RENTON, Wash. – On an otherwise glorious day alongside Lake Washington, a little bit of gloom was dumped into the Seahawks’ world on Tuesday.
Now, whether this evolves into a full-fledged storm remains to be seen. Logic says that wide receiver DK Metcalf, who was conspicuously absent from the first day of Seattle’s minicamp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center, will find suitable financial happiness with the Seahawks before the situation spins out of control.
Yet the fact that Metcalf is taking the unexpected step of sitting out the three-day minicamp can only be interpreted one way: The wide receiver extraordinaire is dissatisfied with the fact that he does not yet have the contract extension that everyone knows is due to come his way eventually.
And another thing that is undeniable: Regardless of how far this rift goes, this is a troublesome development for the Seahawks as they embark on a season of vast transition. Even though Metcalf wouldn’t have been on the field anyway as he recovers from foot surgery, they don’t need any distractions or dissension to creep into Pete Carroll’s sunny world as he tries to mesh a new quarterback, new staff and new defensive system.
The Seahawks would tell you they have their own timetable for these things, and it will eventually get done when that time is right – presumably closer to the start of training camp in late July. And right up until Tuesday, it appeared that Metcalf was totally on board. In fact, the lack of rancor throughout the off-season was remarkable. Carroll said in March, “There’s no way I could imagine playing without him,” and praised the way Metcalf was handling his unsettled contract situation. And Metcalf said on Shannon Sharpe’s podcast in May, “It’s all smiles right now.”
It’s impossible to know if those smiles have turned into frowns, or maybe just a look of serious concern. Maybe Metcalf is just trying to send a friendly message that it’s time to pick up the pace. But considering the volatile world of star wide receivers in the NFL this off-season, it’s ominous to even have the door to a contract impasse cracked open at all. Bob Condotta of the Times reported Tuesday that Metcalf’s absence is not being excused by the Seahawks, which subjects him to up to $93,000 in fines – another indication that the singing of “Kumbaya” between the two sides has been interrupted.
To refresh your memory, since the Super Bowl, these stellar wide receivers have been traded: Tyreek Hill, Davonte Adams, Amari Cooper, A.J. Brown and Marquise Brown – among others. Brown, one of Metcalf’s best friends, helped set the rapidly exploding receiver market by signing a four-year, $100 million contract. That, no doubt, is a guideline for the deal Metcalf is seeking, especially since they share the same agent, Tory Dandy of CAA sports.
Dandy also represents 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel, who like Brown and Metcalf was heading into the final year of his rookie deal this year and has requested a trade. There’s no indication that Metcalf wants to be traded – he’s indicated the opposite, in fact, but ESPN reported the Seahawks were receiving calls from teams interested in Metcalf. They have been telling them they weren’t shopping the receiver, ESPN said – and that’s the stance the Seahawks need to continue to take as they hash out a new contract.
I wrote the other day about how the Seahawks are searching for a new face of the franchise – and that Metcalf is the likeliest candidate to take over that distinction. That’s only one of myriad reasons the Seahawks should be motivated to not let this relationship unravel.
The stark truth is that the Seahawks need Metcalf more than Metcalf needs them. After trading Russell Wilson and releasing Bobby Wagner this offseason, Metcalf is the ideal person to retool around – a generational talent on the ascent who is just 24 and seems to love it in Seattle. If they did trade Metcalf, even Carroll would have to acknowledge this is a rebuilding season, and he is constitutionally opposed to that.
But Metcalf also wants to be paid, and will get paid, whether it’s in Seattle or elsewhere. I still believe the deal will get done with the Seahawks, and this absence is an unpleasantry that will be quickly forgotten. Yes, Metcalf is missing some bonding time with the new quarterbacks and the rest of the receivers’ room; there’s plenty of time to make up for that. But if his contract situation is still unresolved when training camp rolls around, then it will be time to ratchet up the storm warnings.