Seattle and Kansas City have combined forces to change the tenor and tone of this week’s NFL Draft by pulling off a significant trade. The Seahawks are shipping franchise-tagged Frank Clark to the Chiefs in exchange for a first-round pick this year, a second-round pick next year, and a swap of third-rounders in a few days.
Clark had a career-high 13 sacks in 16 games last year and has posted double-digit tackles for loss in three consecutive seasons. And while there’s always danger in parting with a known entity, one has to appreciate the haul the Seahawks are receiving in return. Then, there’s the financial piece.
With Russell Wilson now the highest-paid player in NFL history, Seattle must build its defense differently than it did in the glory days when quarterback value could be exploited. This draft is particularly deep in the edge-rush/linebacker department, so there should be options available even late in the first round.
Plus, Clark comes with baggage — something Kansas City appears not to be concerned about. See: Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt. They are switching to a 4-3 defense and are embracing a new philosophy, previously parting ways with Dee Ford and Justin Houston this offseason.
Preliminary reports are Clark is getting a $105 million deal.
The Seahawks have significant work to do to replace his production. But they’ll have many different options on how to do it. If nothing else, they became way more flexible and may not be done wheeling and dealing before — and certainly not during — the draft.