The Russell Wilson contract saga is coming

January 25th, 2019 | Written by Rob Staton

Russell Wilson’s current deal runs out after the 2019 season

Russell Wilson’s contract situation is about to become a long-winded and frustrating saga that could dominate the off-season and beyond.

Here’s why…

1. His 2015 deal set a precedent

The Seahawks and Wilson last began negotiating a contract extension after the Super Bowl loss to the Patriots. A deal was expected to be a formality. Other quarterbacks like Cam Newton had set the market. Wilson was due a base salary of only $1.5m in 2015 because he was still on a third-round rookie contract.

Everything was set up. Wilson no doubt sought proper financial compensation having reached two Super Bowls (winning one). The Seahawks wanted to keep a young franchise quarterback. The market had already provided the parameters for a deal.

And yet it took months for an extension to be agreed.

Instead of a formality it ended up being a long, protracted saga — played out through the media. Who knows exactly what Wilson and his agent, Mark Rodgers, had hoped to achieve? Rodgers came from a baseball background. Maybe he wanted a baseball-style contract with hefty guarantees? Maybe even a fully guaranteed contract? We’ll never know. Who can blame them for taking a shot?

Whatever was discussed — a relative stalemate occurred. And the thing that likely ended the stalemate was time. Wilson and his team wanted a deal before training camp for obvious reasons. A serious injury would’ve severely impacted his earning potential. The pressure was on to ensure Wilson didn’t miss out on his second contract — and the first lucrative deal of his career.

After a long wait a four-year $87.6m contract was finally agreed with $61.5m guaranteed.

The Seahawks in this situation had the upper hand. Wilson, as a third round pick, was not earning a fortune as a rookie. He needed a deal before the season began.

That won’t be the case in 2019.

2. Why the odds are stacked against Seattle

Wilson is now one of the richest and most successful NFL players in the league. Furthermore, he’s married to an incredibly wealthy and successful woman — forming a celebrity power couple.

His base salary in 2019 is $17m — not $1.5m. There’s simply no financial pressure to get a deal done this time.

Adding to this is the Kirk Cousins situation. Previously the franchise tag was seen as a hindrance to players. It was a way to get a nice lump sum (guaranteed) for a years work — yet the lack of long term security was seen as a problem. Cousins completely changed the perception of the tag. He gambled on his own health and performance and made considerably more than most other quarterbacks by playing on the franchise tag year after year. And when the increasing cost became too rich for the Redskins — they allowed Cousins to test the open market.

Cousins had his cake and ate it.

Someone else is going to follow his lead at some point. Considering how Wilson and Rodgers approached their last negotiation, they could be the ones to try and emulate Cousins. In 2015 they signed the deal right before training camp. This year, they could be the ones making a final demand of the Seahawks. And if the team won’t meet those demands — they’ll likely feel very comfortable playing for $17m in Wilson’s final season before anticipating the franchise tag.

If this happens — there’ll be little motivation for Wilson to do anything the following year either. Keep accumulating tags. Brady Henderson notes in this article how much he’d be set to earn:

Based on the 120 percent rule used to calculate franchise-tag values, the cost to tag Wilson would be $30.34 million (120 percent of Wilson’s scheduled 2019 cap number) in 2020 and then $36.41 million (120 percent of $30.34 million) in 2021.

Unless the Seahawks were willing to top those numbers and offer Wilson $36-38m per year on a long extension, why would he sign? He’d be getting $67m for two years work. Remember, his existing contract only contained $61.5m in total guarantees.

A third year on the tag would cost $43m. Under the current cap that wouldn’t be manageable. Who knows where the NFL will be in 2022? At the moment, however, that would likely be the point where Wilson tests the market. Just as Cousins did.

The Seahawks have no leverage in these talks. The only card they can play is an appreciation for Wilson, familiarity and the success they’ve so far enjoyed together. With tens of millions at stake that doesn’t seem sufficient.

Wilson and Rodgers can turn to the Seahawks and lay out three numbers: $30m, $36m, $43m. Annual figures all guaranteed with three franchise tags.

There’s simply no serious incentive for Wilson to take anything Seattle offers that doesn’t compare favourably to what he can get, fully guaranteed, under the tag. It’s not just the cap hit we’re talking about here. Three franchise tags equals about $110m fully guaranteed for three extra seasons.

