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Sports >  Seattle Seahawks

Pete Carroll says Seahawks ‘intended’ to extend DK Metcalf this offseason, surprised by absence

UPDATED: Thu., June 9, 2022

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) rolls into the end zone with a 19-yard touchdown reception during the second quarter on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, at Lumen Field in Seattle.   (Jennifer Buchanan/Tribune News Service)
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) rolls into the end zone with a 19-yard touchdown reception during the second quarter on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, at Lumen Field in Seattle.  (Jennifer Buchanan/Tribune News Service)
Bob Condotta Seattle Times

RENTON — Seahawks coach Pete Carroll acknowledged Thursday the team was caught off-guard by the decision of receiver DK Metcalf to skip mandatory minicamp as he angles for a contract extension.

But Carroll said “I am not less optimistic’’ that a deal will ultimately get done with Metcalf, who is likely seeking an extension in the four-year, $100 million range to rival that of A.J. Brown, his former Ole Miss teammate who recently got that same deal from the Eagles. Brown and Metcalf share the same agent, Tory Dandy.

Carroll noted Metcalf showed up for the beginning of the team’s voluntary offseason program in April, which had signaled to the team that Metcalf would take part in everything.

A source told The Seattle Times the team considers Metcalf’s absence from minicamp — which ended Thursday — unexcused.

“It was a decision that he had to make,’’ Carroll said. “And you know, we missed him. He had done a nice job and contributed, being part of everything that we’d done. And then just he’s not here. So I can’t say much for what he hasn’t done here. We’d love to have him with us.’’

Carroll said the team has been in negotiations with Metcalf on a new deal and said “we’ve really intended to get that done” this offseason.

Metcalf is entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2022, due to make $3.9 million. But it has been the team’s custom to sign rookies they want to keep to extensions before the final year of the rookie contract, like Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and others have done during the last decade.

Typically those have been completed in the late spring or during the summer or right as training camp begins. Carroll intimated the team was working on a similar timeline for Metcalf.

“There’s been conversations and we’re in a pretty standard (mode), kind of semi-quiet right now knowing that camp’s coming up,’’ Carroll said. “These are crucial weeks to get something done. We’ll see what happens and hope that we can work something out.’’

Asked if it was his understanding that Metcalf’s absence was solely related to his contract situation, Carroll said “we’ve been communicating on that topic, yeah.’’

As Carroll noted, had Metcalf been in attendance he would not have done much on the field as he continues recovery from foot surgery in January.

“I had hoped that he might come in because he was still in the rehab phase — he wouldn’t be able to do all of the work,’’ Carroll said. “That he would have been here would have been good for us. And so unfortunately he wasn’t here.’’

Metcalf sitting out all three days of minicamp practice means he could be subject to fines or more than $93,000. Teams do not have to impose the fines if they don’t want and when Carroll was asked if Seattle would he said only “we don’t talk about that.’’

Metcalf was not on the field for any of the team’s OTAs over the past few weeks, but that was not a surprise given his rehab from foot surgery — players not in attendance had been attending meetings virtually if not in town.

That Metcalf had shown up to some of the early portion of the voluntary program and attending meetings and other activities, made it somewhat of a surprise that he skipped the mandatory minicamp.

In several interviews since the end of the season Metcalf had also given no indication he had any concerns about where things stood in his future with the team.

“I will say we are going to get something done,” Metcalf said in late April on the “Club Shay Shay Podcast with former NFL players Shannon Sharpe. “I think I’m going to be in Seattle for the next coming years, yes sir.”

At another point in that conversation, Metcalf said: “At the end of the day once you sit down and make a grown-man decision, yeah, I want to be in Seattle.’’

The Seahawks have also said throughout that they intend to extend Metcalf. Rumors about Metcalf’s future led to some conjecture that Seattle could entertain trade offers for him, especially in the wake of the Wilson trade.

But the passing of the draft without any deal seemed to send a strong indication that a contract will get done.

And it’s known that the team considers the 24-year-old Metcalf as a foundational piece of the franchise as it now heads into the post-Wilson era.

Carroll on Thursday, in what were his first comments to the media in two weeks and may be his last until training camp, noted that the team has been able to reach agreements with basically every player in a similar situation over the last decade (though he didn’t name names, it was an obvious reference to players such as Wilson, Wagner, Sherman, Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Tyler Lockett). Seattle also endured a long negotiation last year with safety Jamal Adams before he eventually re-signed in mid-August to a four-year deal worth an average of $17.5 million per season making him the highest-paid safety in NFL.

“We’ve been through this for years,’’ Carroll said. “It’s a challenging time and we’ve had so many high-profile guys that have gone through this process, and how’s that worked out for us? We figured it out in time.’’

Metcalf’s situation, though, has gotten more complicated since the end of the season with a handful of receivers getting deals that helped re-set the market at that position — though club execs note that most also are simply in line with what is an ever-increasing salary cap, especially now that league revenues are going back up after the COVID-19 decrease in 2020.

Still, just this week the Rams extended Cooper Kupp to a three-year extension worth a reported $80 million that gives him a five-year contact overall worth up to $110 million, another deal that could be used as something of a reference point by Metcalf’s side.

Carroll noted that Seahawks general manager John Schneider “is as experienced as you can get’’ at handling such situations and that Metcalf “has got great representation.’’ Schneider earlier this year talked of the good relationship he has with Dandy.

But Carroll also noted that there is a challenge in negotiations with players in line for significant contracts for the first time.

“There’s no way of avoiding the first time of this and what it feels like and the experience of it,’’ Carroll said. “There’s so many classic examples of how guys dealt with it and how the guys got it figured out. It’s unfortunate that nobody ever learns from the guy before them — it’s all brand-new, it’s like the first time again. It’s like (the movie) 50 First Dates kind of thing. You’ve got to go through it.

“DK is a remarkable person and he’s a wonderful player and he has so much to offer the world and I just don’t want him to miss this opportunity where we can’t figure this out. So we will do everything we can.’’

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