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Finding Free Agents: Jack Conklin would be a high-priced long-term solution at tackle

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Seattle Seahawks v Tennessee Titan Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

In our 2020 iteration of Finding Free Agents, we’ll attempt to answer three questions for each player: Why would the Seahawks be interested? What would their contract look like? What is the likelihood they reach free agency? Throughout the series, we’ll be focused on specific positions of need in Seattle: Wide receiver, offensive line, defensive tackle and EDGE.

Jack Conklin’s rookie contract has seen some odd turns. The former Spartan began his career by being named first-team All-Pro as a rookie and starting 32 of 32 games in his first two seasons before a torn ACL ended his sophomore season in the playoffs. Conklin battled injuries throughout his third season and in a bit of a shock move, the Titans did not pick up the tackle's fifth-year option last spring. Conklin enjoyed a healthy, solid 2019 and now heads toward free agency.

Why would the Seahawks be interested?

Seattle looks likely to lose both starting right tackle Germain Ifedi and swing tackle George Fant this spring, meaning there’s a sizable hole soon to open up opposite Duane Brown. Similar to the case for signing guard Brandon Scherff, if the Seahawks chose to splash on an offensive line signing, Conklin would be a sensible target. Conklin is solid in pass protection and has averaged just under four sacks allowed per season (3.75) in his career, per Sports Info Solutions. As a run blocker, Conklin climbs to the second level effectively and has the mobility for combo blocks—he would be a sound fit in Seattle’s offense because of that.

The Seahawks are an offensive line-needy team, and Conklin is one of the best protectors set to hit free agency.

What would Conklin’s contract look like?

Conklin is hitting free agency is a highly advantageous time: At either tackle spot, there isn’t a tackle close to him with the combination of youth and upside who is entering free agency. (Seriously, the closest might be Ifedi.) The last two big money right tackle deals to be signed were Trent Brown, last spring, at $66M with $36.25M fully guaranteed for four years, and Lane Johnson in November, a four-year extension worth $72M with $25M fully guaranteed. My Field Gulls colleague John P. Gilbert, who has chronicled the right tackle market well, wrote after the Johnson extension that Conklin will exceed $15M APY and could land in the $16M-$17M region.

With that in mind, Conklin’s contract could very well look like: four years, $68M total with $23M fully guaranteed. At $17M APY, Conklin would become Seattle’s second-highest paid player. A deal for Conklin would be a massive investment.

Will Conklin reach free agency?

If Tennessee was interested in remaining in business with Conklin, logic would suggest they would have picked up his option or negotiated an extension last spring. Now, even if they are interested in a new deal, they’re in a tough spot. Bridges may have been burned by their decision last offseason, but more pertinent is the expiring contracts of both Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry. The Titans are able to use both the franchise and transition tags this spring, but both seem more likely to be used on the team’s two offensive focal points. In that case, Conklin will hit unrestricted free agency and hit it big.