So Mark Rodgers, Russell Wilson and whoever else is involved in talks will likely say they want a fully guaranteed contract worth the average of the three tags combined. And they’d be well within their rights to ask for it too.

3. How can the Seahawks gain any kind of leverage?

It’s really, really simple…

Draft another quarterback.

Not a seventh round pick either. Someone who they can realistically point to in a negotiation.

This is why I believe John Schneider has been so active in appearing at different quarterback pro-days in the last two years. I suspect he has been anticipating this impasse. And while there’s been online chatter that the Seahawks might trade Wilson as a point of philosophy or cost-saving — I think the reality is quite simple. They know they need a bargaining chip and some insurance and they knew the potential contract storm that was brewing.

This is why I’ve written about Kyler Murray and the Seahawks. Murray is an exceptional talent. He’s arguably the most talented player in the entire 2019 draft class. He’s accurate, has a rocket arm, makes the impossible possible, is elusive and a threat as a runner. He’s a sensational prospect. The only problem for some is he’s 5-9 and not a conventional pro-QB.

Schneider was in West Virginia to watch the Mountaineers play Oklahoma. I’m convinced he wanted to get a closer look at Murray (even if that wasn’t the sole aim for the trip).

Let’s imagine a scenario where the Seahawks draft Murray with their first pick in the draft (whenever that might be after they inevitably trade down). The reaction by the media and some fans will be to freak out. Does it mean they’re going to trade Wilson? Why have they wasted a pick? Why didn’t they draft a defensive lineman?

In reality, this would be the smartest and most logical business move the Seahawks have possibly ever made. And it’s without doubt the only way they’ll gain any kind of leverage in contract talks with Wilson and Rodgers.

Drafting Murray would allow the Seahawks to turn to Wilson at some point in the next two years and say it’s time to get serious. We’ve drafted Kyler Murray and we’re prepared to start him and trade you to another team. So how badly do you want to be a Seahawk? Do you want a legacy in this city? Do you want to be a one-team quarterback? Do you want to stay in this setting, with this front office and coaching staff? Or do you want to go somewhere else where the Head Coach doesn’t necessarily value improvisation? Or it might be a dumpster fire of a franchise or a lousy market.

They can tell Wilson and Rodgers it’s time for a compromise. Time to work out a deal that works for both parties. Or it’s time to move on.

Suddenly the onus is back on Wilson. The Seahawks can finally shoot their shot. And they can do so with confidence, knowing they won’t be left scrambling around to draft a rookie quarterback or sign whichever version of Sam Bradford is out of contract.

That’s how they gain some kind of leverage.

And there’s nothing — not one scenario — that is a negative after that happens.

a.) Wilson signs an extension and you either keep Murray as a backup or you trade him — just like the New England Patriots did with Jimmy Garoppolo.

b.) You trade Wilson for picks and name Murray your starter.

You could argue it’d be an expensive price to pay to win a negotiating battle with your starting quarterback. I’d argue it’d be one of the best moves this franchise ever made. They’d be covering their backs against a worst-case scenario of Wilson departing and they’d give themselves a better chance to extend Wilson’s contract by actually having a bargaining angle.

That’s why I’d draft Kyler Murray given the opportunity. Not to necessarily replace Wilson — but to potentially help keep him. And if that can’t happen well you might as well have an ultra dynamic player like Murray waiting in the wings.

4. If this is such a big problem why not just trade Wilson now?

Because you actually have to go through the process. Anything else is putting the cart before the horse.

You need to actually have the contract talks. Take part in the negotiations. Set deadlines. Identify compromise. Make ground.

When you’re talking about multi-million dollar contracts, these things take time. And the Seahawks and Wilson actually have to go through the motions a little here. Plus you also have to give each other the chance to get a deal done. If you give up on talks after a month and move on — that just seems like a situation you might end up living to regret.

It’s far better to strengthen your hand in negotiations and exhaust all eventualities than simply give up before giving the two parties any realistic chance to come together.

Is it impossible they consider trading Wilson this off-season? It’s highly unlikely and improbable. Jason La Canfora did note in September, however, that it could be a possibility:

“The Seahawks clearly still have ample time to work something out with the perennial All-Pro, though the months following the 2018 season will certainly bring the matter to a head. Going year-to-year on the franchise tag, especially for an elite quarterback in his prime, is less than ideal. Allowing Wilson to enter the final year of his contract at a time when contracts continue to soar and the cap continues to increase significantly (and could so even more with a wave of gambling-related revenue on top of the now-massive streaming rights) is risky, and Wilson’s trade value would be at its peak next winter, with some general managers I spoke to believing Wilson could fetch potentially three first-round picks in return.”

