Which would you rather the Seahawks have for $20 million: Frank Clark OR two other pass rushers and two draft picks?
That really could be the choice the Seahawks face right now, assuming Clark won’t settle for less than $20 million a year.
We previously pointed out the Seahawks have options that do not include Clark, and we also offered up realistic trade considerations. Add those together and the Hawks can basically pay two pass rushers for the price of a $20 million Clark while getting a couple of picks in a trade (a No. 2 in 2019 and a Day 2 pick in 2020).
There aren’t many good UFA pass rushers, and the few good ones (Trey Flowers, Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Ezekiel Ansah) will be overpaid. But perhaps the Hawks could replace Clark with a veteran acquired in trade, such as Jerry Hughes or Jabaal Sheard, and a cap cut, such as Justin Houston (already free), Robert Quinn or Everson Griffen. Or they could add a cheaper UFA. Or maybe they could add all three.
We ran a free agency projection in which the Hawks added two pass rushers for a total of about $20 million; kept D.J. Fluker, J.R. Sweezy and George Fant for $8 million; added a veteran defensive tackle for $3 million; extended Russell Wilson for $100 million guaranteed (adding just $2.5 million to the 2019 cap); and also extended Bobby Wagner ($10 million APY) and Jarran Reed ($9 million).
And they still had $10 million left for a linebacker and safety — $12.5 million if they also wanted to upgrade at receiver over Jaron Brown.
Here are some potential combinations of the 4-for-1 Clark swap:
Trade with Colts and acquire Quinn. New pass rushers: Sheard and Quinn. Draft picks: No. 2 in 2019 and conditional No. 3 in 2020 (if Seahawks don’t keep Sheard).
Trade with Bills and acquire Griffen. New pass rushers: Hughes and Griffen. Draft picks: No. 2 in 2019 and conditional No. 3 in 2020 (if Seahawks don’t keep Hughes).
If Tampa Bay does not cut DT Gerald McCoy, trade Clark for McCoy and No. 2 pick and acquire Quinn and cheaper UFA (e.g., Brandon Copeland). New pass rushers: Quinn, McCoy, Copeland. Draft pick: No. 2.
Trade Clark to Atlanta for Vic Beasley, No. 2 in 2019, conditional No. 3 in 2020 and acquire Quinn. New pass rushers: Quinn and Beasley. Draft picks: No. 2 in 2019 and No. 3 in 2020 (if Hawks don’t keep Beasley).
If Miami does not cut Quinn, trade Clark to Miami for Quinn, a No. 2 and conditional No. 3 and acquire Griffen. New pass rushers: Quinn and Griffen. Draft picks: No. 2 in 2019 and No. 3 in 2020 (if Hawks don’t keep Quinn).