In the spring of 2019 the Seattle Seahawks did something they haven’t done in a long time - apply the franchise tag to soon-to-be free agent defensive end Frank Clark in an effort to retain his services. That retention never came, of course, and in the lead up to the 2019 NFL Draft the Seahawks dealt Clark in exchange for two draft picks to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The two draft picks Seattle received in return were the Chiefs first round pick in 2019 and the lower of whichever their two second round picks was in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Chiefs, for those who recall, had picked up an extra second round pick themselves by trading Dee Ford to the San Francisco 49ers. That created the unique situation where no matter which team won the Super Bowl back this past season, that the Seahawks would receive pick 64 in the draft from the Chiefs.
In any case, with the 2020 NFL Draft now in the books, the return for the Hawks from the Clark trade is now known. The 2019 first, pick 29 overall, was obviously used on L.J. Collier out of TCU. Collier had what many fans would consider a disappointing first season in Seattle, but by the end of the year had earned his way into the rotations and was seeing some playing time. It may not have been the instant impact fans had hoped for, but it was at least enough to show that there may be some hope for his future.
That said, as noted the Seahawks also had pick 64 in the draft that wrapped up over the weekend from the Chiefs. Seattle, of course, did not stand pat with that pick and received pick 69 and pick 148 in trading down with the Carolina Panthers. With those picks the Hawks added the following players:
- Round 3, Pick 69: Damien Lewis, G LSU
- Round 5, Pick 148: Alton Robinson, DE Syracuse
And that’s that. Fans now know that using the picks the Hawks received in the Frank Clark trade the team selected Collier, Lewis and Robinson, and those three are likely to be forever be linked to Clark during their tenures in Seattle.
Now, some will also argue that the team also saved a bunch of cap space by trading Clark to Kansas City, which is true. Had he stayed, Clark would have eventually signed the franchise tag and played the 2019 season on a one-year, $17.1M contract. Not coincidentally, here’s where the team spent that cap space in 2019:
- L.J. Collier, 2019 cap hit: $1.970,196
- Jadeveon Clowney, 2019 cap hit: $8,000,000
- Ziggy Ansah, 2019 cap hit: $8,531,250
So, totaling all of those together, the combined cap hit for the three in 2019 was $18,501,446. Now, because Clowney and Ansah each displaced another player on the 53 man roster who likely would have earned league minimum, $495,000 can be deducted for each of those players displaced, and the amount of cap space the team allocated for pass rush to replace Clark after the trade is within a few hundred thousand dollars of what Clark would have earned on a one year tag at $17.1M.
As for 2020, Clark could have been retained for 2020 on a second franchise tag that would have paid him $20.52M, effectively keeping his with the Seahawks on a two year, $37.62M deal that would have given the team an out after each season. Alternatively, Seattle could have signed him to a contract similar to what the Chiefs did and used the cap increases which are expected to come in the future to their advantage, just as Kansas City has. For example, on his 5-year, $104M contract, Clark carried a cap hit of $6.5M for the 2019 season, and after restructuring his contract, is set to cost just $25.8M over the first two years of his current contract.
In any case, the players Seattle added with the draft picks received in the Clark trade are now known, and it seems certain that fans will be watching intently as those players grow and develop over the coming seasons.