POLL RESULTS: Frank Clark should be the Seahawks’ priority

The pass-rushing defensive end was the overwhelming choice to re-sign among Seattle’s free agents.

The votes are in, and Frank Clark is the overwhelming choice.

This week’s Seattle Sidelines poll asked readers to weigh in on the Seattle Seahawks’ free agents. Seattle has 14 players who become unrestricted free agents this offseason, including a handful of starters. Therefore, this week we asked: Which Seahawks unrestricted free agent is the most important for Seattle to re-sign? Here’s how you voted:

There were a huge number of votes on the blog this week, and they almost all went for Clark as the defensive end who’s Seattle’s best pass rusher received a whopping 81 percent of the vote. Pro Bowl linebacker K.J. Wright was a distant second at 10 percent, while run-blocking right guard D.J. Fluker received 7 percent. Just 2 percent chose the “other” option, with none of those voters specifying their choice.

I find this an interesting result, mainly because I was curious how much fan loyalty there would be toward Wright. Wright has been an extremely effective player for Seattle for eight years, including during the Seahawks’ two Super Bowl runs. But he’s also 30 years old and coming off an injury year, meaning there’s risk in giving him a long-term contract. Based on these results, it seems there’s little sentiment for hanging onto one of the last remaining members from Seattle’s glory-days defense.

It also seems the limitations in Twitter polls wasn’t a factor. Because Twitter only allows four options in its polls, I wasn’t able to list everyone I wanted in the poll, with left guard J.R. Sweezy and nickel corner Justin Coleman being others I strongly considered. However, the lack of “other” votes suggests that not including them — or any other players — didn’t affect the vote much.

As for the preference for Clark, it makes sense. Clark is in his prime at 26 years old, he’s coming off a 14-sack season in which he says he was playing at just 60 percent because of elbow injuries, and he fills a role that’s in high demand in the NFL.

That will be an issue for Seattle this offseason. Clark was in the final year of his rookie contract and hit the salary cap at just $1.187 million. He stands to get a raise by a factor of 10, which will have a significant impact on the Seahawks’ cap situation, especially with the team seeking to negotiate a contract extension with quarterback Russell Wilson this offseason, which will also have a major effect on the cap.

The good news for Seahawks fans is that Clark will likely be back in Seattle no matter what. Even if he and the Seahawks aren’t able to come to terms on a long-term deal, Seattle will no-doubt slap the franchise tag on Clark to retain his rights.

In exit interviews Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he was “counting on” Clark being back with the team in 2019. Based on these poll results, the fans are in lockstep.

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