Frank Clark was very blessed and thankful, but it’s time to negotiate

Frank Clark has apparently had second thoughts about the franchise tag from the Seahawks. It’s been reported that he won’t sign it.

So much for the feel-good warmth and fuzziness the 12s felt just days ago. The Seahawks announced they had given defensive end Frank Clark the franchise tag, and he seemed to be quite happy about it. At first glance, it seems that joy was short-lived. According to Ian Rapoport, Clark has announced he won’t sign the tag or come to training camp until he has a long-term deal.

This all seems pretty crazy. His agent Erik Burkhardt made it clear he was fine with the franchise tag, and that was Clark was as well. This was the worst-kept secret in Seattle for months. Burkhardt said this in the same interview with ESPN in October of last year:

“Frank and I are not scared of the franchise tag. That’s going to come in at about $18 million next year for a D-end on a one-year, fully guaranteed deal. It’s what Ansah and Lawrence have done. They get that top-of-the-market value for one year, and 12 months later will get their long-term deal as well. That’s winning.”

When the Seahawks told Clark they were going to apply the franchise tag, he responded with what can only be considered as happiness and joy. Or maybe I just don’t understand the meaning of the phrase “blessed and thankful”:

Frank Clark has been recruiting

Since that tweet, Frank Clark has recruited what seems to be half of the NFL’s defensive free agents. Okay, maybe just two players, but the recruiting pitches were to safety Landon Collins and linebacker Kwon Alexander. That doesn’t seem like the actions of a player who isn’t happy about his status with the team. So what changed between October, when his agent was happy, and last week when Frank Clark himself was happy?

I don’t think a thing has changed. I think this is strictly a posture to apply a bit more pressure to the Seahawks for the best contract possible. That’s Burkhardt’s job, after all. He’d be doing his client a disservice if he didn’t try to get every dollar he can. All the trade rumors are still silly, at least for now. Why trade him now? The team still has until July 15 to work out a long-term deal. The only difference is that Clark is now saying he won’t show up until he has that deal.

He hasn’t threatened to hold out for the season, by the way. According to Rapoport, it seems Clark would eventually sign, then play out the 2019 schedule with the Seahawks. Then we could play the negotiating game again. Except this time, Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, and Jarran Reed would be waiting for their new contracts, too.

Of course, Frank Clark knows this, and his agent does too. It’s just another turn of the screw for them to apply to the Seattle organization. I wouldn’t worry about another team signing him away, either. If he is signed by another team while under the franchise tag, not traded, this new team would have to send two first-round picks to the Hawks. That is not going to happen. I think Clark is as dedicated to the Seahawks as ever. He’s just making it clear that he deserves to get paid.