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Seahawks coaching staff, DK Metcalf begin 'learning curve' at minicamp

Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times on

Published in Football

RENTON, Wash. — DK Metcalf isn’t running track meets this offseason like he did in 2021.

There are no apparent movies in which he has starring roles set to be released, as there was in 2022.

Instead, Metcalf said he has been enjoying an uneventful offseason.

“I’ve been chilling, working out,’’ Metcalf said Tuesday when he talked to reporters before the first Seahawks’ practice of mandatory minicamp — and the first time he has spoken to local media this offseason. “Nothing interesting going on in my life.’’

You’d think that might leave time for Metcalf to take a look around at what has been a dizzying offseason of NFL receivers signing record-breaking contracts.

Three receivers signed new deals that each average $30 million a year or more led by Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson, who got a four-year contract worth $35 million a season to become the highest-paid receiver in the league.

Also signing big deals this offseason were Philadelphia’s A.J. Brown, a teammate of Metcalf’s at Ole Miss (three years, $32 million average) and Detroit’s Amon-Ra St. Brown (four years, $30 million a season).

Metcalf is hardly crying poor entering the second season of a three-year extension he signed in 2022 that averages $24 million per season.

But the new contracts pushed him from the sixth highest paid receiver to 10th on a per-year basis and raised the inevitable speculation of what his future holds.

Metcalf insisted he hasn’t given much thought to all the money being handed out to some of his receiving counterparts this offseason.

“My pops (former NFL lineman Terrence Metcalf) told me growing up, never pocket watch,’’ Metcalf said. “Congratulations to all the receivers out there and everybody getting paid. But nah, I don’t pay attention.”

This time a year from now he may have no choice but to think about it.

If the Seahawks stick to their usual course of attempting to re-sign core players before they enter the final year of their contracts, then something figures to happen with Metcalf before the 2025 season.

Metcalf’s contract has no guaranteed money beyond this season and an increasing cap number — from $24.5 million in 2024 to $29.5 million in 2025 — as well as increasingly substantial cap savings if he were released ($22 million with only a $7.5 million dead cap hit).

That gives the Seahawks the flexibility to do something with Metcalf’s contract following this season.

It was thought when Metcalf signed a three-year deal in 2022 that he wanted to leave open the possibility that he could simply finish it out and hit free agency following the 2025 season when he would still be just 28 years old.

For now, the focus for Metcalf and the Seahawks is for him to make a quick adjustment to the offense of new coordinator Ryan Grubb, and the team culture of rookie head coach Mike Macdonald, and for all to begin to forge what all hope could be a happy long-term relationship.

Metcalf admitted he was surprised by the dismissal of coach Pete Carroll, who famously was an enthusiastic supporter of the team’s move to trade up in the 2019 draft to take Metcalf with the final pick of the second round.

 

“I love Pete,’’ Metcalf said. “He’s the reason that I’m standing right here in front of y’all along with (general manager and president of football operations) John (Schneider). He was a great coach for me. Can’t dismiss what he did for me and this organization before I got here and when I got here. He’s a great coach, a Hall of Fame-caliber coach in my opinion. Just sad to see somebody lose their job like that. But I’ve had conversations with him since then. He’s doing good and that’s all I can do is just keep in contact with him. He gave me an opportunity to play in this league.”

Metcalf called getting to know Macdonald “a learning curve for me because I’ve been accustomed to one way for five years.’’

He joked that Macdonald is “a defensive coach. That’s one thing I don’t like about him.’’

Of course, so was Carroll.

When he turned serious, Metcalf indicated his early assessment of Macdonald has been positive.

“I just like the way how he’s open,’’ Metcalf said. “He loves communication, open communication, talks to each player. And he’s bringing his own style to Seattle and that’s what I like. He’s not trying to copy anything that anybody’s done in the past. He’s just bringing Mike Macdonald to the Seattle Seahawks.”

Metcalf spoke similarly positively of the offense of Grubb, while admitting he’s still getting acclimated to the new scheme.

Metcalf wasn’t on the field for all of the team’s nine OTAs (Organized Team Activities) and when asked why, said simply, “It’s voluntary.’’

He said he likes what he’s grasped of it so far.

“It’s pretty early,’’ he said of Grubb’s offense. “I’ve only been here a couple of days throughout the offseason. But from the days I’ve been here, I like Coach (Ryan) Grubb. His motivation, how every day he’s strictly the same person. He’s always motivating us to be our best selves. That’s one thing I like about him.

“And this offense I think has a lot of potential to be great, especially with the weapons that we have in our receiver room, tight end room, running back room, and even the O-line, the veteran leadership that we brought in this offseason. I think it has potential to be special.”

Metcalf’s OTA absences didn’t seem to limit him Tuesday as he was regularly on the field with the first unit alongside Tyler Lockett and Jaxon Smith-Njigba in three-receiver sets.

“He’s a really good player,’’ Macdonald said with a laugh of what he’s learned about Metcalf so far, noting he had to had to prepare a game plan against him last year when he was the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens.

“He’s a guy that you always had to account for. Any time he stepped on the field you’ve got to know where 14 is and you can’t let him wreck the game. He wants to be really good, he wants to be the best and he wants to be pushed, he wants to be coached hard, which you respect about him.’’

Tuesday’s practice, a two-hour workout that gave Macdonald maybe the best on-field glimpse he has yet seen of Metcalf, seemed to only ratchet up his excitement to coach him more.

“The way he practices is, like, really awesome,’’ Macdonald said. “This guy practices extremely hard, does all the little things you are asking him to do. So it’s a great example that he’s setting for that room and really for the offense as a whole. So a lot of respect for DK, the type of player he is, the type of person he is. And I just love seeing him out there, man, because he raises the whole level of our team when he’s practicing for us.’’

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©2024 The Seattle Times. Visit seattletimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

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