This report was made before Wilson had a career season and led the team on a playoff run. It’s fair to assume if this was a consideration in September it’s almost certainly less of a consideration now.

5. Does it have to be Kyler Murray?

It doesn’t. Observers in Mobile noted John Schneider was paying close attention to the quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl. There may be other players they’re interested in — potentially in the second or third round range.

There’s also a very reasonable chance Murray goes in the top-10 and isn’t even a remote option for Seattle.

The reason I keep bringing Murray up, however, is he’s such an outstanding prospect. It’s hard to even consider going from Russell Wilson to a non-spectacular quarterback. Will Grier and Ryan Finley don’t get the juices flowing in quite the same way.

Don’t take my word for it on Murray either. Here’s what Bob McGinn’s scouting sources had to say about him:

“I don’t know what you do with a guy that’s 5-9 but he is something special,” said one scout. “He would be a shorter version of Patrick Mahomes. He can be that special. He’d probably run like a 4.4 something. He’s a better football player than Baker Mayfield because he runs so well.

“He can be going full speed left or right and throw the ball the length of the field. I haven’t really broken him down yet because I figure he’s going to play baseball. But you go ‘wow, wow, wow!’ when you watch him. I wouldn’t want to defend him.

“The amazing thing is his arm strength. He’s accurate, too. He’s the closest thing I’ve seen to Mahomes.”

Operating in the same system under coach Lincoln Riley, Murray posted an outrageous NFL passer rating of 141.5 while rushing for 892 yards (7.3) and 11 touchdowns in 2018 whereas Mayfield compiled a 137.9 rating while rushing for 311 (3.2) and five TDs in 2017.

“He’s a better player than Mayfield,” another scout said. “Is he a better pro prospect? Mayfield (6-0 ½, 215, 4.84) was taller. I think Murray has a stronger arm. He’s Doug Flutie with all the better skills.

“Murray reminds me of Michael Vick. Not that tall. This kid is as explosive or more explosive. He’s got more accuracy and more ability to run a pro team than Vick did early.”

The pending Wilson contract saga could be the defining storyline of the current off-season. It could drag into next off-season too. So be prepared for what’s coming.

If you missed the Seahawkers podcast this week, don’t forget to check it out. We discuss the Wilson contract situation, the Senior Bowl and the off-season in general:

Also check out our Senior Bowl practise review with notes on why Andre Dillard, Terry McLaurin and Deebo Samuel were the standout performers with honourable mentions for Washington duo Kaleb McGary and Drew Sample.

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185 Responses to “The Russell Wilson contract saga is coming”

  1. Nick says:

    Wonderful hypothetical offered here, Rob. You know what team has three first round picks? OAK. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jon Gruden would be VERY interested in grabbing himself a franchise QB. He’s always seemed to gush over Russell Wilson.

    I wonder if that would be the sort of deal SEA would seek. That could allow them to draft Murray, a DE, and an offensive weapon (prob TE or WR). I know, I know. Total speculation. But it could happen…

    • Rob Staton says:

      I will stress — I do not expect the Seahawks to trade Wilson. I don’t even expect them to entertain the thought.

      The point of the piece is really to highlight the potential storm that is brewing. Wilson and his team, quite rightly, will be viewing a situation where he can earn $17m in 2019, $30m in 2020, $36m in 2021 and $43m in 2022 if he’s willing to do ‘a Kirk Cousins’ and go year-to-year on the tag.

      So the Seahawks need two things — some insurance in case they do have to part ways with Wilson and a young QB they can use as a bargaining tool by putting the onus on Wilson to compromise on a deal or they’ll move on.

      The purpose of the piece is this — to anticipate and discuss why they might draft a QB early. Because everyone — fans, media — will go ape s**t if/when it happens. I wanted to spend some time discussing why it might so we’re prepared for that eventuality.

