Even though the draft is loaded with pass rushers, teams are still apparently very interested in established veteran rushers — even the guys who received franchise tags.
At the Combine, Pete Carroll said, “Frankie will be with us.” But what if the Seahawks get an offer they can’t refuse?
The franchise tag requires two first-round picks as payment for signing a player to a tender. Interested teams typically bargain for a price that is a bit less than that — usually a first-rounder and something else.
If the Seahawks are going to entertain trading Clark, they are going to have to find another pass rusher to replace him — plus the second pass rusher they already need. That in itself will make it tough to consider dealing Clark. But, what would make the Seahawks consider dealing their franchise pass rusher?
From the Bills, Jerry Hughes and the 40th pick overall might work (the Bills aren’t going to deal the ninth overall pick). Hughes, 30, is a pretty good pass rusher himself (seven sacks in 2018). He is in the final year of his contract, and Buffalo might want to get younger and better at that spot. Seattle could take him for a year at $7.5 million, plus the second-round pick and maybe a Day 2 pick in 2020 since Hughes probably would be a one-year rental. That also would give back almost $10 million in cap space for Seattle to pursue another impact veteran defensive lineman.
The Colts could offer up Jabaal Sheard as they upgrade their pass rush with Clark. Sheard, 29, has had 5.5 sacks each of the past two years, but the Colts were rumored to be considering cutting him and his $8 million salary. They could do a deal similar to Buffalo: Send the unwanted pass rusher, a second-round pick (34 or 59 overall) and a 2020 Day 2 pick to Seattle.
The 49ers and Packers both apparently are talking to the Chiefs about Ford, so are they also potentially interested in Clark? The Packers probably wouldn’t be; they need a rush linebacker for their 3-4.
But 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh runs Seattle’s defensive scheme (he was an assistant in 2011-13) and has several former Seahawks (Richard Sherman, Cassius Marsh, Malcolm Smith). In-division trades don’t happen a lot, but Schneider is not against them — he made a draft trade with the Niners in 2017. Maybe Seattle could get the Niners to offer their second-rounder (36 overall) and a 2020 second (and maybe throw in NT Earl Mitchell and his $3.7 million).
If the Hawks don’t think they can get a long-term deal with Clark, they definitely should consider a deal like those proffered above. A high second-rounder, a Day 2 pick in 2020 and a veteran defensive lineman would be fair return for a top-10 rusher.
If the Hawks are willing to pay Clark and think they will get him signed by July 15, it probably would take a lot more for them to consider a deal.