Seattle slapped the tag on its improving defensive end Monday, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Good Morning Football's Peter Schrager reported, per sources. The Seahawks later announced the tag was official.
The 2019 franchise tag for defensive ends is $17.1 million. This move, about 24 hours before the deadline for teams to tag players, signals the end of Clark being one of the best bargains in the NFL. He signed a four-year deal for $3.7 million after being selected in the second round of the 2015 draft out of Michigan.
Seattle used the non-exclusive franchise designation on Clark, which allows him to negotiate with other teams. Should he sign elsewhere, his new team would then send two first-round picks to the Seahawks. Clark and Seattle could also agree to a long-term contract before the July 15 deadline. Pete Carroll said while at the NFL Scouting Combine this past weekend that such a deal would be ideal.
"It is ultimately [the goal], yeah," Carroll said, via the team's 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."
Clark had a team-high 13 sacks last season while starting all 16 games for the first time in his career. He has 35 sacks in just 33 starts. His 32 sacks since the beginning of the 2016 season are the ninth-most in the NFL during that span.