Another story worth passing along this morning comes from USA Today, who had a writer in town this week to examine Russell Wilson’s off-field earnings and what it might mean for his future.
The story includes this quote from Mark Rodgers, Wilson’s lawyer and marketing agent.
“He’s created the opportunity to earn money, so you have to capitalize on some of that. It would be silly not to. It’s there for the making, people are interested in you, and he’s earned that ability to make money off the field. But there’s also another part of it, and one of my goals in putting these deals together is to put himself in a position financially where, if it’s not the right time to do a new deal, he won’t be forced to do a new deal.”
The most interesting part of that comment, of course, is the last sentence, where Rodgers appears to be implying that Wilson won’t feel compelled to take the first available deal — Seattle can re-sign him after 2014 but he doesn’t become an unrestricted free agent until after the 2015 season, which is when his original four-year rookie deal runs out — just because.
As the story notes, the Seahawks can’t do anything with Wilson’s contract until after this season. The expectation of everyone is that they will try to lock up Wilson for the long-term after this season. And by most accounts, Seattle appears in good shape to get something done. It’s part of why the Seahawks shed some contract last season and didn’t make any big-ticket signings of non-homegrown free agents, attempting to set themselves up as well as they can to take care of their own players. Seattle accomplished its major goals last year by re-signing/extending the likes of Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Michael Bennett. And while there are other key names on the plate for 2015 (K.J. Wright, Byron Maxwell, Cliff Avril), Wilson is obviously job one.
Jason Fitzgerald of OvertheCap,com assessed Seattle’s salary cap situation this way last May, following the extension given to Sherman and just prior to the draft. Given that Seattle hasn’t done much since in terms of adding to its cap number, the general idea still holds:
“Currently our estimates have Seattle with about $109 million in cap charges committed to 2015 as we enter the draft. They will lose about $5 million to draft picks next year leaving them with $114 million in cap charges for the full roster. That should be enough room to get things done with QB Russell Wilson, who stands to make a fortune from the Seahawks if they continue to be a playoff team, and LT Russell Okung provided that the cap jumps to the $140 million range.
However that is not going to leave the team with a great deal of wiggle room to bring in more expensive outside talent, so they have to draft extremely well and fill the voids with the low cost talent until they recycle out the new veterans in 4 or 5 years and replace them with the players drafted or signed in 2014 through 2017. They should be able to continue to attract reasonably priced free agents as well to try to fit in for a year or two, with those players knowing that they could make a contractual splash in Seattle or elsewhere once their time is up in Seattle. But the draft is critical for the team.”
(For reference, here’s what Wilson makes right now and how that compares to other QBs in the NFL)
So as Fitzgerald notes, Seattle will be in decent shape to get something done with Wilson, though not without likely making some hard choices along the way.
Rodgers’ comment, however, appears to indicate that Seattle may not be able to depend on getting the proverbial “hometown discount.”