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Will Frank Clark be Extended This Offseason?

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    This current Seahawks front office has taken some risks In their time. From trading a 1st, 3rd and 7th round draft pick for a wide receiver with known off field issues to making their first overall selection in the 2017 NFL draft a guy that had both off field issues as well as looming 'dedication to the game' question marks all over his face. Neither of those really worked out which may be a bit unfair when it comes to Malik McDowell, however I see him as very much an added bonus if he does end up playing, and far from an expectation. Anyone that is expecting him to play will more than likely end up pretty disappointed.

    One player who the team took a chance on and ended up paying major dividends is #55 Frank Clark.

    Frank had a somewhat troubled collegiate career at Michigan, he started off incredibly strong and was poised to cement himself into the first round of the 2015 NFL draft, however about 6 months prior to the upcoming draft, Clark was arrested for domestic violence and dismissed from the team.

    The Seahawks are known to go above and beyond in their research when it comes to this type of character. While many teams would have simply removed his name from their draft board altogether, the Seahawks tend to go really deep into understanding what really happened, they supposedly invested well over 100 hours into speaking with anyone and everyone that had ever crossed Frank's path in the years leading up to the alleged attack. Why would they invest so much time into such a character, though? It's simple, if what has been claimed turns out to be true, you can get superb value from said player in terms of actual draft position. While many teams didn't want to invest the time and really understand what went on, the Seahawks did and ultimately, must have felt totally comfortable in their choice as well as his innocence in the alleged incident in November 2014. You just have to look at the Trevone Boykin incident to see how this team handles players that have been involved in domestic abuse. Although Boykin hasn't gone under trial as yet so is, by all means, innocent, the team clearly see the writing on the wall as well as a pattern in his behaviour (this is far from his first strike with the team) and simply let him go.

    Frank lasted until right at the end of the second round of the draft and was selected with the 63rd overall pick. While it's not unheard of for defensive lineman to have strong careers outside of the first round, it's most definitely not the norm. There were a grand total of nine defensive ends drafted before Frank Clark in the late second. Nine! The vast majority haven't had nearly the career that Frank has to date, either. That reinforces the team's decision to look into the allenged incident further and are clearly reeping the rewards now given how Frank has come along.

    He had a pretty mellow rookie season in 2015, racking up 16 total tackles and 3 sacks. Not exactly setting the NFL alright but far from bust numbers. When you consider he was playing in a relief role for the likes of Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, his snap to sack rate was actually pretty good.

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    It was his sophomore year though that he made a real name for himself, managing a career high double digit sacks with 10 and 47 combined tackles. He was being used more and more in terms of playing time and was making those all-important snaps count. At this point, it was apparent that Seattle had struck gold with Clark, given where he was drafted and they were starting to benefit in a huge way.

    2017 was much of the same from his 2016 season, managing 32 tackles and 9 sacks. He led the team in sacks (with Michael Bennett coming second just behind him with 8.5). Based on these numbers, an extension has to coming soon for Frank Clark, right? I'd say so.

    With the departure of Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril's future with the team in serious doubt, Clark is likely to lead the team in sacks again in 2018 as an all but guaranteed starter alongside Dion Jordan. Frank also offers versatility much in the same way that Bennett did, although he's best used off the edge, he can rush from the inside if the personnel and formation allows it.

    He hasn't been without his troubles with Seattle, though. You may remember his altercation with Jarran Reed on the side lines in 2016 with the two getting in each other's face and having to be separated by multiple teammates. Although that was quickly sold down as emotion on the field. Frank and Jarran are close, really close, so it seems it was simply a case of game day emotions clouding their judgement. You can't realty hold it against either of them too much, it happens, and this is the NFL after all. He also managed to get himself thrown out of practice in the August before the start of the 2017 season for punching teammate Germain Ifedi in the face. He nearly knocked him unconscious and did draw blood which is not OK. Historically Pete Carroll has brused these incidents off as the guys 'playing close to the edge' which is exactly what he wants and expects out of them but even he had a few choice words to say about the incident to the media in the coming days. He explained that he has spoken with Clark and expressed his displeasure and has been assured it won't happen again. And so far, it hasn't.

    Pete Carroll himself said in a recent interview how Frank has developed into one of the leaders on the team, he is highly respected, plays with a nasty edge and ultimately backs it up on the field on game days.

    My only knock on him, which I think is fair, is he can go two, even three games with little production. In 2017 he started off strong off the bat managing 1.5 sacks in the first two games to pair with three tackles, then he dropped off somewhat and only managed one between weeks 3 and 6. He also had a dry patch from weeks 9 to 12 and only managed another half a sack in those 4 games. Ultimately, though, managing 9 on the season is certainly not to be whiffed at and he is still very likely going to improve on that in 2018 and beyond.

    As he wasn't a first round pick, there is no 5th year option for the team so they will either choose to extend him this summer before the season starts, take a gamble and extend him mid-season or be really risky and let him test free agency. Given his consistency to date, I'd be happy with taking a slight gamble and extending him this summer as it will likely prove the cheapest option. Leaving it till mid-season or even once free agency begins could really drive his market and price up considerably. We all know how valued legitmate pass rushers are in this league with $20M likely being the norm for the premier guys by the time the new season starts.

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    But what would it take to get Frank locked up long term? Assuming they do the extension this summer, my best guess is $13-14M average per year.

    Let's assume for the sake of argument that it's $13.5M, how would the contract look?

    5 years $67.5M with a $15M signing bonus is my best guess. This could be structured as follows -

    2018 -
    Base salary of $5M
    Signing bonus (prorated) of $3,242,586 (includes his rookie signing bonus which the team can't get out of)
    2018 cap hit of $8,243,586

    2019 -
    Base salary of $8M
    Signing bonus (prorated) of $3,000,000
    2019 cap hit of $11M

    2020 -
    Base salary of $11.5M
    Signing bonus (prorated) of $3,000,000
    2020 cap hit of $14,500,000

    2021 -
    Base salary of $12.5M
    Signing bonus (prorated) of $3,000,000
    2021 cap hit of $15,500,000

    2022 -
    Base salary of $15.5M
    Signing bonus (prorated) of $3,000,000
    2022 cap hit of $18,500,000

    The 2022 cap hit may scare you at this point, but I guarantee you it will look like a bargain by the time the actual year rolls around.


    When you consider his 2018 cap hit currently sits at $1,187,527 that's a net gain on the cap of only $7,056,059 for 2018, or conveniently, pretty much exactly what the team would save by cutting Cliff Avril.
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    Richard Sherman wrote:People look forward to writing us off. Our demise was greatly overstated.
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  • Nice post. I think Frank is worth a second contract in this range for sure. It will be a risk to wait until later if he has the break out season he should taking over Avrils reps. I hope they get it done sooner rather than later
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    Sterlinghawk
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  • Good post. Only quibble, he led the team in sacks not the league.
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    EverydayImRusselin
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  • Nice post, and assuming he stays at this level production I think the salary is about right.

    My quibble would be that the GTD money you're projecting strikes me as pretty low.

    (well, that, and two overt factual inaccuracies in the first two sentences of your "The Seahawks are known" paragraph, but AFAIK I'm as unallowed to talk about 'em in this forum as you are. :2thumbs: )
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    Popeyejones
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  • I'm torn on re-signing Clark. He does everything well: attacks the run, keeps containment, uses power and athleticism to convert pressures into sacks, good motor, great tackler, enjoys hitting people. I guess I'm a bit torn because I don't view Clark as a consistent pass rushing threat. His pressure rate is just average, and he is too often quieted by solid technicians. I would like to see him use hand fighting as a means to get upfield more quickly.

    But what choice do we have? Dion Jordan and Marcus Smith are still largely unknowns, and both will be unrestricted free agents after this year. Malik McDowell is a total question mark.
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    hawknation2018
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  • You reap dividends for your investment on players that have upside still on second contracts and have proven themselves, of course you sign him. It's the third contract that creates issues when the wear and tear starts taking it's toll with nics and minor injuries that start to limit them in some way. There are freaks that seem to go on forever John Randal and Julius Pepper types, but are rare.
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  • EverydayImRusselin wrote:Good post. Only quibble, he led the team in sacks not the league.


    Well spotted. Edited, thanks! :2thumbs:
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    Richard Sherman wrote:People look forward to writing us off. Our demise was greatly overstated.
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  • Popeyejones wrote:Nice post, and assuming he stays at this level production I think the salary is about right.

    My quibble would be that the GTD money you're projecting strikes me as pretty low.

    (well, that, and two overt factual inaccuracies in the first two sentences of your "The Seahawks are known" paragraph, but AFAIK I'm as unallowed to talk about 'em in this forum as you are. :2thumbs: )


    RE the guarantees, of course he’d also have some portion of his P5 base guaranteed, however didn’t feel it would really ‘add anyhing’ Trying to work out what portion would be best to make fully guaranteed. Goes without saying though they there would be more guaranteed in the contract than $15M though :)
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    Richard Sherman wrote:People look forward to writing us off. Our demise was greatly overstated.
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  • I'm not re-signing him yet. Big red flag that he got way more snaps and his production actually decreased. If he has a good year, you're gonna pay him regardless. Signing him early isn't going to save you money. Signing him now doesn't save enough to negate the potential risk.
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    Tical21
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  • Tical21 wrote:I'm not re-signing him yet. Big red flag that he got way more snaps and his production actually decreased. If he has a good year, you're gonna pay him regardless. Signing him early isn't going to save you money. Signing him now doesn't save enough to negate the potential risk.


