here or anywhere else, it’s going to happen. I’ve just got to do my job, and that’s my main focus.’’

The Seahawks already have signed Duane Brown and Tyler Lockett to extensions, so Clark would be next since they have no interest in keeping Thomas and also don’t appear interested right now in re-signing K.J. Wright.

Schneider probably just wants to see how Clark handles being the top pass rusher — on and off the field. Seattle has only about $6 million in salary cap space, too, and Schneider probably wants to wait until late in the season to consider another extension.

The Seahawks have no other proven pass rushers, with Dion Jordan too fragile to invest in long term and rookie Rasheem Green still developing. Green, star tackle Jarran Reed, underachieving Nazair Jones and UDFA Poona Ford are the only defensive linemen signed beyond this season. You could count rookie rusher Jacob Martin, too, but he has a ways to go to become a bigger contributor.

Regardless, the Hawks need help on the outside — even if they are able to retain Clark.

If the Seahawks and Clark can’t agree on a price, the team will be doubly active in the pass-rush market in free agency and the draft. Potential free-agent targets could include Ziggy Ansah, Dante Fowler or Alex Okafor. Fortunately, it is expected to be a great class of pass rushers, so we can expect them to add one — maybe two — there.

Read more stories on Seahawks contracts.


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