Only a small percentage of players who make it to the NFL stick around long enough and play at a high enough level to earl a lucrative, multi-year second contract. Even rare still is the player who gets a third contract with the team that drafted him, which is why Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett considers it "truly a blessing" that he and the Seahawks were able to get a deal done earlier this month on another multi-year deal.
"It's truly a blessing," Lockett said on Tuesday. "I always try to be about my faith, so I give God out of glory and honor credit. I know it's hard to be able to be in a position as athletes for us in the NFL to even get to a third contract extension. We say that the average is three and a half years, playing in the league—I don't know if that's changed—so to even make it to a second contract you've already beat the odds. And to get another contract after that, it's like a really amazing accomplishment. To me it's a phenomenal accomplishment, something that I never really thought about. Maybe until after you get a second contract it crosses your mind, but you're not really even thinking too much about it until it starts to sneak up on you."
Lockett last year set a franchise record with 100 catches was one of only three players in the NFL to have 100 catches, 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns along with Davante Adams and Travis Kelce. Lockett is one of only six players in team history to have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, and at 28 he's already among the franchise all-time leaders in receiving yards (4,892), ranking fifth behind Steve Largent, Brian Blades, Doug Baldwin and Darrell Jackson; seventh in receptions (376), trailing those four as well as John L. Williams and Bobby Engram; and tied for fourth with Galloway for touchdown receptions (37), trailing Largent, Baldwin and Jackson.
And with a new multi-year deal under his belt, Lockett not only has a chance to move up those lists, but it also moves him closer to the goal of playing his entire career with the team that selected him in the third round of the 2015 draft.
"I would love to finish my career as a Seattle Seahawk," he said. "That's why I said it was an amazing feeling that they even wanted to keep me on the team even longer. I understand this a business, I understand that sometimes business moves are made and sometimes it works out in the best interests of ourselves as players, and sometimes it doesn't; it benefits other players. So just to be able to see how they feel about me, understand how they feel about me, hear those words and excitement and all those different types of things, it brings that type of feeling to me that they want me here just as much as I want to be here. And who wouldn't want to finish their career with a team that loves (you) just as much as you love them."
And while we know Lockett will be a big part of Seattle's offense in 2021 and beyond, not even he knows exactly what that will look like going forward due to a change at offensive coordinator, with former Rams passing game coordinator Shane Waldron taking over that role this offseason. Lockett said he's embracing the unknown and approaching it with an open mind.
"I think there's a lot of things we can learn," he said. "There's a lot of things he brings to the table which may be new to not only us, but maybe coaches and or players who have played throughout the years. So we have to go into it with a mind that's able to accept and listen and understand and not act like we know everything. For me, I'm looking forward to it… Everybody has said so many great things about Shane. I met him when I was going into the facility to sign, he was just outside and I was able to say hi, but for the most part, I'm just looking forward to being able to play, being able to get to know him, get to know his family. The biggest thing I've learned is that football is relationships, and not only is it about relationships on the field, but it's about having those long-lasting relationships when you're done playing, because that's what matters at the end of the day."
As Lockett noted, he spent most of his playing time early in his career as an outside receiver when Darrell Bevell was Seattle's offensive coordinator—and when Doug Baldwin was one of the league's top slot receivers—then the switch to Brian Schottenheimer led to Lockett playing more in the slot. The next step for Lockett could now be, he says, doing more of everything in Waldron's offense.
"I would love to move around more," he said. "But we have so many talented people on our team, it's not just about you. We can move anybody around, and I think that's the thing that we saw even last year as we got to a place where we started moving people around—'Hold on, he's not supposed to be over here.' That's the beauty of, now we bring Shane Waldron in where he's been over there with the Rams, and he's been the person who comes up with the plays—the passing game coordinator—and now you're starting to see how he can be able to move people around whenever he wants, however he wants. So the things that he learned throughout his time, he can be able to bring that over to us and start being able to teach us other ways to be able to get things done in a creative way that's going to help put us in positions to be successful. That's why I said I'm looking forward to it. Three years inside, three years outside, and now you're bringing in somebody that's very creative and strategic. So now I've got to learn how to adapt to whatever Shane decides to do, but that's why I'm looking forward to it."
As for last year performance by the Seahawks offense, which started at a torrid pace but cooled off late in the season, in part because Seattle was facing better defenses, and in part because of how those defenses played the Seahawks and how they did or didn't adjust to those changes, Lockett said.
"The biggest thing that I know I've learned as an athlete is you can't take what happened last year into what's going on this year," Lockett said. "You have to learn how to evolve, you have to learn how to adapt. Each player is going to be different. We all bring different qualities and we bring different things to the table, and we have to be able to figure out how to make that work. Just because you're successful the whole entire regular season doesn't mean you're going to win the Super Bowl. It's the team that's able to adapt to whatever situation comes their way that's going to be able to be the one that can win the Super Bowl. So for us, we just have to learn how to adapt to anything and whatever is thrown our way. It's not about being able to be like, 'They can't stop the pass and we're going to keep passing.' It's about, if a team makes us have to run the ball, we as a team have to be able to execute it. If a team is given us all the short throws, being able to execute that. If they're going to give us the deep balls, we're going to take that. Whatever a team gives us, we just got to take it, rather than trying to go out there and do whatever we obviously want to do. That's what I've learned, and that's what we as players have also learned is, let's try to get more comfortable with knowledge and understanding of what teams are trying to throw at us early on, and that's one of the things that we started learning towards the middle to end of the season last year. And so I think that's going to help us a lot more as we continue to get ourselves prepared for this season."
Take a look back at Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett's first seven seasons in the NFL.