Frank Clark

Seahawks DE Frank Clark Would Accept Franchise Tag

Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark is scheduled to become a free agent next spring, but the star edge defender wouldn’t have a problem accepting the franchise tag in lieu of a long-term deal, as his agent Erik Burkhardt explained to Brady Henderson of ESPN.com.

“Frank and I are not scared of the franchise tag,” Burkhardt said. “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 [Lions defensive end Ezekiel] Ansah and [Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus] 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.”

Seattle has already indicated that it will not use the franchise tag on veteran safety Earl Thomas, and given that the club doesn’t have any other obvious candidates for the tender, Clark could get tagged on a one-year deal worth more than $17.5MM. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll says negotiations with Clark are “ongoing,” tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, but Clark also has a loss-of-value insurance policy in the event that his contract prospects are diminished by injury.

“I’m not saying a deal won’t get done,” Burkhardt said in explaining why he won’t rush Clark into a pact. “I’m just saying Frank and I don’t feel any panic or urgency to do an early deal just for the sake of doing an early deal. Athletes today prepare their whole lives to potentially get one big contract, and Frank has put himself in position to do that.”

Clark, 25, was selected in the second round of the 2015 draft and began contributing immediately, posting three sacks during his rookie campaign. Since that time, he’s played on roughly two-thirds of Seattle’s snaps in each season, and recorded 24.5 sacks in 37 games. This year arguably marks Clark’s best campaign to date, and Pro Football Focus grades him as the NFL’s No. 20 edge defender among 101 qualifiers.

If Clark does hit free agency, he’ll join an impressive list of available pass rushers that could include Lawrence, Ansah, Trey Flowers, Jadeveon Clowney, and Dee Ford, among others.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Foles, Eagles, Bucs, Clark

Last offseason, Nick Foles considered several opportunities before ultimately joining the Eagles. This included a chance to sign with the Buccaneers, where head coach Dirk Koetter was heavily pursuing him. During an appearance on SiriusXM Radio, the quarterback discussed his decision to join Philly.

“Initially we were trying to stay (in Kansas City),” said Foles (via Ed Kracz of TheEaglesWire.com). “We loved Kansas City. I never thought I’d handle being a backup because I always like being on the field, but my heart had changed. Those were my favorite years of football being in Kansas City. We loved being there, loved the barbecue, loved my teammates. We tried to work it out but couldn’t.

“We were trying to figure out what was best for our family. My wife at the time was really pregnant. That comes into account. Do you want to move somewhere where you know no one or go to a city you were traded from but know so many people and wonderful people? That was a tough decision for me.”

Well, we all know how that ended up. Foles joined the Eagles and was forced into the starting lineup following a season-ending injury to Carson Wentz. The 29-year-old ended up starting all three of the Eagles’ playoff games en route to a championship and a Super Bowl MVP.

Let’s take a look at some other notes from around the NFL…

  • Meanwhile, during an appearance on FS1, Foles discussed his backup role and his revised contract with the Eagles. “I would love the opportunity to lead a team,” Foles said (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). “Now, let me also say this, I’m not just going to go to a team and say, ‘Hey, I want to lead this team,’ and not see where they are. It’s about an environment. . . . So if that does come to be, I want to find the right [place], be with the right team, a team like the Philadelphia Eagles organization…They had me under contract this year. Everyone wanted to know where I was going to be. I’m grateful to be a part of it. They restructured my deal. They wanted me there. I wanted to be there this year. We’ll see what happens after the season, but I’m excited about this 2018 Eagles season. I get to wear that jersey at least one more year, and I’m super excited about wearing it one more year.” Back in April, Foles and the Eagles agreed to a reworked deal that included a mutual option for 2019.
  • Former NFL agent Joel Corry says Danielle Hunter‘s new deal shouldn’t define the market for Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark (Twitter link). The 2015 second-round pick had spent his entire three-year career in Seattle, and he finished the 2017 campaign with 32 tackles, nine sacks, and two forced fumbles in 16 games (12 starts). The 25-year-old will earn $943K in 2018 before hitting free agency next summer. The anticipated franchise tag for his position is expected to be around $17.5MM, according to Corry.
  • Earlier today, Hunter signed a five-year, $72MM extension with the Vikings. We’ve listed reactions to the new deal, we’ve heard from general manager Rick Spielman, and we’ve explored why linebacker Anthony Barr could be next in line for an extension.

