The Seahawks got a contract extension done Friday with one of their key players who could have been a free agent following the 2021 season.
But, no, it’s not safety Jamal Adams.
Instead, the Seahawks announced they signed punter Michael Dickson to a four-year extension. Multiple reports stated the deal is worth up to $14.5 million in new money — and a possible total of $16 million overall — with $10.6 million in the first two years.
Dickson, a fifth-round pick in 2018 out of Texas and a native of Sydney, Australia, was due to make $3.384 million in 2021 on the last year of his initial rookie contract, with a $3.45 million cap hit. That salary was thanks to a raise Dickson received as mandated in the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement for being named to the Pro Bowl in 2018.
Dickson’s new deal puts him among the highest-paid punters in the NFL. The average of $3.625 million in new money over four years would put Dickson second behind only Johnny Hekker of the Rams. Hekker, a Bothell High grad, makes $3.75 million a year.
While full details are not yet available, the contract figures to be structured in a way to bring down the 2021 cap hit some by potentially turning some of that salary into a bonus. Seattle was listed as having $7.25 million in cap space for the 2021 season entering the day.
Regardless, the bigger picture is Seattle keeping Dickson — a key piece of a special teams unit that has been vastly improved the last few years — under contract through the 2025 season.
Dickson, 25, has emerged as one of the best punters in the NFL since the Seahawks made a trade with Denver to move up seven spots in the 2018 draft and take him with the 149th overall pick.
He made the Pro Bowl and was a first-team All-Pro pick as a rookie in 2018, and might have had an even better season in 2020 when he led the NFL with 32 punts downed inside the 20 and set a team record with an average of 49.6 yards per punt. Dickson also set a team record in 2020 with a net average of 44.4 yards per punt, which was second in the NFC and third in the NFL. He was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week twice in 2020.
Dickson’s signing also continues Seattle’s recent trend of keeping consistency with its kicking battery.
Long snapper Tyler Ott, who made the Pro Bowl in 2020, and kicker Jason Myers are each under contract through 2022.
Before Friday, Dickson was one of 23 players who could become free agents after the 2021 season, according to OvertheCap.com.
He is the second player to sign an extension this offseason, joining receiver Tyler Lockett, who signed a four-year extension in March that will pay him up to $69 million, with $37 million guaranteed.
Other potential unrestricted free agents following the 2021 season include Adams — who is due to make $9.8 million this season — left tackle Duane Brown, right tackle Brandon Shell, safety Quandre Diggs, running back Rashaad Penny, tight ends Will Dissly and Gerald Everett and cornerbacks Tre Flowers, D.J. Reed and Ahkello Witherspoon.
Dissly and Flowers, like Dickson, are members of the 2018 draft class and entering the final year of their rookie deals.
Adams is obviously the key player on that list for Seattle to work out an extension before the 2021 season, one that would both likely reduce his cap hit while also securing his future. Seattle gave up 2020 and 2021 first-round picks for Adams last July. The high price the Seahawks paid has led to the thought that the team will work aggressively to assure Adams remains with the team for an extended period, and that it is done before the season to avoid questions about his future.
Defensive players take single-digit numbers
An NFL rule change this offseason relaxed some of the requirements for which positions can wear certain jersey numbers.
Specifically, defensive players can now wear single-digit numbers. And the Seahawks announced Friday that three likely starters are changing their numbers as a result. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap II is switching to 8 from 43, with safety Quandre Diggs switching to 6 from 37, and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon to 2, after wearing 23 previously with the 49ers.
Dunlap and Diggs are taking jersey numbers they wore in college.
Here is a complete list of new jersey numbers for veterans (either players who are switching or players new to the team getting numbers assigned) as released by the Seahawks on Friday:
- 2 CB Ahkello Witherspoon
- 6 S Quandre Diggs (from 37)
- 8 DE Carlos Dunlap II (from 43)
- 9 QB Danny Etling (from 2)
- 10 QB Alex McGough (from 6)
- 11 WR Cody Thompson (from 81)
- 23 CB Damarious Randall (from 36)
- 26 S Ryan Neal (from 35)
- 35 CB Pierre Desir
- 36 CB Saivion Smith
- 46 TE Cam Sutton
- 51 DE Kerry Hyder Jr.
- 52 DE Darrell Taylor (from 58)
- 58 LB Nate Evans
- 65 G Gabe Jackson
- 70 OT Cedric Ogbuehi (from 74)
- 75 DT Cedrick Lattimore (from 65)
- 81 TE Gerald Everett
- 86 TE Nick Guggemos
- 90 DT Bryan Mone (from 92)
- 92 DT Robert Nkemdiche
- 93 DT Al Woods
- 99 DE Aldon Smith