Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll made it clear on Monday that the team won’t let contract-year defensive end Frank Clark get away in free agency.
“He is a Seahawk,” Carroll said on ESPN 710 Seattle. “He ain’t going anywhere. We aren’t losing him.”
Meeting with reporters later Monday, Carroll added, “We’ve got to figure [Clark’s contract situation] out somehow. It’s a big issue.”
Clark, a 2015 second-round pick, is having a career season in the final year of his rookie deal. He has career highs of 12 sacks and 24 QB hits through 15 games, bringing his career totals to 34 and 69, respectively, in 61 games.
The 25-year-old told reporters in October there’s no place he’d rather be than Seattle. Those comments came two days after Clark’s agent told ESPN his client was in no hurry to sign an extension, as the defensive end planned to maximize his earnings on his next contract. As part of the patient approach, Clark has an insurance policy to guard against injury.
If the two sides are unable to reach a long-term deal before spring, the Seahawks will likely use the franchise tag on Clark, which would give him a one-year salary around $19 million. The sides would then have until mid-July to hammer out a long-term extension, or else have Clark play the 2019 season on the tag.
Clark has made about $3.7 million total over four years on his rookie contract.
Meanwhile, Carroll also said Monday that the team has no plans to rest its starters in Week 17 despite having clinched a playoff spot.
“I don’t like doing that,” Carroll said. “ messes with you. We’re not changing anything.”
The Seahawks cannot win the NFC West, but they could finish as the No. 5 or No. 6 seed depending on the results of their game against the Arizona Cardinals and the Minnesota Vikings’ game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. The fifth seed would bring a visit to the Dallas Cowboys in the wild-card round of the playoffs, while the sixth seed would send Seattle to Chicago. The Seahawks lost at Chicago in Week 2 and beat the Cowboys in Seattle in Week 3 this season.
Carroll’s teams have historically played their starters in end-of-season games despite clinching playoff seeding.
—Field Level Media