Russell Wilson: The Smoke of Negotiating


Negotiations between Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks have gotten off to a slow start over a contract extension. This is not news. Contract negotiations between star football players and their parent organizations are always taking longer than anyone would think. So I think it is premature to get excited over an interview with KIRO radio where Seattle general manager John Schneider suggested that the team would move on from Wilson if the price became ridiculous.

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Of course it was great radio. Lots of people likely called in to say that losing Russell Wilson would be a boneheaded move. Might even have attracted some callers who said that it was the defense and not Wilson that was responsible for their success. However all it is was a posturing move by the Seattle GM to gain leverage in the early stages of negotiation.

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  • Wilson’s camp has been very good at promoting their guy in this process. There were rumors that Wilson wanted a fully guaranteed deal early on. At that point, people credited Wilson’s business savvy. The mammoth numbers in NFL contracts never really match up to the final earnings. Only the ‘signing bonus’ or the guaranteed portion of the deal is actually guaranteed. NFL teams can cut you at no further penalty before those larger dollar amounts kick in.

    So the assumption was that Wilson might take a smaller deal than Flacco or Brady, but the value would have been fully guaranteed. There were predictions that such a deal could overturn the NFL’s salary structure if other star players followed suit. What we were missing was that this was nothing more than a ploy for leverage.

    Wilson has made another one too, one that actually had me comment on it. That ploy was the baseball commentary. The subtle idea that Russell Wilson will just go play baseball if he can’t get the deal he wants. I will remind you that Wilson was a .230 hitter in single-A. The baseball talk makes more sense as a contract move.

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    So now GM John Schneider has made his stance. It will reflect reality just as much as the other things that have been said about the negotiation. The Seahawks would be fools to walk away from Wilson, but they can’t let him think that he is indispensable. The minute he becomes indispensable, no price is too high to retain his services.

    So if I were a Seahawk fan, I would hold off on getting too excited over the smoke with the Wilson deal. They’ll get it done eventually.