Three weeks from Monday the legal tampering period for free agency begins, however, starting Tuesday NFL teams may franchise tag one of their pending free agents. The debate among fans of the Seattle Seahawks regarding the potential contract for Frank Clark has raged for since even before he became extension eligible following the Hawks loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17 of the 2017 season.
Now, after more than a year of speculation, Clark is just twenty three days away from potentially becoming a free agent. As noted on Friday, though, starting Tuesday the Seahawks have the opportunity to apply the franchise tag to him and all but ensure that he is on the roster for the 2019 season.
According to the current franchise tag projections calculated by OverTheCap.com, Clark would stand to make in the neighborhood of $18.653M for the 2019 season playing on the tag. Thus, the question becomes whether or not Clark is worth that amount and whether or not he is vital enough to the team to potentially warrant carrying a cap hit that large. In order to get an idea of whether or not observers around the league consider $18.653M to be worth it for the soon to be fifth year defensive end, here’s a survey of the opinions of some of those who cover the league.
NFL teams can start handing out franchise tags Tuesday.— 710 ESPN Seattle (@710ESPNSeattle) February 18, 2019
Jim Moore (@cougsgo) explains why he thinks that's what the #Seahawks should do with Frank Clark instead of signing him to a long-term extension.https://t.co/yeJ41vtUUX
NEWS: The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta expects the Seahawks to franchise tag free agent DE Frank Clark. https://t.co/f5MupXC70V— FantasyFBForum (@FantasyFBForum) February 11, 2019
Matt Miller on @sticktofootball said he heard recently that the Seahawks will either franchise tag Frank Clark or sign him to a long term contract extension.— David (@David_Seahawks) February 15, 2019
Seahawks are expected to use the franchise tag on DE Frank Clark if they can’t reach a long-term deal.— Seattle Chawks (@Seattlechawks) February 12, 2019
The Seattle Seahawks are expected to keep defensive end Frank Clark, their only elite edge rusher, even if it means using the franchise tag on him. https://t.co/F2HjRZFCyB— 5th Down Fantasy (@5thDownFantasy) February 12, 2019
The Seahawks are reportedly planning to franchise tag Frank Clark if they can’t do a long-term deal https://t.co/OOd8cEUeGr— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) February 12, 2019
Seahawks expected to franchise tag DE Clark – Frank Clark | SEA https://t.co/5628uWC2EJ— Studs and Duds Fantasy News (@StudsAndDudsFN) February 11, 2019
Pending UFAs with a good chance to get hit by the franchise tag if extensions can't get done before the deadline:— Connor Rogers (@ConnorJRogers) February 10, 2019
-#Cowboys DeMarcus Lawrence
-#Seahawks Frank Clark
-#Falcons Grady Jarrett
-#Chiefs Dee Ford
-#Texans Jadeveon Clowney
-#Giants Landon Collins
Literally cannot see any of the top edge rushers hitting FA this offseason like Jadeveon Clowney, DeMarcus Lawrence, Dee Ford, or Frank Clark hitting open market. All their respected teams have a ton of cap space and can afford the franchise tag #.— Conor Myles (@MylesSheet) January 27, 2019
Pete Carroll said Frank Clark will be with the #Seahawks next season, but that might require them to do something rare: use the franchise tag.@StacyRost looks at the possibility in the latest in our series about the biggest questions of the offseason.https://t.co/3QmXcCGgWa— 710 ESPN Seattle (@710ESPNSeattle) January 16, 2019
Dante Fowler Jr. Expect Clowney / Frank Clark Franchised. Trey Flowers hits FA. Dee Ford Franchise Tag / Extension. Za'Darius Smith intriguing. Shaq Barrett / Shane Ray? Just stay away elder statesmen (Matthews III, Brandon Graham, Ansah). Trade for Vic Beasley? Options Galore. https://t.co/rsNa6lRxst— Chad Forbes (@NFLDraftBites) January 2, 2019
(@theMMQB cont) ... Full rundown on where the franchise tag numbers will likely land, and the one position (see: @TankLawrence) that'll be flooded with tags over the next two week ... Eli's presence in NJ ... @DangeRussWilson's contract ... much, MUCH more https://t.co/Ikj3soWEpm pic.twitter.com/QDyQPKYImn— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 18, 2019
And that’s a pretty solid rundown of multiple sources, with all of them expecting Clark to have the tag applied. Yes, it’s a tool that John Schneider and Pete Carroll have largely stayed away from since their arrival in Seattle, but a big piece of that has been the fact that the players they have wanted to extend have signed extensions well before they became free agents.
Thus, at this point it simply seems that the application of the tag may be more of a formality than anything else, and that’s quite alright with me.