Despite the fact that Frank Clark's rookie contract came to an end after the 2018 season, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider made it clear at the NFL Scouting Combine that the defensive end was in their plans for 2019.
"Frankie will be with us, yeah," Carroll said Thursday. A day earlier, Schneider also said that Clark would be a Seahawk in 2019, and while neither explicitly said it, the implication was that, short of reaching a long-term contract extension prior to Tuesday's deadline, the Seahawks would place the franchise tag on Clark.
And indeed that's what the Seahawks did one day before Tuesday's 1 p.m. PT deadline, designating Clark a franchise player, meaning he'll play 2019 on a one-year deal worth $17.128 million, per NFL.com, unless the two sides can agree to a long-term deal before July 15, the deadline for signing franchised players to multi-year extensions. If the Seahawks and Clark can't agree to an extension by July 15, Clark has to play under the one-year tag and the two sides cannot negotiate a new deal until after Seattle's final regular-season game.
Clark is coming off a 2018 season in which he compiled a team-high and career-best 13.0 sacks, and with 35 sacks in his career, he now ranks 10th on the Seahawks' all-time list. Clark's 32 sacks over the past three seasons are ninth-most in the NFL since 2016, trailing only Chandler Jones, Aaron Donald, Von Miller, Ryan Kerrigan, Danielle Hunter, Khalil Mack, Calais Campbell and Cameron Jordan.
The Seahawks used the non-exclusive franchise designation on Clark, meaning he can negotiate with other teams, but if he were to sign elsewhere, the team signing him would have to send two first-round picks to Seattle.
This marks the first time the Seahawks have used the franchise tag since 2010, when they used it on kicker Olindo Mare. And while the Seahawks and Clark weren't able to come to a long-term deal before Tuesday's deadline, the goal is still to find a way to keep him in Seattle well beyond 2019.
"It is ultimately (the goal), yeah," Carroll said at the combine. "Frankie just turned 25, he's still a very young football player. Made a huge step this year in terms of leadership, growth and maturity. It was so obvious. I was really proud of seeing that develop for Frank. He played great too. Frank, he's a very valuable football player and that's the process we're in the middle of and all that, I can't tell you guys how that's going to turn out, but it's going to be positive for the Seahawks and for Frank."
Take a look back at some of team photographer Rod Mar's best behind-the-scenes moments from the 2018 season.