Whether we choose to ignore the possibility or embrace it head-on, the fact remains the Seahawks defensive end, Frank Clark could very easily be playing for a different team in 2020.
Because of this reality, many have speculated that perhaps Frank Clark might be available in trade. On the surface, the deal doesn’t make much sense for the Seahawks. They do, after all, fancy themselves as Super Bowl Contenders and trading your second best player on defense doesn’t make a lot of sense… unless you pay attention to the Patriots.
But for the Seahawks in particular, Head Coach Pete Carroll has three years left on his contract and it is assumed that he will retire at the end of said contract. If this is indeed Carroll’s final hurrah and the Seahawks have a Super Bowl quality team, would he be willing to take a step back? Keep in mind that Carroll does have final say over the 53 man roster.
From a value standpoint, this isn’t the best time to move Clark. This year’s draft class is particularly deep in the edge rusher department. However, this hasn’t stopped teams from dolling out huge sums of money to Trey Flowers and Dee Ford.
Based on the contracts of other top DEs who have worked out new deals, Clark’s floor for salary demands is probably at or around a 5-year, $90 million deal, heavily guaranteed. After this season, Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, and Jarran Reed are scheduled to be free agents, making things tight around the salary cap if Clark gets his $18 million a year deal.
It is hard to imagine the Seahawks paying Wilson, Wagner, Clark, Lockett, Baldwin, and Reed next year, so somebody will have to go. And the player with the most value on the market now who you may be able to survive without is Frank Clark.
But what does a Frank Clark deal look like? Dee Ford, a pass rusher who was franchised like Clark, was just shipped to the San Francisco 49ers for a 2020 second round pick. Does that sound underwhelm for Clark? It probably should. But Clark is also a better player than Ford, with a longer track record of NFL success.
Most fans seem to be drawing their line of demarcation at a first and a third-round pick to even consider it. That seems a bit optimistic, but overall, not an outrageous ask. However, this proposal is similar but with a bit more creativity involved. Here is the proposal:
So the proposal is simple. The second pick of the second round, a late third round pick, and quarterback Jacoby Brissett. We will get to the QB in a moment, but let’s talk about the draft picks real quick.
Pick 34, which originally belonged to the Jets, is a defacto first round pick. It would give the Seahawks picks 21 and 34, opening up the possibility for the team to move up, move back, or stand pat at one spot without sacrificing major talent.
The additional pick in the 3rd round is always nice and would give the Seahawks a total of 6 picks: picks 21, 34, 84, 89, 124, and 159. From the Colts side, they would still own their second pick, keep their first round pick, and still have 7 picks, plus a premier end with an abundance of cap space to continue to add.
The most interesting name in the trade is probably Jacoby Brissett, Andrew Luck‘s backup in Indy. The Seahawks were reportedly interested in acquiring Brissett last season, before settling on Brett Hundley.
The Colts have been adamant that they will not give Brissett away and have asked teams for a second round pick in exchange. But things change and now that Andrew Luck has a full season under his belt off his shoulder injury, perhaps the price tag has dropped.
Brissett did play in all 16 games in 2017 and performed adequately. But why would the Seahawks be interested in Brissett? First and foremost, Paxton Lynch is the only QB on the roster behind Wilson. Brissett is a good backup.
Second, acquiring a legitimate NFL QB does remove some (a microscopic amount) of leverage from Russell Wilson’s camp in the next negotiation which will probably start after the draft.
Third, Brissett will have value in this league. Whether it is as a starter or high-level backup, teams will be interested in Brissett, both in the trade market and in free agency next season. Could he net the Seahawks a third-round pick in a separate trade? Or could the free agent market pay him $12-$18 million in 2020, netting Seattle a 3rd round compensatory pick? Yes.
Brissett is basically just another draft pick in this deal without the Colts actually giving away another mid-round pick. If worse comes to worst on the Wilson front, you have a year to see how you like Brissett in the locker room and on the boards, and perhaps he is the guy going forward.
Nobody wants to think about the Seahawks without Russell Wilson, but it is the job of both John Schneider and Pete Carroll to do just that.
The move also clears $17 million of cap space now, potentially clearing the decks for the much needed Wagner and Wilson extensions.
Ultimately, I still suspect that the franchise finds a way to get deals done with both Frank Clark and Russell Wilson. But at the very least, they do have some options available to them. The proposal set before you is a rough draft with no inside information. Is it perfect? No. But could it work? Absolutely.