This offseason has been quite interesting for the wide receiver market. We have seen no shortage of spending at the position, and the numbers grow bigger weekly. Two leading contributors fuel this spending: an inflating salary cap and an influx of talent at the position. The NFL salary cap dropped in 2020 – 2021 due to lost revenue during the COVID season. The 2022 salary cap is a return to the norm, and even larger numbers are on the horizon with an impending new TV contract for the league. We have also seen an influx of wide receiver talent unlike any time before. Players are coming out more NFL-ready thanks to a higher passing volume at the high school and college levels.
The latest player to take advantage of this market boom is Seattle Seahawks’ star wide receiver D.K. Metcalf. He recently signed an extension that totaled 3-years and $72 million. The new money AAV ties Stefon Diggs for sixth in the league and is now the biggest contract on the Seattle roster. Usually, a star wide-receiver getting a big payday to stay in town is excellent for dynasty value, but for Metcalf, that may not be the case. Let us take a look at why.
A Star Is Born
DeKaylin Zecharius Metcalf was a second-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft with the 64th overall pick. He played college football at Mississippi and was college teammates with Philadelphia Eagles star wide-receiver A.J. Brown. He totaled over 1200 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns during his time there. In 2018 he was even fourth in the nation in yards per reception (21.9)
He saw early success in the NFL that had many in the league questioning how he fell as far as the second round in the NFL draft. 2020 was his breakout season as he accumulated over 1300 receiving yards and ten touchdowns. He also played in his first and only pro bowl this year. He could take full advantage of the Russell Wilson deep ball as he finished fourth in the league that season with the highest average target depth (33.6 yards). Unfortunately, Wilson is now gone.
Tough Times Ahead In Seattle
The starting quarterback for the 2022 season is still yet to be determined for the Seattle Seahawks. Former Denver Bronco Drew Lock and last year’s backup Geno Smith will be battling throughout training camp and the preseason for the Week One starting job. Now you might be saying this is a terrible downgrade for Metcalf, and in the case of Drew Lock, you are probably right. However, Geno Smith, as the starter, presents an interesting case.
The four games where Geno Smith played significant snaps last year are listed above. In week Five against the Rams, he came in during the second half to replace an injured Wilson. Weeks Six through Eight, he started and played the entire game. D.K. Metcalf finished as a WR1 three out of those four weeks and even had two touchdowns in two of the four weeks. Geno Smith may not be the worst thing for Metcalf this season. Combine that with a bad Seattle defense playing from behind, and we can still get production from an elite wide receiver on a terrible NFL team.
What The Future Holds For Metcalf
Seattle should comfortably find themselves able to draft a new signal caller for the 2023 season. Despite being over a month away from the regular season, the Seattle Seahawks are currently the third favorite to have the number one overall pick in the 2023 NFL, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Next year’s draft class has two potentially elite quarterback prospects, Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s CJ Stroud. In addition, a handful of guys have the potential of a Joe Burrow or Kenny Pickett senior year that may propel them to the top of draft boards.
D.K. is a big-bodied receiver who can stretch the field. Stroud and Young have excellent arms for the deep ball and would make a nice pairing. There is always the risk that a rookie quarterback can turn up as a bust; that risk must be included with any evaluation of Metcalf going forward. Another important note is that with how the money is structured, it would be tough for Metcalf to be traded or cut before the 2025 season. He will remain a Seattle Seahawk until he hits his age 28 season when he will have the ability to test the open market if he wishes. Any dynasty manager who has, or is thinking of trading for, Metcalf must accept that he will be in Seattle for the next three seasons.
Now that we have thoroughly analyzed the situation, what must be done with D.K. Metcalf? The answer is simple, buy any perceived dip in value if you can. Managers may react to this news in various ways, but if any are panicking at the thoughts of Metcalf being attached to this Seattle franchise for three more years, you must take advantage of it. Here are some sample trades I could pull using our DynastyGM trade browser tool. I am quickly taking the D.K. Metcalf side of the transaction in all of these cases.
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