DK Metcalf’s rookie contract will be up at the end of the 2022 season. Obviously, the Seahawks will be bringing him back. He has the potential to be a generational talent at the receiver position.
If the Hawks are set on keeping DK as a franchise player, they should be smart and extend him after the 2021 season so that his contract is cheaper. But how much is that contract going to cost? After this year, assuming that DK performs the way I expect him to, Metcalf will want to be the highest-paid receiver in the league, and I don’t blame him.
Let’s take a look and find out how much this contract will cost the Seahawks.
Breaking down DK Metcalf’s second contract and its cost
I’ll give my best guess as to what DK will get paid on his next contract based on the contracts the best receivers in the league have received in recent years. I won’t use this offseason, considering that the salary cap went down this year. Because of this, contracts weren’t as large as they would have been in a typical year.
Here are the salary cap limits in the following years that I will use in my projection:
2019 Salary Cap: $188.2 million
2020 Salary Cap: $198.2 million
Projected 2022 Salary Cap: $208.2 million
Let’s start by looking at the five highest-paid receivers in the NFL by annual value, and determine what year they signed their contracts in so that an adjustment can be made for the future.
Deandre Hopkins: 2 years, $54.5 million ($27.25 million annual value): DHop is the highest-paid receiver in the league, and inked his deal in 2020.
Julio Jones: 3 years, $66 million ($22 million annual value): Julio signed his extension in 2019, though it wouldn’t take effect until 2021. I’ll be using the 2019 adjustment, though, since that’s when the deal was negotiated.
Amari Cooper: 5 years, $100 million ($20 million annual value): Cooper signed his extension in 2020.
Keenan Allen: 4 years, $80 million ($20 million annual value): Allen’s deal was signed in 2020, similarly to Cooper’s.
Michael Thomas: 5 years, $96 million ($19.2 million annual value): Michael Thomas signed his contract extension in 2019.
Okay. Now that we know about these contracts, we can multiply them to see what they would be worth in 2022 when I believe DK should sign his extension.
Deandre Hopkins: $28.6 million annual value
Julio Jones: $24.3 million annual value
Amari Cooper: $21 million annual value
Keenan Allen: $21 million annual value
Michael Thomas: $21.2 million annual value
DK should be paid as a top-3 receiver when he signs his next deal, and if we average out the top 3 contracts above, we get DK’s annual value to be…$24.7 million. From what we’ve seen so far, he’s definitely worth this much. The Seahawks should jump on the opportunity to extend Metcalf next offseason before he demands an even higher total.
How long should Metcalf’s contract last?
In my opinion, it should be a 5-year contract, backloaded so it’s cheaper while Wilson is still a quarterback capable of winning a Super Bowl. This contract will end right around Metcalf’s age 30 season, a typical turning point in receiver careers. When all is said and done, this contract would look like this:
5 years, $123.5 million ($24.7 million annual value), backloaded to keep cap hits low in early years.
If the Seahawks can get a deal like this done for DK, I would be very pleased. The salary cap should continue to grow each season, so backloading the deal will make it more bearable for the organization. Keeping DK on is an easy way to guarantee a higher level of offensive success for the Hawks. Seattle should jump on the opportunity to extend DK Metcalf early on in his career, so they can get a franchise-changing player at a cost that isn’t too exorbitant.