No Contract Talks Between Seahawks, Frank Clark

While Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark continues to skip OTAs, it doesn’t look like he’ll be getting the contract extension he’s hoping for anytime soon. The Seahawks “have not had any substantive discussions with Clark and his representatives yet and it’s possible they are willing to play this one out a little bit” according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.

Clark has stayed away from the voluntary portions of the team’s offseason program while he angles for a new deal. He’s currently heading into the final year of his rookie contract and is slated to make just over $900K. After being taken with the 63rd overall pick in 2015, Clark has put up solid numbers each of the past two seasons. He had 10 sacks and two forced fumbles in 2016 and followed it up with nine sacks and two forced fumbles in 2017.

While Clark’s production has been very good, Condotta points out that a lot of it might have been due to Clark lining up alongside fellow edge rushers Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril who would take a lot of the offensive line’s attention away. With Bennett and Avril both no longer with the team, Condotta says “The Seahawks might want to see how he handles being the main man on a re-tooled defensive line before committing” to him longterm.

Despite Clark making it clear he wants a new contract and Condotta’s reporting that the Seahawks haven’t even reached out to his representatives, Condotta says “the expectation is Clark will show up for mandatory mini-camp.” After a tumultuous offseason in which veterans like Richard Sherman, Bennett, and Avril were all let go in one form or another, the Seahawks are suddenly faced with a lack of experience on defense. They’ll be counting heavily on Clark to get to the quarterback in 2018, and despite the lack of talks it won’t be at all surprising if the Seahawks decide to lock him up before the season starts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Rumors: Clemons, 49ers, Bears, Lawson

Chris Clemons‘ one-year deal worth $1.5MM indicates he’ll have to compete for a spot on the Seahawks‘ roster despite his ties with the organization, Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com reports.

Only Clemons’ $150K signing bonus is guaranteed, with the returning defensive end’s status possibly tied to what the team does in the draft later this month. Kapedia identifies the 34-year-old Clemons as a candidate to back up Cliff Avril at the hybrid LEO defensive end spot, with Frank Clark expected to step into Bruce Irvin‘s right-side role.

Clemons did not fare as well with the Jaguars as he did under Gus Bradley and Dan Quinn in Seattle, registering just three sacks in seven starts in 2015. However, the well-traveled veteran had shown consistency prior to last year. Playing in 16 regular-season games in eight of the past nine seasons, Clemons collected eight sacks in 2014 after posting double-digit numbers in that category from 2011-13 in Seattle.

The one-year pact includes $12,500K in active-roster bonuses, along with a $150K workout bonus, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (on Twitter).

Here’s some more from the NFC on Sunday night.

  • San Francisco has been labeled as one of the quarterback landing spots at No. 7, but the 49ers will look to take the best player available, regardless of Colin Kaepernick‘s status, Jordan Raanan of NJ.com hears. Raanan goes as far as to remove the 49ers from the first-round quarterback derby. The 49ers, though, have already met with Carson Wentz and Jared Goff, and observed Paxton Lynch‘s pro day. The team has also inquired about the No. 1 overall pick, inducing obvious queries about their interest in this year’s quarterback crop.
  • Kyle Long will factor into the Bears‘ tackle competition despite having been better at guard, John Mullin of CSNChicago.com reports. He could wind up outside again after moving from guard to right tackle in 2015, and that positional versatility will serve him well upon trying to reach a long-term deal with the Bears, Mullin writes. Meanwhile, Manny Ramirez and Ted Larsen are the favorites going into the draft to open up at the guard spots, with their deals likely contingent on receiving strong opportunities to claim starting jobs, Mullin offers. Of course, both players have extensive experience at center, expanding the likelihood of both winding up in Chicago’s starting five.
  • Clemson’s Shaq Lawson is visiting the Bears, the prospect posted on his Twitter account. Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com tweets the visit will occur Monday. Prior to the defensive end’s trip to Chicago, however, he’ll stop in Detroit to meet with Lions personnel, Rand Getlin of NFL.com tweets. Lawson, who registered 12.5 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss as a junior in 2015 despite playing with knee and shoulder injuries, visited with the Cowboys and Panthers last week.
  • Wide receiver Robby Anderson will visit the Packers, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. The Temple target who ran a 4.3-second 40-yard dash at the Owls’ pro day visited the Browns, Dolphins and Eagles recently.

