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.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.