That is not a surprise.
Jones, who departed Florida State following the 1996 season, is the olny offensive lineman in Seahawks' history to be voted to the Pro Bowl.
"The more interesting question is if we didn't have Walter Jones on our team, who would we tag (as franchise player)?" coach Mike Holmgren said.
"But this one is a slam dunk and Walter knows it. ... There are salary-cap ramifications, but we have no choice. We were going to do that."
If not, it would cost a team two future first-round draft picks to sign Jones away. Jones, 30, is expected to make close to $7.2 million this season — if he does not sign a long-term contract.
Jones recently appeared in his fourth Pro Bowl in seven seasons and has been selected to three consecutive NFL all-star games.
The team and player can continue to negotiate until March 17. If no deal is reached by then, the sides would wait until July 15 to resume talks because any deal reached in the interim would result in the team losing the franchise designation for the length of the player's new contract.
Last season, Jones' agent, Roosevelt Barnes, and the Seahawks were not able to agree on a multi-year contract, and the tackle missed training camp and the exhibition season before he reported in time for the first game.
That summer, the Seahawks had offered just over $6 million a year for six years, with a signing bonus between $13 million and $14 million. Barnes wanted closer to $8 million a year, with a $16 million signing bonus.
Selected by the Seahawks as the sixth overall pick in the 1997 draft, Jones has started 106 games at left tackle.