    Not sure I agree with that, if he breaks out and manages 14-16 sacks next season that’s going to be more costly.
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    Richard Sherman wrote:People look forward to writing us off. Our demise was greatly overstated.
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  • I hope we do extend him. He's a good talent for our team and we need all the talent we can hold onto at this point in this new league year.
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    nrayorr
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  • Excellent post
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    London12
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  • Thanks chaps.
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    Richard Sherman wrote:People look forward to writing us off. Our demise was greatly overstated.
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  • Great stuff OP. I'm all for re-signing Frank.

    To the people who are against re-signing him until after this season, I guess I'm not sure who you think would be worth re-signing? What I'm saying is that we have to pay our great players a lot of money to keep them. In the state the team is now, Frank is absolutely one of those guys. More consistency as a pass rusher would be great, but that will come with time. Pass rushers take a while to develop. Eagles fans were calling Brandon Graham a bust and wishing they took ETIII instead, but he developed into a beast the past few years and made arguably the game-winning play in the Superbowl. I'm not sure how much their pressure rates differ, but even Von Miller only had one more sack than Frank this year. Clowney and Graham had 0.5 more. I think it comes down to supporting cast and how good the defense is overall IMO. Our defense fell off a cliff, as did the Texans' and Broncos', so each team's best pass rushers suffered.

    The vibe I'm getting is that some here only want to pay top money to All-Pro type players. The fact is, the days of us having the best CB, best FS, best SS, top tier DL guys, best MLB, top tier WLB, etc. are over. We have Bobby, KJ, and Earl (for now), but the new crop of players coming up for second contracts aren't on that level, or at least haven't shown it yet. We still have to pay them. Frank still has tons of upside and could become a top tier guy, so it's worth it IMO. I think Wagner is a good comparison. He was always good, but since earning his second contract he's taken his game to another level.
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  • Frank has shown he can play inside and outside. That is useful.

    I need to see what happens when we have a season without Bennett, where Clark is ostensibly our best DL player and gets the bulk of the attention.

    So far, he seems like a player that we expect to play at an elite level, but it is more potential than production. He isn't consistent and his production seems hot & cold. My concern is that may have more to do with the other team focusing on a guy like Bennett that frees up a Clark.

    I don't see or understand the point in signing in early if we literally have no idea if the production was him or the other guys keeping the opposing team occupied leaving Clark free to make plays. Because those other guys are no longer here. So we need to see Clark can do this when he is the guy they are trying to stop.
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  • Exceptional write up by the original poster. Thanks for taking the time and sharing thoughts.

    For me, the question of extending Clark has much of the same feel and a certain familiarity with that of the Bruce Irving question a couple years back. There remains the question of if either will become a complete, well rounded, persistent and dominate player. Followed by the question of whether either will mature into a requisite leadership role as confirmed by way of a contract extension. Both have a lot of talent. But I'm not sure either will mature into the key leaders that are so vital for a dominate program.

    On reflection, I thought declining to extend Irving was the right decision. It remains to be seen how they chose to handle the Frank Clark question. With all the noise over unhappy contracts and actual holdouts having detrimental impacts on teams, I feel less urgency to extend contracts early.
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  • I'd keep him but closer to $9M APY.

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  • I've ran into Frank Clark a few times and talked to him.

    He's a real nice guy.

    I ran into Bobby Wagner a few times. Wagner is a jerk, just my opinion.

    I really like Frank. If Seattle doesn't resign and extend Clark, they will regret it.

    This year, this defensive line is Clark's defensive line. Offensive lineman will key on Clark a lot this year.

    Clark is the future! And will have multiple pro bowls in his future. Seattle would be fools to let him go.
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  • Wenhawk wrote:I'd keep him but closer to $9M APY.

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    I don't think that's feasible. If he gets 10 sacks this year he could get 15M+ a year in FA.

    If we don't pay Frank now and have to shell out a bunch more next year or lose him, who are we paying? As of now, Thomas is off the books next year, as are KJ, Duane Brown, and many others. The only major, proven players under contract in 2019 are Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, and Bobby Wagner. Notable rookies coming off their first contracts after 2018 are Tyler Lockett and Frank Clark. I'm curious whom the forum thinks we should spend our money on? Frank Clark is the top priority of our home-grown guys IMO. Seems like a fair few here are hesitant to re-sign him, Duane Brown, and barely anyone thinks we should extend Lockett now. Looking forward, the only member of the 2016 draft class that appears to be worth re-signing after 2018 is Jarran Reed (I'm sure this is a controversial statement). Prosise...??? Ifedi LOL maybe? A solid group don't want us to extend Wilson either so I wonder who's going to fill out the roster? Shoot, I wouldn't be surprised if people are against re-signing (a still high-performing) Bobby Wagner to the "dreaded" third contract.
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