    • Hawkster says:

      Seeing the Gruden crush on Wilson – Wilson to OAK for their first round picks (all of them, 4, 24, 27).
      Seattle has 4,21,24,27, puts two of those together to get the #1 and take Murray.
      Saves a bunch of money, picks with one of the remaining 1st rounders, trades the other down, and has the cash to be more active in free agency or sign their own (Clark, Wagner, OL etc)

  2. Awsi Dooger says:

    Step back and look at the big picture. If you spend all those paragraphs raving about Kyler Murray and what a special player he is, along with quoting others emphasizing the same thing, then how can you expect him to be available when the Seahawks pick?

    That is not the real world. The slant of this thread should have been the opposite, with the 80% chunk toward Murray not being available, and 20% that he somehow could slip that far.

    Teams do not allow first round quarterbacks to settle to an awaiting team. That trend has been established for a long time. Outside the first three picks, the last first round quarterback who was chosen without a trade up involved was E.J. Manuel to the Bills with the 16th pick in 2013.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Maybe you should heed your own advice and take a step back.

      It’s an article broken down into five sections with one discussing Murray and one other directly saying he could easily be off the board and that they might have to look at other options. The rest is a very detailed discussion about the pending Wilson contract saga — the meat of the article.

      It’s baffling to me that you’re entire takeaway from this piece is ‘stop going on about Murray, you should’ve written about him not being available, you’re not in the real world’. How did you read this and have any thought that 80% of it was about Kyler Murray? That’s ridiculous.

      I’ve been projecting Murray to be a top-five pick for weeks (as far as I’m aware the first to do it) so I’m well aware that he might not be available, as noted in the piece. Plenty of others have him going in the late first round or later. So I’m not going to assume I’m right and just block any talk of him maybe being available. He’s a 5-9 quarterback and not many of them go in round one let alone the top-10. So I’m very prepared to be right or wrong on his stock.

      A very bizarre response.

  3. YankinTa says:

    Well, this is simple. Pay him what he wants and market dictates. Otherwise deal with the fact that he’s gonna go to another team with better weapons and better O-line and win SB after SB. It’s a no brainer, really!

    • Rob Staton says:

      It’s not quite as simple as that though. The market suggests he should get about $34m per year if he deserves to be the highest paid player in the entire NFL. Aaron Rodgers’ contract is worth $33.5m. I don’t believe Wilson warrants millions more than Rodgers. You could argue he deserves to be paid less. The second highest paid QB gets $30m a year (Matt Ryan) and then it’s Cousins ($28m) and Jimmy G ($27.5m). I wouldn’t argue with anyone who says Wilson’s value based on the market is probably $31-33m.

      However — as the article notes — if Wilson is motivated to go down the franchise tag route, aside from the lack of long-term security at the position, the never ending questions and the slow dance of a looming departure that Kirk Cousins and Washington went through, he can also get himself $36m in 2021 and $43m in 2022. So that’s way over what the market dictates.

      So while any of us can sit here and use that tired old phrase, ‘pay the man’, the reality is Wilson’s team are probably pitching their opening gambit at somewhere between $36-40m a year. And Seattle will be offering much less. And neither side is going to budge because Seattle won’t overpay and Wilson knows the tag is his friend.

      It’s a very complex, difficult situation. I hope that translates in the piece (although I fear not based on the initial reaction). They have to start preparing for a future without Wilson even if a future with him exists. Because the Seahawks currently have no leverage and Wilson has no motivation to agree a deal.

  4. SamL says:

    If the situation really does play out like this, the Seahawks are in big trouble because it’s very unlikely that Murray falls to them. However I think the Seahawks can point to the Patriots and how they’ve dealt with Brady, and ask: Do you want to win super bowls and go to the hall of fame? I’m not saying ask him to get 25 mil a year, but maybe 33 or 35. It’s not like he’s in need of money, as you mentioned Ciara is also very rich. I also think Russel is a great guy and will look at the franchise tag route and see that it hurts his team and will eventually lead to the end of his time in Seattle. I expect them to get a 5 or 4 year deal with about 35 mil a year done. However, this could just be wishful thinking and it really could go the way you have said, in which case all I can say is good luck Seahawks. You’ll need it.

    • Rob Staton says:

      In 2015 I anticipated a straight forward deal for so many reasons. Wilson’s rookie deal made him severely underpaid, the success they’d had and I thought staying in Seattle and winning would be important to RW. Instead it took all summer for a deal to be done — and it got done because Wilson and his team didn’t want to play on essentially a $1.5m one-year deal in 2015.

