The wide receiver room remains a bright spot for the Seattle Seahawks as they head into the 2024 season with the likes of DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Jaxon Smith-Njigba making up a formidable trio atop the depth chart.

But the team could be facing some tough decisions on that front in the coming seasons, one of those being deciding whether or not to re-sign the talented Metcalf. The sixth-year veteran’s which means talks of an extension could soon be on the horizon.

The average annual value of Metcalf’s current dealis $24 million, but he could be in line for a hefty raise after a bar recently set by a Minnesota Vikings star. The Vikings inked Justin Jefferson to a four-year, $140 million extension worth a yearly average of $35 million.

“When it comes to DK Metcalf, you can’t really knock the production,” Barnwell said. “He’s been healthy, he’s been available most of his career, he’s played really well, he seems like a locker room guy. It doesn’t seem like he has any issues there. So you can’t really poke holes in DK as a player.

Jefferson’s $35 million average salary is by $3 million over Philadelphia’s A.J. Brown. The supremely talented Vikings wide receiver led the league with 128 receptions and 1,809 receiving yards in 2022 and put up 1,400 or more yards in each of his first three seasons. He also surpassed 1,000 yards last year while playing just 10 games. So a contract extension of this magnitude was expected for Jefferson, but Minnesota’s roster construction is part of what helped make it affordable.

“For the Vikings, not that they would have ever really not signed Justin Jefferson – maybe they trade him if they really don’t like him for some reason – but they’re never gonna let him leave him free agency,” Barnwell said. “And it makes sense for them to sign him, not only because he’s an incredible player, but also because they have J.J. McCarthy on a rookie deal making a fraction of what a typical quarterback makes, and you want to surround your quarterback with talent when that happens.”

A team that is in a similar spot as the Seahawks are with Metcalf and the Vikings were with Jefferson is the Dallas Cowboys. Wide receiver Ceedee Lamb – last season’s NFL leader in receptions – is entering the final year of his contract this season. However, Dallas is already paying quarterback Dak Prescott a hefty sum of money, and he’s also in line for a new deal with his four-year, $160 million deal ending after this season.

“With someone like Ceedee Lamb, it’s tougher,” Barnwell said. “So with the Cowboys, do you pay Dak 60 (million) and then Ceedee Lamb 35? That’s a more difficult conundrum. I think if you have a rookie quarterback, it’s much easier to pay those wide receivers.”

Do the Seattle Seahawks extend DK?

“If you do go out and give Geno Smith a raise, if you do go out and sign Dak or someone significant at quarterback, if you trade for a Kirk Cousins, that’s a different question,” Barnwell said. “I think it’s tougher to get that deal done with DK. I still think you do it, but it really changes the sort of flexibility you have and maybe how aggressive you are in making that move.”

If the team decides to move on from Smith in favor of Sam Howell or another young quarterback on a rookie deal after this season, Seattle could save $25 million of Smith’s 2025 cap hit by releasing him.

“If you have a rookie quarterback taking over next year or someone who’s not making even what Geno is gonna make this year, I don’t think there’s really a doubt (about extending Metcalf),” Barnwell said. “I think you surround that (quarterback) with talent. You sign DK, (and) you hope that Jaxon Smith-Njigba is your number two receiver and he ends up being eligible for an extension in a couple of years from now and deserves one.”