CHICAGO - OCTOBER 17: Chris Clemons #91 of the Seattle Seahawks rushes against J'Marcus Webb #73 of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on October 17 2010 in Chicago Illinois. The Seahawks defeated the Bears 23-20. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
We haven't really talked much about the Chris Clemons ... situation.. here at the blog because, frankly, there hasn't been much to report, other than the fact he's been absent from all the Seahawks' optional OTA practices. For a veteran leader like Clemons though, this is unusual, and the immediate and logical deduction is that he's unhappy with his current contract, which enters its last year in 2012. Scheduled to make $4.5 million this season ($5.3 million cap hit), it's most likely that Clemons is seeking an extension from the team - one he probably deserves and one he'll probably get at some point. Carroll was asked about this on the Kevin Calabro show yesterday, and replied (h/t to Eric Williams for transcribing it):
"It's a personal situation for Chris. It's his decision not participate at this time. We have talked to his agent (Donal Henderson). We've done some serious talks, but not to the point where he's ready to jump back in yet. I've talked to Chris. He's in good spirits. He's working out real hard. So it's something he feels he needs to do at this time. He'll be in for the minicamp. He told me he'll be in here, and it's a mandatory minicamp, so he'll be around. So it'll be great to get him back in here with the fellas."
With Clemons planning to attend the mandatory Mini-Camp next week, it appears to be less of a holdout and more of a renegotiation/extension discussion between the sides. This regime - John Schneider, John Idzik, and Pete Carroll, has done a pretty good job of 'rewarding their guys' with market-value contracts and in establishing the culture the past few seasons, 'producers' generally have been taken care of. By most measures, frankly, Clemons probably should and will receive an extension, but it would appear the particulars haven't yet been agreed upon. It's unclear whether Clem will get his (I assume) wish and receive a contract prior to the season or whether he'll have to wait it out like Marshawn Lynch, Red Bryant, and Brandon Mebane did in the final years of their contracts, before re-signing.
If the Seahawks were to extend Clemons two to three seasons or so, they would use the time to groom his eventual successor, Bruce Irvin, (theoretically, they could switch spots after year one or two). Having several effective pass rushers is essential for any team (look at the Giants), and at 31 years old, Clemons hasn't begun to slow down. After back-to-back 11-sack seasons, he has proven his effectiveness in the system as a LEO, and it looks like he's trying to put the ball in the Seahawks' court on this. For now though, as Carroll notes, the talks haven't gotten to the point that makes Clemons comfortable.