The NFL world isn’t quite sure where Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks are in negotiations for a contract extension for Wilson.
According to Terry Blount of ESPN, Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, sent the Seahawks a 16-page letter detailing exactly what he and Wilson are looking for in an extension.
Blount reports that it’s unknown exactly what Rodgers said in the letter, but the common belief is that it echoes what Rodgers said on 710 ESPN Seattle two weeks ago — that Wilson is prepared to play out the fourth year of his rookie deal, which pays him $US1.5 million this season, if the two sides can’t agree on a deal that Wilson likes.
Though Rodgers made the negotiations sound slow, but civil, he said he and Wilson are looking for a “fair” deal that rewards Wilson’s performance in his first three years.
During his radio appearance, Rodgers said:
“Russell Wilson’s under contract with the Seahawks and he absolutely, if he has to, would certainly be fine playing his fourth year under a four-year contract that he signed coming out, and then moving on from there. I don’t feel any particular crunch on time and any real particular deadlines.”
“I think what he’s looking for is what everybody’s looking for, and that’s a deal that feels fair, that feels reasonable and that at the end of the day makes him feel comfortable with the compensation he’s receiving for the skill and the performance that he’s delivering.”
Rodgers also added that he would characterise the negotiations as “positive and encouraging.”
Though he didn’t get into specific numbers for Wilson’s deal, there’s reason to believe he and Wilson want a deal that would blow away the $US80 million offer the Seahawks were offering, as reported by Danny O’Neil of 710 ESPN Seattle in May.
Cam Newton’s recent $US103 million extension, with $US67 million guaranteed, could help set the bar for Wilson. While Newton is a talented quarterback, his on-field success doesn’t compare to Wilson, who is virtually in a category of his own after going to two Super Bowls in his first three years. If Wilson is looking for a “fair” deal, as Rodgers states, it almost has to mean that he’s looking for something well over what Newton just received.
SI’s Peter King pondered the negotiations and similarly believes that Wilson is still looking for a mega-deal that would make him the highest- or nearly the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL. King writes:
“I don’t know what Rodgers wants, but I can assume it must be close to making Wilson the highest-paid quarterback in football… The highest-paid player in football today, in average compensation, is Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, at $US22.0 million. He signed the contract in 2013, when the league’s salary cap was $US123 million. Suppose Wilson signed a deal averaging $US22 million per. This year the cap is $US143.3 million. Rodgers’ deal, in year one, was for 17.8 per cent of the Packers’ cap. Wilson’s $US22 million average deal, if that’s anything near what he wants, would be for 15.4 per cent of the Seahawks’ 2015 cap. I only say that because it’s fair to think Mark Rodgers would be taking into account the fact that teams have $US20 million more to spend this year, and the cap is only going to go up.”
King adds that Wilson’s agent knows the salary cap will go up next season when Wilson will be finished with his rookie deal. If Rodgers and Wilson are trying to make a deal comparable to the market value of other top NFL quarterbacks, the rising cap will mean that in 2016 the percentage of the cap will be more money. That gives the Seahawks incentive to get a deal done this season before the percentage Wilson would receive goes up with the cap.
Rodgers says that Wilson isn’t caught up in labels like becoming the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL. However, Wilson is only slated to make $US1.5 million this year, far below many of his peers, most of whom haven’t tasted the success Wilson has had in his first three years. In the NFL, where career longevity isn’t guaranteed, Wilson and his agent have to be looking to cash in on a big deal while they have the opportunity.
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