      Because of that, I can’t see Wilson taking less money (even $33m) to ‘just get it done’ and try and do the team a solid. He and his team were aggressive last time and dragged this out to the max. He is a very ambitious man — with ambitious stretching beyond this spell with the Seahawks. Kirk Cousins and the franchise tag situation will be right in their minds.

      I think the Seahawks are in trouble. And I think that’s why they need to prepare for life after Wilson RIGHT NOW. Even if they eventually down the road find common ground and reach an agreement with Wilson. They have to start planning immediately. That’s the point of the piece. I wanted to raise this now so we’re not surprised in a few weeks or months if this ends up playing out as I think it might.

      • BruceN says:

        I think the Seahawks should offer Russell a fair deal ($30M-$32M/year, multi year with 50%-70% guaranteed) and take a chance on his common sense. $36-$40M is a non-starter. Football is a team sport and a QB relies on his sorrounding players more than any other sport. For the life of me I don’t understand the logic of squeezing every dollar out of a contract and then having to play scrubs around you. Ask how that worked out for Andrew Luck who got pummeled for a couple of years and almost ruined his career. Brees and NO we’re in the same boat until they hit a HR with their 2017 draft picks. Everyone talks about the genius of the Patriots (mostly deserved). But their dynasty would not be so without Brady helping them with the CAP. If he doesn’t buy into that logic, trade him. As you said, prepare by taking a QB early in the draft.

        • Rob Staton says:

          Here’s the thing though — is it common sense to deny yourself millions of dollars over the next four years?

          Because $30-32m a year is not $30m, $36m, $43m — which he’s guaranteed to get if he goes down the franchise tag route.

          I don’t think Wilson would accept losing millions, not should he really. The system is set up for him to capitalise.

          • BruceN says:

            I gues that’s the decision he needs to make. Make more money, lose and get beaten to a pulp or make a little less and be part of a successful program. He should talk to Kevin Durant.

            If he decides to go for the money, trade him. NFL’s landscape has changed. Teams that pay $36-$40M to one player will not succeed. Look at the successful and up and coming teams like Chicago, Rams, Phil, KC, etc. They all have one thing in common and They have QB’s on a rookie contract.

            • Rob Staton says:

              It’s not a choice of ‘make more money, lose, get beaten up’ or stay with the Seahawks though, is it? It could be ‘earn what you want somewhere else and win’. Kevin Durant left a team with zero titles and joined one and has now won titles so it’s probably not the best example.

              It’s simply this — Wilson knows what he can earn by playing the franchise tag game. The Seahawks are likely going to have their resolve tested, their willingness to be in some form of limbo. They may find common ground and let’s hope so. But until that day they need to plan accordingly (and will be doing — the piece is anticipating that act not suggesting it).

              The rookie QB contract situation is overplayed. The Saints and Pats don’t have rookie contract QB’s. Neither did the Eagles, Seahawks, Chargers or Colts. The Ravens may have started a rookie QB but they were still paying Flacco.

              You’re more likely to win with a talented QB than you are a cheap one who isn’t as good. And it’s very possible to build around an expensive QB. Just look at the Saints as a case in point.

              • BruceN says:

                Good discussion. It’s OK to agree to disagree on this one.

                My example of KD was that he knew he could make much more by going to other teams like the Knicks but chose to take less and play with the Warriors to win.

                Wilson may have the upper hand by going the franchise route. That’s why I agreed with your original premise. Start talks with him now and gauge his state of mind. If he is not committing long term, draft a QB and plan to move on. Trade him when you can for a bundle of draft picks. Don’t get to the end of the contract without a solid plan B. Franchise route is not a good plan B as you laid out.

                As for the rookie contract observation, every team in the playoff this year either has a QB on a rookie contract or they are paying $20M-$24M for theirs (Phil’s two QBs count $20M against the CAP, NE and Brady at $22M, Rivers and Chargers, $22M, Brees and NO $24M). So a jump to $36M-$40M will cause issues elsewhere when we can’t afford the supporting cast. NO will get hit with $33M against the CAP in 2019 for Brees. Let’s see how they handle that (a side note, NO went 7-9 in 2014-2016 prior to their great 2017 draft).

                Not sure if I can post a link. But here is an interesting article on Denver Post on QB’s and their contracts.

                https://www.denverpost.com/2018/12/17/nfl-highest-paid-quarterbacks-watching-cheapest-in-playoffs/

                • Rob Staton says:

                  Saving 7-10m on a QB compared to the highest paid doesn’t makes any significant difference to the roster.

