RENTON — It had been long anticipated that Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf would get a contract completed with the team early in training camp.
Those expectations came true as Metcalf has agreed to a three-year, $72 million deal with the Seahawks, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, that includes a $30 million signing bonus — the highest ever for a receiver — and $58.2 million guaranteed overall .
The NFL Network, the league’s official media arm, also confirmed the report that Metcalf will re-sign with Seattle.
That means Metcalf will be under contract with the Seahawks through the 2025 season. He was entering the final year of his rookie deal in 2022 due to make $3.9 million.
Metcalf reported for training camp on Tuesday and attended each of the first two days of practice this week but did not take part on the field, a so-called “hold in,” while his contract was being completed.
Coach Pete Carroll spoke optimistically on Wednesday of the deal getting done soon saying “there’s a lot of work being done like right now.”
The signing bonus —- which tops the previous receiver record of $28 million that Washington gave Terry McLaurin last month. McLaurin signed a three-year deal worth up to $69.6 million with $53.1 million fully guaranteed and some close to the situation had speculated that contract could be a template for what the Seahawks would end up giving Metcalf.
The $24 million average of the extension will make Metcalf tied for the sixth-highest paid receiver in the NFL, according to OvertheCap.com while the total guarantee is seventh.
Along with the record signing bonus, the guarantee places him right above the $56 million of Eagles receiver AJ Brown, a teammate of Metcalf’s at Ole Miss and a contract that Metcalf and his agent Tory Dandy — who also represents Brown — likely wanted to try to top in at least one number (Brown signed a four-year, $100 million deal overall).
The length of the contract is shorter than Seattle has typically handed to its significant pending free agents, who usually have gotten four-year deals — especially on extensions of rookie contracts. But the length may have been a concession by Seattle to get it done, with the length allowing Metcalf to become an unrestricted free agent when he is 28.
More important to the Seahawks is locking up one of the team’s stars during a time of significant transition for the franchise following an offseason in which Seattle traded quarterback Russell Wilson and released middle linebacker Bobby Wagner.
Those two moves have led to the idea that the Seahawks are rebuilding and caused some to wonder if the team could consider trading Metcalf.
But the Seahawks have said all along that keeping Metcalf was a priority and Carroll several times noted the team’s success in getting contracts done with those it considers core players.
The timing also is right in line with the team’s history of getting contracts done with key players in the opening days of camp, such as Wilson in 2015, Wagner in 2015 and 2019 and safety Jamal Adams last year.
The Seahawks can now add Metcalf to that list while also completing what was the last significant piece of unfinished business for the 2022 offseason.
Metcalf has played all 49 regular season games in his three-year Seattle career in which he has already established himself as one of the best receivers in team history. His 3,170 receiving yards are the most for any player in the first three years of a career in franchise history and he set a franchise single-season record with 1,303 yards in 2020 a year in which he was also named to the Pro Bowl and as a second team All-Pro.
The Seahawks and Metcalf had been in talks throughout the offseason on a new contract. Metcalf made something of a statement, however, when he skipped the team’s mandatory minicamp in the spring. But as Carroll noted at the time, he also would not likely have done much on the field then, if anything, as he was still rehabbing from foot surgery in January.
Metcalf is now healthy, though, with Carroll saying this week that Metcalf had passed his physical and that “he’s fine.”
That means Metcalf will likely be on the field when the Seahawks practice again on Saturday (they are holding only a walk-through on Friday that is not among the team’s workouts open to the public during training camp).
While “holding in” the first two days of training camp Metcalf watched practice from the sidelines, or often on the field behind the offense, chatting with his fellow receivers and coaches.
As Thursday’s practice ended, he also stopped to sign autographs for a while. Soon, he will be signing a contract that will assure he will be a centerpiece of Seattle’s offense for at least four more years.
It’s thought that the two sides had tentatively agreed a while ago on the basic parameters of the contract — years and total money — with the total guarantees and timing of payouts of guarantees and bonuses the significant hurdles to cross.
The contract also caps what has been a somewhat meteoric rise up the NFL’ receiving ladder for Metcalf in his first three years in the league. Metcalf fell to the final spot of the second round of the 2019 draft, 64th overall, due in part to concerns about a neck injury that limited him to just seven games during his final season at Ole Miss in 2018. There were also questions about Metcalf’s ability to do more than be simply a straight-line, deep-ball receiver.
Seattle famously pulled off a draft-day trade with New England to get him, giving up the 118th pick to move 13 spots to get him.
Seattle’s hunch on Metcalf having been proven right, they are now happily paying handsomely to keep him.
This story will be updated.