RENTON, Wash. -- Several months of contract negotiations between his agent and the Seattle Seahawks gave DK Metcalf plenty of consternation, even though the star wide receiver remained confident all along that it would end in a deal.
"It was a stressful process," Metcalf said Friday, "but glad that it's over now."
That stress didn't completely give way to joy until Metcalf took the stage at the auditorium inside Seahawks headquarters, a full day after ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the two sides had agreed to a three-year extension worth $72 million. Metcalf signed the deal Friday morning, then spoke to reporters afterward -- at times becoming emotional -- while flanked by coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider.
"It just hit me as I was sitting up here," Metcalf said. "I told my parents and I was just smiling on the phone. My mom started crying, dad started crying but I was just smiling. Then when I sat up here, it just hit me like, it's here. DK, it's time for you to step up."
Schneider thanked Metcalf for the patience and professionalism he showed during a negotiating process that, according to the GM, began at the scouting combine in February and was repeatedly impacted by the megadeals signed by other marquee receivers this offseason.
Metcalf drew laughter when he alluded to some gamesmanship he employed in negotiations. It was part of his response when asked if it was any more stressful watching his counterparts cash in.
"No because ... something was going to get done," he said. "It was going to be here ... as much as I bluffed to John. Just to let y'all know, I wanted to be here. I wanted to play here and I'm just glad that we got something done."
Metcalf's deal includes a $30 million signing bonus, a source told Schefter, which is the highest ever for a wide receiver. His $24 million new-money average ties Metcalf with the Buffalo Bills' Stefon Diggs as the NFL's sixth-highest-paid receiver and keeps him under contract in Seattle through the 2025 season.
"Just a big thank you to everybody that helped me get to this point in my life," he said. "I'm still not done. That chip hasn't gone anywhere."
Carroll had just referenced the proverbial chip-on-the-shoulder that Metcalf developed after falling to the final pick of the second round in the 2019 draft, six months after he suffered a neck injury that ended his final season at Ole Miss and threatened to end his football career.
Schneider recalled how determined Carroll was leading up to that draft to land Metcalf. After the Seahawks chose safety Marquise Blair in the middle of the second round, Carroll stepped out of the draft room to talk with Seattle's newest player. That's when Schneider reached a deal with the New England Patriots to trade up to No. 64, where Seattle would take Metcalf. When Carroll sat back down, Schneider slow-played it before breaking the good news.
"He was like, 'You've got to be kidding. DK Metcalf's going to be on our team?'" Schneider said. "It was so cool to be able to have that exchange right there. Bam, we made the trade and then to be able to get up to the 64th pick. I'll never ever forget that. It was a really exciting time."
Since then, Metcalf has gotten off to the most prolific start of any receiver in franchise history. His 3,170 receiving yards are most by any Seahawk in his first three seasons, while his 29 touchdowns over that span are one shy of the club record.
Metcalf said it was difficult to not take part in last month's mandatory minicamp -- which he missed with an unexcused absence -- and to watch the first two practices of training camp during his brief "hold-in." He's expected to take part in the Seahawks' next practice on Saturday. He said there's no issue with his left foot, which he had surgically repaired after playing through a fracture most of last season.
"Seeing him be so much more than just a football player is a great thrill for me," Carroll said. "Everybody talks about how he's a great athlete, he's a beast, he's all this kind of stuff. I don't like that talk about him. This guy, he's a complete person and he has so much to offer."
Metcalf wants to open restaurants in Mississippi that will promote healthier eating and combat the state's obesity problem.
"It really hasn't hit me until now that I have the opportunity just to help so many people back home and help my family," he said. "And just thinking about when I broke my neck and I was told I wasn't going to be able to play football again. And now this moment happening, it's just all a blessing. ... I just thank everybody because it took a village just for me to get here today."