                  Essentially it’s half a good pass rusher. Or Luke Joeckel.

                  It’s a massive red herring and a totally overstated narrative.

                  • BruceN says:

                    We can’t look at it at $7M-$10M. Russell has a $23M CAP number. If it goes to let’s say $32M that would be a $9M increase that has to come from somewhere else. If that number goes to $40M now we have to come up with $17M. That is a number to consider. Can this team come up with an extra $17M a year without hurting the rest of the roster? I love us to extend Russell but at what cost?

                  • Rob Staton says:

                    It won’t get to $40m. When it gets to $43m (third year on the tag) that’s when he leaves.

                    As for $9m — it’s nothing. It’s Bobby Massie. That’s why the rookie contract narrative is a red herring.

    • lil'stink says:

      I don’t put too much stock in those “celebrity net worth” sites but, if they are at all accurate, state that Ciara’s net worth is around $20 million. Gisele Bundchen’s is pegged at around $400 million.

      Ciara’s wealth won’t play a factor in the Wilson negotiations. Wilson doesn’t strike me as a guy who would do what Brady did in terms of taking a little less money.

      • Rob Staton says:

        It’s not so much that Ciara needs to have $200m. It’s simply that Wilson’s financial situation is very different than it was in 2015 — when he and his team still made very hard work of getting an extension done.

    • McZ says:

      Reportedly, Russ is in the game for a Portland MLB extension franchise. Alwo had some contacts to Seattle NHL and the Bring-back-the-Sonics stuff. He is a clever businessman, much cleverer than ET.

      The idea, that he needs to stay in Seattle to win SuperBowls… he plays in a run heavy system showing zero adaptability , having no short passing ie a big looming play gap behind enemy LBs. This is how Pete Carrolls offenses are built, and while they guarantee a certain degree of competitiveness, they are currently a long shot from winning anything.

      I fully expect Wilson to play hardball on this in any negotiation. There is a 50% chance, he will break with PC over this. As a result, will play 2019 in a one-and-done SB-window, then he will be gone. For this stance I was laughed about last draft season, because I wanted Lamar Jackson to hedge against this.

      The Hawks cannot draft Murray. The Hawks can accumulate talent, that allows succeeding with a player like Will Grier or even Jake Browning (who is as talented as Brady was and is as of a locker room force as Brady has grown into).

      • GerryG says:

        Pump the brakes a little on Jake Browning. He was turnover machine last season that cost his team two games, and has a noodle for an arm.

        • McZ says:

          Had a bad season. A lot of people had. Also, people seem to forget how dire the days were pre-Browning.
          If we can take him in UDFA, we will see, how he can compete. Zero risk.

  5. C-Dog says:

    Rob, if Murray is taken early, do you think there is another QB they would consider early, either day one or two, or is it more likely they avoid the position again and look towards the 2020 class if they have to burn a tag on Wilson?

    FWIW, I’ve been okay with the notion of the tag game, but my nerves get a bit uneasy when you consider Wagner and Reed are also going to be do. Feels like saving the tag for Wilson might up the ante on other two.

    I think trading Wilson is nuts, but if Murray looks like the only QB worthy of a first round pick, if Seattle is ever aiming at potentially getting a haul for him, this would be the year. Nuts, I say.

    • Rob Staton says:

      That’s another good point to raise. You can’t tag Wilson, Wagner and Reed. So if you get into the next off-season and two of those players aren’t re-signed — what are you going to do? And what about Clark — if you have to franchise him this year?

      I’m not trying to be a doom monger here but nobody else is talking about these issues. While people argue about philosophy and suggest unrealistic free agent targets — there are very serious issues to discuss about the future of the QB and three other key players.

      People think the Seahawks have cap to spend. Clark, Wilson, Wagner, Reed. All out of contract in a year. Only one can be tagged. What are they going to do? It’s a critical off-season — not because of who they draft or who they add. It’s about who they can keep.

      As for quarterbacks — I’ve not see any other that is particularly intriguing other than Murray in this class. I haven’t studied them as closely though.

      • mishima says:

        Great article!

        Players are increasingly willing to play out contracts and/or sign franchise tags to reach free agency, so I expect the Seahawks to lose some, if not all, of Wilson, Clark, Reed, Wagner.