Seahawks GM Discusses Offseason, Re-Signings, Keys to Success

It’s been a relatively quiet offseason for the Seahawks. The organization has added lineman on both sides of the ball, and they also signed Jermaine Kearse to a new contract. Of course, it hasn’t solely been positive in Seattle, as former first-rounder Bruce Irvin left for the Raiders.

General manager John Schneider touched on several of these topics while talking with reporters (including John Boyle of Seahawks.com) at the NFL Annual Meetings earlier this week. We’ve compiled some of the notable quotes below…

On the team’s strategy for the rest of the offseason:

“All throughout free agency, every position, we’re going to keep tinkering and working our way through certain deals and see if we can be involved or if we can’t. Where we’re at right now, we just have to be very responsible.”

On Frank Clark being forced to replace some of Irvin’s production:

“When we drafted Frank—you have to prepare for the possibility of not having some players. Obviously we wanted to have Bruce back and if the two of them were on the same team again, that would have been great, but to a certain extent you have to look towards the future.”

On switching focus to re-signing current players:

“We have several guys who have one year left on their contracts, so that’s always something we look at. For planning purposes moving forward we have to know what’s down the road. We have several key players who have one year left on their deals, so we’ll try to address that at the appropriate time.”

On the key to the Seahawks success:

“There’s no ego. Ego is the enemy, really. Being able to communicate in clear, concise fashion and make decisions as quickly as you possibly can. Knowing that first and foremost, we’re looking out for what’s best in the organization.

“We talk about no walls at our place. We include our coaches in the draft and in free agency, and they have buy-in.”

Extra Points: Pats, Julio, Fluker, Cooper

The DeflateGate scandal reentered the news Thursday when Mark Baltz, the NFL’s head linesman from 1989-2013, voiced his suspicion regarding recently reinstated Patriots employee Jim McNally. In response, Jim Daopoulos – the league’s ex-supervisor of officials and one of Baltz’s former bosses – defended McNally.

“In all my years working with locker-room attendants, Jim McNally, without a doubt, is probably one of the most professional of all the locker-room attendants in the National Football League,” Daopoulos said, according to CSNNE.com. “And that can be attested by all the officials working in the National Football League.”

“I really don’t know what Mark’s agenda is right here,” Daopoulos added.

Other news from around the league:

  • Although Falcons star receiver Julio Jones has been limited this week with a hamstring injury, head coach Dan Quinn says there’s “zero” chance he’ll miss their game Sunday, per The Associated Press. Jones lit up the Eagles for nine catches, 141 yards and two touchdowns in Monday’s win. He’ll look to do something similar against the Giants this week.
  • Chargers guard D.J. Fluker was carted off the field with an ankle injury during the team’s Week 1 win over Detroit, and there was concern that he’d miss anywhere from four to six weeks. Instead, Fluker will only miss a couple weeks, according to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune. In the meantime, Chris Hairston will take his spot as the starting right guard.
  • Raiders receiver Amari Cooper harbors no ill will toward Bengals cornerback Adam Jones, who avoided a suspension after ripping Cooper’s helmet off his head and slamming his head against the ground in Cincy’s win last week. “I didn’t want him to get suspended,” Cooper said, per Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com. “He was just playing football and playing physical like you’re supposed to. I’m past all that now. I’m trying to focus on the Ravens.” (Twitter links: 1; 2).
  • Seahawks rookie defensive end Frank Clark is a situation player – for now, anyway – and using Richard Sherman in the slot enables the team to get its three best cornerbacks on the field, D-coordinator Kris Richard said (Twitter link via The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta).
  • The Colts’ decision to waive/injured running back Vick Ballard prior to Week 1 remains a curious one, writes Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. They did it to open up a spot for inside linebacker Josh McNary, but they have a logjam of ILBs. On the other hand, they’re lacking at running back behind starter Frank Gore.

