Neither the Seahawks nor Russell Wilson‘s camp has publicly set a deadline for the two sides to reach an agreement on a contract extension. However, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, even though neither party has come out and said it, negotiations will likely be shut down once training camp gets underway.
Wilson and the Seahawks have been having discussions about an extension ever since the Super Bowl ended in February, but have yet to find a common ground. According to Rapoport, the two sides figure to ramp up negotiations in the coming weeks, with Seattle set to begin training camp at the end of the month. As we saw this week with a handful of franchise-tag players, deadlines often lead to deals, but for now, Wilson and the Seahawks aren’t close.
Once training camp begins, Wilson will focus on his play on the field rather than his contract, and agent Mark Rodgers’ history representing baseball players suggests that the closer Wilson gets to free agency, the less likely he is to sign an extension — in other words, if the two sides don’t agree to terms by start of camp, Rodgers may not be eager to negotiate a deal for his client following the season either.
Citing a source who has spoken to Wilson, Rapoport explains that the quarterback doesn’t necessarily want to hit free agency, but he wants to be paid as if he did. The 26-year-old also hasn’t totally given up on the idea of landing a fully guaranteed contract, particularly given Rodgers’ extensive experience with baseball negotiations, where guaranteed deals are the norm.
If the Seahawks and Wilson don’t reach an agreement this summer, the team will still have the option of using the exclusive franchise tag – likely to cost around $25MM in 2016 – to keep the former third-round pick off the free agent market. As I alluded to above, this year’s franchised players proved that receiving that tag can be the first step toward completing a deal. Still, Wilson has expressed a comfort level in playing out the 2015 season without a new contract, so it’s reasonable to expect him to continue to play hardball if he’s franchised by the club next year.
With Wilson reportedly looking to become the league’s highest-paid player, and the Seahawks looking to work out a deal that can accommodate the other big-money investments on their roster, time will tell if the two sides are able to reach a compromise. But it sounds like it won’t happen in 2015 unless it happens by the end of the month.