With Russell Wilson’s self-imposed April 15 contract negotiations deadline quickly approaching midnight, the Seahawks could face the legitimate possibility of an eventual future without their star quarterback.
As if Seattle needed anything else to enhance urgency as the front office tries to hammer out a long-term extension on Monday, Peter King of NBC Sports reported on Sunday night that if a deal isn’t reached by the deadline, Wilson and his representatives will no longer negotiate with the Seahawks.
And this isn’t just a one-year ordeal. Instead, it’s a now or never proposition, a threat by Wilson’s camp to cut off discussions altogether moving forward with the quarterback preparing to eventually test free agency.
The Seahawks hold plenty of cards in their corner to retain Wilson for the next several years, as he’s still under contract through 2019 and the organization can apply the franchise tag for the next two seasons. But while they would technically be allowed to use the tag a third time, Wilson would earn north of $50 million under those circumstances, a price Seattle simply couldn’t afford to pay.
Assuming this latest threat holds firm for up to three seasons, Wilson wouldn’t entertain any extension overtures by the Seahawks while playing the long game with sights on March 2022, when he could hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent.
Wilson would be 33 years old with 11 NFL seasons under his belt by that point, but teams would still be lining up to sign the six-time Pro Bowl signal caller, creating a bidding war unlike anything the league has ever seen.
Seattle still has several hours left to try to bridge these gaps with Wilson and agent Mark Rodgers. And there’s still a chance the Seahawks could call Wilson’s bluff and negotiations could take place at a later time while he’s betting on himself year-to-year on franchise tags.
But there’s still plenty of sticking points left to address with little time left on the clock. Along with discrepancies on guaranteed money, according to King, there’s a strong likelihood any new deal would have to feature mechanisms to adjust his salary based on fluctuations in the salary cap each year.
Other teams have considered such a contract with star players in the past, but there’s currently not a single similarly-structured deal in the league. It’d be an unprecedented, trend-setting move for the Seahawks to make, even for one of the best quarterbacks in the sport.
If the Seahawks are willing to go down that rabbit hole, then a deal may still very well happen today. If not? The reality of Wilson someday sporting another uniform would seem far more probable, if not likely.