NFC Links: Saints, Seahawks, Lions

Let’s take a look at some notes from around the NFC on this Saturday morning…

  • Taking a payout is never easy, especially for a 31-year-old veteran. However, Saints offensive lineman Jahri Evans understands that it’s part of the business, and he has no animosity over having to accept less money for this upcoming season. “It worked out in the end. You know, it’s part of the business, obviously. And I’m glad to be here,” Evans told ESPN.com’s Mike Triplett.
  • Seahawks rookie Frank Clark recognized that his team was criticized for selecting him in the second round of this past year’s draft. A domestic violence arrest ended his career at the University of Michigan, but the organization was apparently satisfied with the defensive end’s character. Despite the backlash, Clark said he wasn’t affected by the negative press. “It didn’t affect me in no kind of way, because after the Seahawks drafted me I dedicated my game to them,” Clark told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “I dedicate everything I did as far as on that field to them because I owe them a lot because No. 1, some people say they took a risk, I say they just gave me an opportunity to show what I can showcase and they had faith in me the whole time.”
  • Undrafted offensive tackle La’el Collins ultimately signed with the Cowboys, but the rookie told Birkett (in a separate story) that he seriously considered signing with the Lions. “I talked to coach Caldwell briefly, like, a day after the draft,” Collins said. “First of all, he just wanted me to know he was here for me and that if I needed anything, I could talk to him or if I needed to talk to him, things like that…And honestly, I went on a visit to Detroit and I had a great talk with coach Caldwell while I was there, I had a great meeting with them. We connected in a big way. It was nothing but love and respect for him. I think he’s a great coach; I think they’re going to be a great team.”

Minor Moves: Tuesday Night

Earlier today, we rounded up the day’s smaller transactions. Here are the latest minor moves..

  • The Seahawks announced they have signed draft picks Frank Clark and Tyler Lockett to their rookie contracts, Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times tweets. Seattle now has all of its picks under contract.
  • The Cowboys officially signed third-round offensive lineman Chaz Green, Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun tweets. With Green in the fold, only two picks remain unsigned for Dallas: cornerback Byron Jones and linebacker Damien Wilson.
  • The Steelers removed wide receiver L’Damian Washington from injured reserve with an injury settlement, according to Wilson (on Twitter).
  • The Browns have signed offensive lineman Eric Olsen and linebacker Mike Reilly, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal (on Twitter). Olsen, a four-year NFL vet, has appeared in 23 games with four starts over the course of his career. Reilly was a participant in Cleveland’s rookie minicamp.
  • The Raiders have signed seventh-round cornerback Dexter McDonald. McDonald was selected 242nd overall by the Raiders in the 2015 NFL Draft. He played three seasons at Kansas, starting 24-of-31 games at cornerback.

Latest On Frank Clark, Seahawks

The Seahawks took a chance drafting Michigan defensive end Frank Clark when they came to the podium with the 63rd-overall selection. Short a first-round pick thanks to the Jimmy Graham trade, the team had a long wait before making their first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. They thought they hit on that pick, getting a great value with Clark, who saw his stock drop due to allegations of a domestic violence incident involving his then-girlfriend Diamond Hurt.

The team had been interested in Clark, but told the player they could not draft him with the investigation open, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Florio writes that Clark had the charges resolved “for roughly the price of a speeding ticket,” and that the team made no further inquiries into the case.

Now, new information has come to light about the incident and its aftermath. Geoff Baker and Lewis Kamp of the Seattle Times write that according to the official police report, after the incident manager Stephanie Burkhardt entered the couple’s room, when Clark told the female hotel manager, “I will hit you like I hit her,” before contacting her with his shoulder and exiting the room. Burkhardt confirmed the story to Baker and Kamp at the Seattle Times. She also tells that she was never contacted by the prosecutor before the charges were dropped.