        So, the Seahawks can either get proactive and trade some valuable assets or wait for them to reach free agency and settle for comp picks…maybe.

        No depth at QB, LB, pass rush. They need draft picks. So…

        Worst case scenario: Trade Wilson and Clark. Try to extend Reed. 3rd contract for Wagz? Brain/no, but heart/yes. Hate the plan, but can see the logic: If players are set on free agency, move them or lose them.

        I am Doom/Gloom, but at least I’m not a Packer.

        • Rob Staton says:

          The problem I see is — in no circumstance whatsoever am I considering trading Wilson and/or Clark this off-season. This team just won 10 games and made the playoffs. Moving both would be flying the white flag. You’d be doing what Oakland has just done. You’d be gutting your roster, embracing a potentially long-ish rebuild or at least be accepting it’s possible.

          And yet I don’t think you’re wrong for contemplating it either. Because it’s such a difficult and headache-inducing situation. They have to negotiate, somewhat aggressively, with Wilson, Clark, Reed and Wagner during THIS off-season. Otherwise next year could be a nightmare where you lose more key players with zero compensation. And your quarterback could start playing games with the tag that he’s well within his rights to do but could make life very difficult for the Seahawks.

          It’s a huge off-season. More so than a year ago. And nobody seems to realise it.

          • mishima says:

            I agree to a point.

            We overachieved in 2018 and it was a blast. Youth, energy, identity, etc. However, I won’t confuse the wins with a foundation for success. There is little to no depth, an aging/expensive core and little cap space and few draft picks to address serious problems.

            We don’t need to fly the white flag, but maybe retreat/regroup/rethink the next 5 years. Do we need the highest paid QB to win the Carroll way? Should we give a 3rd contract to Wagner? Is Clark consistent enough to make him the highest paid defensive player? I’m not convinced committing $90-95m/year to Wilson/Clark/Wagner/Reed matters if we don’t address overall lack of talent. They need to sync contracts with quality drafts and free agent signings. Not addressing QB (or LB) depth for 8 years is/was a mistake.

            I guess I’m just looking forward to the next gen. With some bold moves, 2019 could see Murray slinging it, Bush and Hodges getting time at LB, LOB 2.0 continuing to grow, Carson/Penny running wild, etc. That’s a reset.

            Ramble / buggin’.

            Loving the quality + content: You’re killing it.

          • Pedestrian says:

            I raised this eventuality last off-season.. I wanted to start the conversation of trading some valuable players like Wilson, Wagner, Baldwin. Not trying to say I told you so, just frustrated because I was put on blast for proposing the idea.

            I can’t say for how long Wilson will be playing at a high level, but I think his peak is already here and looking downwards. Either scenario rob laid out seems like a bad fit for the hawks with a lot of roster turnover at other positions coming also.

            Rip the bandaid off. Trade Wilson when the return in picks is best. Rebuild the offense around a new young QB. Lean on the run and defense as we did in 2012. Big change is coming like it or not. Embrace it and lean in, or get swept to the side without a plan

          • Mountainsage says:

            I must disagree, Seattle won 10 games by overcoming Wilson’s performances by having an above average defense. Around half of the sacks, missed throws to open receivers, lack of willingness to throw to receiver coming open, taking sack rather than throwing to the flat are on Wilson. If he goes to another team, he’ll fails because he is a product of a system, just like all of the Carroll Era USC QB’s. Overall, the QB thing is going to have to change because expense is getting to extreme for the results that are being produced. There are maybe two QB’s that are truly worth the money because they can win with any combination of players of the team…Brady and a case could be made for Rodgers.

            • Comfect says:

              “Seattle won 10 games by overcoming Wilson’s performances by having an above average defense”

              Really? Because DVOA has them as the #9 offense and #14 defense. In more traditional stats, tied for #6 in PPG, with the defense at #11. So the defense is indeed above average (which would of course be 16-17) but the offense is more so.

              • AlaskaHawk says:

                The offense looked like crap for half the season. They couldn’t even make a third down conversion against the Cardinals. So don’t let the stats go to your head.

      • C-Dog says:

        Strong points. I never been one to buy into the idea that they would be spendy in FA. If think Carroll and John prefer to take care of their own. As much as I think it is nuts to parlay Wilson for picks, it would be a Clubber Lang gut punch to lose any one of Clark, Wagner and Reed. All foundational pieces and none can be expected to come cheaply.

