In his two seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, Chris Clemons has 100 tackles and 22 sacks as the "Leo," a hybrid linebacker/end position in head coach Pete Carroll's defense. With one season at a $4 million base salary remaining on his contract, Clemons is looking for an extension and has skipped the team's offseason program, including last week's mandatory minicamp, and forfeited a $100,000 workout bonus in his contract.
According to a Saturday report from Len Pasquarelli of The SportsXchange, Clemons has rejected a three-year, $18 million extension and could remain in his hometown of Atlanta until the contract situation is resolved.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune reported Sunday that the Seahawks have not received a formal rejection of their latest offer and that two sides are continuing to negotiate. Williams' report is consistent with what Seahawks general manager John Schneider said on the matter during an appearance on "Chalk Talk" with Doug Farrar and Rob Rang on Sports Radio KJR in Seattle on Saturday.
"What I can share with you guys is that we've had dialogue with Chris and his agent," Schneider said. "It's all been positive. You know, he elected not to come to the camp, that's his prerogative. He's got a year left on his contract, he's very talented, he's a very important part of what we're doing. And we'll try to do what's in the best interest of the organization."
"I think the fans recognize that he's an important part of what we do on defense, and the 12th Man has really helped his game, too, in terms of being filled out at the stadium and allowing him to jump off the ball. Obviously we'd like to extend a number of different guys. We have several unrestricted free agents coming up that we'd like to start working on and he's a priority."
Right now, Clemons has some leverage, as improving the pass-rush has been a priority for the Seahawks this offseason. Investments in Jason Jones and first-round pick Bruce Irvin were meant to bolster what Clemons brings to the table, not replace it. Giving $6 million per season for a player who hadn't produced at this level before arriving in Seattle is probably a fair offer, but it would not be a surprise if the Seahawks upped their offer to $7 million per season, the same number they're paying Red Bryant at the other defensive end spot, before training camp.