With a year remaining on Seattle Seahawks star wide receiver DK Metcalf’s rookie deal, a contract extension for the Ole Miss product has been a consistent talking point this offseason amongst Seahawks fans. The offseason started with trade rumors reaching the point of a rumored asking price of two first round picks but then simmered down as the NFL Draft got closer.
Metcalf has recently expressed optimism that something will get done with Seattle before the start of the season, as has Pete Carroll. With every wide receiver contract seemingly usurping the prior contract as the deal with the highest annual average value and largest guarantees at signing it is difficult to predict exactly what Metcalf’s contract will be. However, the last two offseasons have provided us with a few contracts we can use as baselines for a potential deal.
All contract details are from Spotrac.com
Contract #1- AJ Brown
Details- 4 years - $100,000,000 - guaranteed (GTD) at signing - $39,999,999 - Total GTD - $57,220,000
This deal serves as the best comparison for Metcalf in multiple ways. The former Ole Miss teammates are both 24 years old with 2022 being the final year of their rookie deals. Brown has played in 43 games compared to Metcalf’s 48, has 2,995 receiving yards compared to Metcalf’s 3,170 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns to Metcalf’s 29. So, all in all shouldn’t this deal largely be the baseline for a new contract for Metcalf? Yes and no, yes because their production and age are extremely similar, but Brown signed his contract with an acquiring team rather than his original team which gave him a little more leverage in the negotiating process and might have increased his numbers a bit. Unlike the Philadelphia Eagles, who were giving up assets to acquire Brown with the contract extension already in place, Seattle can simply set a price for Metcalf and if he declines it, they can trade him. They hold significantly more leverage in the process, which might weigh Metcalf’s numbers down a bit.
Contract projection - 4 years - $96,500,000 - GTD at signing - $42,750,000
Despite being a hair under Brown’s deal this contract still compares greatly to the other high paying receiver deals in the league. His average annual value (AAV) of $24,125,000 would give him the fourth highest total, right in front of Stefon Diggs’ AAV of $24,000,000. His guaranteed at signing total would be tied for third with DeAndre Hopkins sitting behind only Tyreek Hill and Diggs.
Contract #2 Mike Williams/Chris Godwin
Details- 3 years - $60,000,000 - GTD at signing - $40,000,000 - Total GTD - $40,000,000
A deal of this structure could be extremely appealing to Metcalf. Metcalf’s career production significantly outweighs both Williams and Godwin, with Godwin only having 1,473 more receiving yards than Metcalf despite playing in 23 more games. Godwin also signed his contract coming off a torn ACL late in the 2021 season. Williams signed his deal at the right time coming off a career year of 1,146 receiving yards, which was 179 more than Metcalf produced whilst playing in one fewer game than the Seahawks wideout.
There are some massive pros for both sides in doing a three-year deal with a similar guarantee structure. For Metcalf it would allow him to maintain a high guaranteed total as well as having his contract expire going into his age 28 season which would put him in line for one final mega deal. Seattle benefits from a deal like this because it offers them a bit more production in case of injury or a fall off in production. Football is a sport where some players suddenly break down due to the physical nature of it, god forbid something like that was to happen to Metcalf then Seattle is a bit more protected with a three year deal.
Projected contract: 3 years - $72,000,000 - GTD at signing $48,240,000
Despite his raise in both AAV and guarantees this contract still follows the baseline of the Williams and Godwin deals in terms of percentage of the deal guaranteed. With both deals having guarantees of 67% of the overall contract Metcalf gets that in his deal as well. His guarantee would be the second highest for a wide receiver sitting $4,295,000 short of Hill’s record setting deal with the Dolphins. His AAV of $24,000,000 would tie him for the fifth largest number for a receiver with Stefon Diggs.
Contract #3 Davante Adams
Details- 5 years - $140,000,000 - GTD at signing - $22,750,000 - Total GTD - $65,670,000
It is hard to imagine Metcalf reaching Adams’ in terms of AAV at $28,000,000, but the other numbers in the contract are not untouchable if Metcalf was to sign a five-year deal. Adams is arguably the best receiver on the planet coming off a season where he totaled 1,553 receiving yards with 11 touchdowns on 123 receptions. The former Green Bay Packer signed his record-breaking deal (at the time) with the Las Vegas Raiders, who traded a 2022 first- and second-round pick for the 2-time All Pro receiver. Metcalf does not have the career accolades, the leverage Adams had nor the statistics, but Metcalf is a receiver who has yet to reach his prime and despite significant injury concerns when he was coming into the league, he has played in every single game available to him.
Like the three-year deal, both sides benefit from a five-year deal. Assuming Metcalf stays healthy and continues on his career trajectory Seattle has him under contract until his age 30 season with this contract taking him through his entire prime. On the other hand, Metcalf benefits from this deal because of the protection that is offered to him. As discussed with the three year deal some players hit sudden walls over the course of their career, a five year deal with high guarantees protects Metcalf in case anything like that was to happen.
Projected contract: 5 years - $121,000,000 - GTD at signing - $52,200,000
The total dollars in this contract would be tied for the 17th largest contract in the NFL and the second largest receiver deal. This is definitely the most unlikely deal of the three, however if both sides want to do a five-year deal it is hard to envision the contract not looking very similar to these two numbers. His AAV of $24,200,000 would rank fifth right behind Brown and ahead of Diggs but his guaranteed at signing would be the second largest total for a receiver; only $135,000 short of Tyreek Hill and well ahead of Stefon Diggs in third place.
I think both sides are going to prefer to do a four-year deal. Only five wide receivers have five-year deals, and it is a bit difficult to imagine Metcalf becoming the sixth in part because of the dollar amount Seattle would be tied to but also because of the fact it would significantly reduce the chances of him getting a large third contract in the NFL. Settling at four years makes too much sense for both sides, with there being very few overall negatives in going the four-year route. Metcalf would get to become a free agent again entering his age 29 season, putting him in line for one final payday and Seattle would get Metcalf at an extremely affordable number.