RENTON, Wash. — Pete Carroll said Thursday the Seattle Seahawks remain optimistic about finalizing a deal with receiver DK Metcalf but are still unsure if running back Chris Carson will return from neck surgery.
The two offensive standouts didn’t take part in this week’s minicamp for various reasons. Carson had an excused absence pending medical clearance while Metcalf, who is up for a massive extension, stayed away in a somewhat surprising decision. The star receiver had received praise from Carroll for participating in the voluntary portion of the team’s off-season training program amid his unclear contract situation and his recovery from foot surgery.
On Thursday after the final practice session of the three-day mandatory mini-camp in Seattle, Carroll said he hoped Metcalf would be there, calling it unfortunate that he wasn’t.
“A decision he had to make,” Carroll said. “We missed him. He made a good contribution, was a part of everything we did and then he’s just not here. So I can’t say much about what he didn’t do here, but we’d love to have him with us.”
The Seahawks deemed Metcalf’s absence from minicamp unexcused, meaning he will be fined more than $93,000 for missing all three days. Carroll was asked if the team planned to issue these fines, but declined to answer, citing its policy of not discussing such matters publicly.
The 24-year-old Metcalf is entering the final year of his rookie contract after tallying 216 catches for 3,170 yards and 29 touchdowns in his first three seasons. He hasn’t missed a game since the Seahawks drafted him in 2019 with their last second-round pick. His performance and the exploding wide receiver market have put Metcalf in line for a deal that could average more than $25 million a year.
Carroll said there have been “some” contract talks with Metcalf’s side. The Seahawks typically don’t complete big-budget extensions for signed players until later in the summer.
“These are crucial weeks to get anything done and we’ll see what happens and hope we can work something out,” Carroll said. “[We’ve] really intend to do this.”
When asked if he was less optimistic about finalizing a deal with Metcalf than he was prior to his minicamp failure, Carroll noted that the Seahawks have had a strong track record of extending players they’ve wanted to keep long-term since he and general manager John Schneider joined in 2010.
“I’m not less optimistic, no,” Carroll said. “We’ve been going through this for years. It’s a challenging time. We’ve had so many high-profile people go through that process and how has that worked out for us? We found out in time. John is in. He’s so experienced at handling this stuff and DK has great representation and DK is a damn boy. But there’s no way to avoid the first time of it, the first time how it feels and the experience of it and all that… He’s a remarkable person. He’s a wonderful player. He has so much to offer the world and so I just don’t want him to miss this opportunity where we can’t figure it out. So we’ll do everything we can.
Carson, 27, only played in four games last season because of a neck injury that required what Carroll described as fusion surgery in December. According to Carroll, he still does not have full range of motion and was not medically cleared after a recent inquest.
Carroll said there would be a “big assessment to be made” when doctors meet with Carson again in a few weeks, adding, “They’ll meet again and see where he is and let us know.”
“We were here — it’s been like 10 days now — and had a really good opportunity to hang out with him and feel him,” Carroll said. “He’s worried because he wants to play and he loves the game and he’s a worker, he wants to work and push and all that and there are things he’s been a little bit reluctant to do, so he hasn’t been ready to do all this back then.
“It’s just hard for him. Our boys love this game they’re growing up with, and when they feel it might end, it’s hard. It’s difficult and it’s real. We’ll love him through it and help him as much as we can when that’s the case, as we do with everyone when things come to an end. It’s inevitable. it’s coming But it’s always too early. We’re trying to fend that off and he knows it. He’s struggling. He’s doing everything he can and he wants to keep up to the last word and that’s why he’s going to try.
Carson started all five of his NFL seasons as a Seattle starter. He surpassed 1,100 yards in 2018 (14 games) and 2019 (15 games), the two healthiest seasons of his otherwise injury-plagued career. He is signed until 2022 after testing free agency last offseason and returning to Seattle on a two-year, $10.425 million contract guaranteed $5.5 million.
The Seahawks re-signed Rashaad Penny in March and drafted Ken Walker III in the second round, strengthening their backfield with Carson’s soccer future in the air.
“He was one of my favorite Seahawks of all time,” Carroll said. “I loved what he stood for and what he brought and we would love to have him back with us. He is a very special player and a very special competitor on your team and on you. So we keep our fingers crossed.”