In a move that both ensures he'll return for the 2019 season and gives the two sides a chance to negotiate a long-term agreement without the threat of another team stealing him away, the Seahawks have franchise tagged edge rusher Frank Clark, as first reported by The Monday Morning Quarterback's Albert Breer. According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Peter Schrager, the Seahawks still hope to reach a long-term agreement with Clark.

The Seahawks announced the move not long after:

It's worth noting that the Seahawks applied the non-exclusive franchise tag, which means other teams can negotiate with Clark, but if they were to sign him, the Seahawks would get two first-round picks. In other words, Clark leaving Seattle this year is extremely unlikely. Clark is good, but he's not good enough to justify the loss of two first-round picks.

Given his production and age (25), this was always the expected outcome. After releasing Cliff Avril due to his health, trading away Michael Bennett, losing Sheldon Richardson in free agency, and releasing second-round pick Malik McDowell before he ever played a single down for the team, all of which occurred in the past year, the Seahawks couldn't afford to lose their best defensive player up front.

Clark, a second-round pick in 2015, is coming off a career-best season that saw him rack up 13 sacks. In four seasons, he's tallied 35 sacks, 72 quarterback hits, and 136 combined tackles. 

Under the franchise tag, Clark will earn just north of $17 million in 2019. The two sides have until July 15 to reach a long-term contract agreement. 

It makes sense for the Seahawks to find a way to sign Clark to a long-term deal. For one, it'd likely lower his cap hit in 2019. Two, it'd make sure the franchise tag next season is freed up for quarterback Russell Wilson, who is entering the final year of his contract. And three, young pass rushers who are ascending talents often prove to be good investments. 

Case in point: Clark was the third edge rusher to be tagged on Monday, joining Jadeveon Clowney of the Texans and DeMarcus Lawrence of the Cowboys -- not to mention Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett