The Seattle Seahawks are a few short months away from defending their NFC crown, but the team’s consumed with various reports surrounding the ongoing negotiations with Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson over a new contract.
Wilson is scheduled to make a little over $1.6 million in the final year of his rookie contract next season. It’s a bargain-basement deal for a team leader who has made the playoffs every season with one Super Bowl title in two straight appearances, especially in a quarterback-driven league with so few available options.
Nevertheless, Wilson’s contract has allowed Seattle and general manager John Schneider to not only assemble but retain key members of one of the NFL’s most dominant and consistent defenses in history. Wilson’s cheap deal empowered the Seahawks to keep cornerback Richard Sherman, defensive ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, and safety Kam Chancellor. The only key contributor lost was cornerback Byron Maxwell this offseason.
The savings on Wilson’s deal, when taking into account the roughly $20 million the likes of Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and New Orleans’ Drew Brees average per year in total compensation, also helped Seattle ink running back Marshawn Lynch to a two-year, $24 million extension with $12 million guaranteed.
Seattle currently has $10.7 million in cap space, according to Spotrac, and could have as much as $27 million in 2016. But if Wilson is demanding the same type of deal as a Rodgers or Brees that leaves the Seahawks with little wiggle room to operate going forward.
The situation hasn’t entered the realm of a saga or even a distraction for the team, and doesn’t figure to either. Wilson’s lauded for not only his work ethic but his focus on the team and not necessarily personal accomplishments or enrichment. And his agent Mark Rodgers told MMQB.com earlier this week, after penning a lengthy letter to Schneider, that neither side is in a rush even after the Carolina Panthers pledged $103.8 million over five years with $60 million guaranteed to quarterback Cam Newton. Newton has only one playoff victory in four seasons.
“There’s no deadline, no pressure,” Mark Rodgers said. “Russell has a contract for this season, and he is fully prepared to play the season out if he does not sign another contract. It’s early June. They don’t report to camp till late July. I’ve always assumed this contract would take a while to get done.”
As the offseason rolls on and teams start straining camps in late July or early August, there could be much more on the horizon for both Wilson and the Seahawks.
Here are some other links and stories from around the league over the past couple days.
- While Tom Brady reportedly looked impressive in the first day of Patriots OTAs, team owner Robert Kraft was “cryptic,” according to NESN.com, about the status of Brady’s appeal over his four-game suspension at the start of next season for his alleged role in the “Deflategate” scandal. Kraft did say, in a veiled way, that he hopes Brady can return by Week 1. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will hear the appeal in two weeks.
Even though he caught six touchdowns last season, and the Patriots traded guard Logan Mankins to get him, the New England Patriots released tight end Tim Wright.
-Second-year Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles is also eyeing a $100-million deal, according to the Florida Times-Union.
- Owners of the San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams met with the NFL’s committee on Los Angeles opportunities Wednesday. Each team has been involved in a possible move to L.A. for several years.
Meanwhile, Raiders running back Latavius Murray has made efforts to be more of a “complete back” and has received some positive feedback from new head coach Jack Del Rio, who claims Murray has "done a nice job this offseason." Oakland is also trying out rookie receiver and No. 4 overall draft pick Amari Cooper as a punt returner.
- The Cowboys have raved about and provided encouragement to third-year receiver Terrance Williams, but the former Baylor standout is a bit uncomfortable with the praise, according to Dallas Morning-News. Another former Baylor star also made headlines this week, as running back Lache Seastrunk has signed with the club. Seastrunk spent 2014 on the Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers practice squads. Dallas also signed linebacker Justin Jackson and cut running back Synjyn Days.
-After suffering a torn ACL in Week 10 last season, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer was cleared to play in Arizona’s minicamp, which started Tuesday.
-From Pioneer Press, all seems well with running back Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings with head coach Mike Zimmer already deciding not to play the former MVP during preseason.