The Seahawks conducted their own investigation, and felt comfortable enough to draft Clark under the belief that he did not hit Hurt based on their findings.

“I know they were on site the day after the incident to find out what the status was,” said Ken Bailey, a criminal defense lawyer in Sandusky, Ohio. “I don’t know the names of who they all talked to. I know they were interviewing people at the school — team members, team staff — but I don’t know who.”

The Seattle Times’ report also included the release of documents that included a hospital visit from Hurt, a breath test that put her blood-alcohol level at .000 (contrary to Clark’s statement that she had been drinking), and a witness testimony confirming that Hurt’s siblings ran out of the room saying “their sister’s boyfriend was punching her in the face.’’

According to Florio, the Seahawks have been adamant that they would not draft a player who has struck a woman. However, if information comes to light that Clark did indeed commit the crime he was accused of, there will be tremendous pressure for the team to move on from the recently drafted defensive lineman. Florio also points out a precedent in the Patriots moving on from defensive tackle Christian Peter three days after the 1996 NFL Draft, as reported by Philly.com. The Patriots claimed that they were not aware of Peter’s history at the time of drafting him, and renounced his rights. Peter was a fifth-round pick.

The Seahawks have signed four out of their six draft picks from the 2015 class so far, but second-round pick Clark is not among them. The team has also failed to sign Kansas State receiver Tyler Lockett.

Seahawks Coach, GM Discuss Clark, Lockett, Irvin

The Seahawks made one of the more surprising selections on Friday evening, selecting embattled defensive end Frank Clark at the end of the second round. The former Michigan Wolverine certainly has plenty of talent, but the 21-year-old was dismissed from his team in November following his involvement in a domestic violence case.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider explained the logic behind the decision, and they also discussed some other topics following the second day of the draft. Let’s take a look at some of the notable quotes (via Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times)…

Schneider on the organization’s investigation, and subsequent selection, of Clark:

“Our organization has an in-depth understanding of Frank Clark’s situation and background—we have done a ton of research on this young man. There’s hasn’t been one player in this draft that we have spent more time researching and scrutinizing more than Frank. That is why we have provided Frank with this opportunity, and we look forward to him succeeding in our culture here in Seattle.”

Carroll on whether the Ray Rice situation had an impact on their decision:

“Absolutely. It was crucial we did all of the work that we did—all of the meetings, all of the interviews, questions asked to get to the point where we knew what was going on—that we understood the situation and could go ahead to give him a chance to do this. With all of the elevated awareness that made us more tuned in with what we needed to do to take care of business. John made his trips, we visited with the kid numerous times, we flew him in here—we have taken every opportunity and every chance to figure out what we needed to figure out. We did it, and we are going to hold him to a very standard of expectation like we do, and we think he is going to be very successful.”

Carroll on why Clark’s skills make him a worthy pick:

“His mentality in the way he plays the game—he is such a competitive kid and it’s so important to him to play his best. He plays so tough and chases the football—he is physical in the way the players play. He just has the kind of nature that really fits in with those players. He has a ton of upside—as John said—and he is going to improve a lot. We think he is going to be a really exciting addition to the club.”

Schneider on the team’s selection of wideout Tyler Lockett:

“Just a need, a strong need at the punt return position. I was actually with his father in Kansas City, which is amazing and makes me feel very old, but Tyler is a phenomenal kid: academically, driven, captain, leader of his team—both of these guys are actually big-time leaders of their team. Those are some of the things that stood out with both of these guys—highly driven, just instincts and catching the ball. He is a great fielder. He’s incredible as a slot receiver inside. The week he had at the Senior Bowl was phenomenal. We just felt like he is the premier returner in this draft.”

Carroll on whether the Clark selection will impact Bruce Irvin‘s future with the team:

“We plan on having Frank in the defensive end spot and we are going to find out what that means. We are going to find out and spot him like we always have. We know he has unique qualities about him—we know that he can be a quality outside rusher, but he also does a lot of stuff, they moved to the inside rush, as well. We are just thrilled to have the chance to figure that out, and to find where he fits to complement the rest of the guys.”