Prior to the start of training camp, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has made headlines for dating hip-hop/R&B star Ciara and most recently making an appearance and performance at the “Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards.”
But what Seahawks fans really want to see is some semblance of movement on Wilson’s contract negotiations with the team. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports that if no new deal is reached before players report to camp on July 30, both sides will table any further negotiations so Wilson can focus on the 2015 season.
That could be good news for the defending NFC champions, and does follow the pattern of Wilson’s agent Mark Rodgers. However, Rapoport spoke to several people who have “worked” with Rodgers before, and the indication seems to be that the longer negotiations go on the less likely a deal will get done.
Based off his incredible work during the first three seasons of this career, Wilson not only desires a contract that makes him the highest paid player in the league but potentially one that’s fully guaranteed, according to Rapoport.
The 26-year-old has launched 72 passing touchdowns to only 26 interceptions and notched 9,950 passing yards while completing 63.4 percent of his passes. An argument can be made that Wilson is the most dangerous dual-threat quarterback in the league. With the speedy feet and the power of a running back, he mananged 1,877 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in his career.
While a fully guaranteed contract might seem ludicrous given that a quarterback like the Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers doesn't have a completely guaranteed deal, Wilson’s accomplishments and development have paralleled Seattle’s resounding success. The Seahawks not only made the playoffs each season with Wilson under center, but claimed the NFC West title twice and have the potential to be the first team to reach the Super Bowl three straight times in more than two decades.
As such, Wilson hopes to be rewarded, and potentially have his new deal play a sort of retroactive role. Should Wilson play out the rest of his rookie contract this season, he’ll have made nearly $3 million -- a pay grade similar to third-string linebackers, not MVP-candidate quarterbacks.
The Seahawks and general manager John Schneider have directly benefited from Wilson’s cheap deal, but so has the signal caller. The case can be made that while Wilson’s contributions have raised Seattle to the top of the NFC, his below-market contract has allowed Schneider to keep defensive stalwarts like Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Michael Bennett, and Kam Chancellor part of the NFL’s best defense. The same can be said of Seattle’s acquisition of exciting tight end Jimmy Graham from the New Orleans Saints this offseason.
Wilson hasn’t threatened a holdout of any kind, which will certainly go a long way in the mind of Seattle brass, but he could wind up with the exclusive franchise tag next year. Rapoport reports that could mean a significant raise to $25 million next season and potentially $30 million in 2017, but both tags will only last for one year apiece and Wilson won’t have the long-term security that a five or six-year deal provides.
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll insisted to the media how vital Wilson is to the team, but he doesn’t seem to be "in-the-know" with respect to negotiations.
"Well, he's crucial, as are all of our guys, and we want him back playing for us forever," Carroll told the The Seattle Times. "There's a lot of work being done. It's underway right now and maybe it happens, I don't know. We're hoping for it."
No matter how the negotiations play out, tabled or spilling into next year, Wilson and the Seahawks will be wary of how much the situation bleeds into 2015.