The Seahawks have placed the franchise tag on defensive end Frank Clark.
The decision by Seattle to use the franchise tag on Clark keeps their top pass rusher of the free agent market while allowing them until mid-July to continue to negotiate a long-term contract.
Clark is coming off a career-best 13.0 sacks in 2018 as he became one of the league's most consistent sack artists following the departures of Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. Clark was initially credited with 14.0 sacks on the season before having a stat correction in Week 17 take one away. He followed it up with another sack in the team's playoff loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Clark has expressed a strong desire to remain with Seattle and the Seahawks have expresses a strong desire to ensure that happens.
“It is ultimately (the goal), yeah,” head coach Pete Carroll said at the combine, via the team website.. “Frankie just turned 25, he's still a very young football player. Made a huge step this year in terms of leadership, growth and maturity. It was so obvious. I was really proud of seeing that develop for Frank. He played great too. Frank, he's a very valuable football player and that's the process we're in the middle of and all that, I can't tell you guys how that's going to turn out, but it's going to be positive for the Seahawks and for Frank.”
The franchise tag will pay Clark just over $17.1 million for the 2019 season. They will have until July 15 to continue to negotiate a possible long-term deal. With Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner and Jarran Reed all set to be free agents after the 2019 season, it would seem beneficial for Seattle to have the franchise tag at their disposal for any of those three players they need to keep with the team.
The use of the franchise tag on Clark is only the second time the Seahawks have used the tag under Carroll and general manager John Schnieder. The team used the tag on kicker Olindo Mare in 2010 in their first few months running the team.
The Seahawks also waived former second-round pick Malik McDowell.
McDowell never played in a single game for Seattle after being injured in an ATV accident prior to the start of training camp in 2017. McDowell spent his entire rookie season on the non-football injury list as he was unable to recover sufficiently enough to return to the team. Seattle waived McDowell last year, but he reverted to their non-football injury list again when he was claimed off waivers. Now the team has waived McDowell for a second time with a non-football injury designation.
Photo Credit: SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 16: Nick Mullens #4 of the San Francisco 49ers is hit by Frank Clark #55 of the Seattle Seahawks during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on December 16, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)