I’m going to guess what’s going on here. You decide if you think this is fair (and whether you agree with the conclusion).
I think the Seahawks have a number in mind for Frank Clark. The offer isn’t as high as he would like.
It’s possible (but who really knows?) that the rumoured ‘interest’ from other teams (including Buffalo) was an attempt through the media to just let the player know what a possible alternative looked like.
(And if the Bills weren’t interested, or felt they were being used in negotiations, it makes sense for them to end the rumour immediately as they did).
In turn, we now see this tweet emerge coincidentally during the NFL Network’s ‘pre-free agency’ show…
On #Seahawks pass-rusher Frank Clark: He won’t be signing his franchise tag or showing up to training camp unless the Seahawks give him the deal that he has earned, I’m told. If they don’t, they’ll only have him for another 16 games… when other top FAs are up, too.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 10, 2019
This, to me, looks like the counter. Seattle’s leverage is a possible trade. Clark’s leverage is he can walk in a year.
Another negotiation being played out in the media.
What does it all likely mean? Talks aren’t close on a new deal, essentially. And while the Seahawks clearly don’t want to lose Clark —- they can ill afford another player to leave the club without compensation.
It makes sense to see what’s out there. Possibly nothing appealing. For every Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack trade, there’s a lukewarm market for Earl Thomas or Antonio Brown. Trade value is difficult to project.
With four key players all reaching free agency in 2020 (Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Jarran Reed and Clark), there’s a reason why the tweet above doesn’t even reference a second tag. It’ll very likely belong to Russell Wilson.
This is why this is such a challenging off-season. And it’s why some difficult decisions need to be made.
Nobody wants to see Clark traded. But how much do you want to see him leave in free agency next year?