        I think it’s worth revisiting Carroll’s season end presser when he was asked about the importance of Wilson, and through the course of assuring his importance, he brought up his philosophy of having enough talent spread all throughout the team, including QB. Davis Hsu’s argument has always been that it’s tough to do that with an expensive QB, and I thought Carroll was essentially saying “yes Wilson is included in that,” but I wonder if there wasn’t a little intentional vagueness. I think all he said is that they will be working on it this offseason. He didn’t say Russ is are guy and we want him to be a Seahawk for life.

        • Rob Staton says:

          I don’t think Pete would ever go that far and say that to be honest. And I think the angle of not being able to have a talented roster with a top-paid QB is a bit of a red herring. If they could sign Wilson for $32m a year right now, I think they would.

          I think it’s as simple as this — with every franchise tag the cost rises. Eventually you get to a point where you can’t pay any more. And then you lose your guy — just like the Skins and Cousins. And the Seahawks know they have to be ready for that happening, if/when it ever happens.

          • Cayjake says:

            One thing that might be being overlooked at this point is how the new CBA is going to play out as far as the different tags go & salary cap percentage numbers.

            I’m of the opinion that’s a major reason for Schneider not having many contracts (other than the rookie’s) going past the 2020 season.

            Until the new CBA is figured out, wouldn’t be surprised to see the team slow play the big, long term deals unless the player signs a team friendly deal to have money in the bank due to the uncertainty of the CBA situation. Gauranteed cash & bonus up front, favorable yearly cap cost for the team going forward on acceptable terms for both parties, might be something to watch for.

            Will be interesting to see what guys like Clark, due their 2nd contract do. If they feel that the new CBA negotiations are going to be contentious, do they want money in the bank? Or be willing to gamble & wait on what they hope is a bigger payday after the new CBA is ratified?

            Also, different topic but could be relevant to the above. Is there a posibility of the new CBA having % of salary cap limits on certain positions to ensure overall team competiveness?

            Pretty sure the GMs wouldn’t mind being able to distribute their cap dollars a little more equitably on the roster by having those positional limits. Makes coaching even more important while simplifying negotiations with the positional players.

            Position salary caps similar to the rookie caps to allow the teams and players relief from the unintended consequences of the last CBA. It allowed one or two players on a team to get large percentages of the cap while generally preventing the longer term development of the mid tier players which has led to lower quality of play at certain positions, ie: OL.

            It seems that not enough players get 2nd contracts to be able to develop into solid, journeymen type professionals due to cap limitations & teams forced to go with cheaper rookie deals to fill out the rosters.

      • Jesse says:

        I think he is gonna go to LA and replace Philip Rivers. He loves LA as does his wife. I think he may own a house there. The question if this unlikely scenario (willing to admit it’s just fun to talk about, is what can the Chargers offer the Hawks for this. I feel like I see Seattle teams consistently trading players while their trade value is lowest. Rivers may have one more season right? Anyway, I’ve heard rumors that he wants to play in LA.

        • Rob Staton says:

          I think it’d be strange for anyone to covet a move to the Chargers right now. They’re a team with no grip on Los Angeles. The other team that moved there is in the Super Bowl. They play away games every week in a soccer stadium and will be the tenants in the Rams’ new stadium.

          However much he likes LA and may want to spend time there, it’d be a truly awful move for any QB. That is a franchise that could end up being totally defunct once Rivers retires. I suspect Philip will play on for several years yet. He isn’t slowing down. But I’d be surprised if Wilson’s plan is to replace him with the Chargers.

  6. AlaskaHawk says:

    I just don’t have that much invested in Russell Wilson. Great player, kind of streaky, limited variety of passes. Best at throwing the deep ball. Has transitioned from scrambling QB to pocket passer.

    What to do? It is simple enough. Negotiate and pony up the money, thus depriving the team of 2 or 3 other excellent players due to the cap. Or find someone else, preferably on a rookie salary for 4-5 years, and pay for 2-3 more pro bowl caliber players.

    If the Seahawks did have another QB to play with it would just put them in a similar situation as the Eagles with Wentz and Foles. I’ll let you guys decide which player is most like Wilson.

    • Rob Staton says:

      It’s not about depriving the team of 2-3 other players. That’s an overstated angle in all of this. The problem is purely the inability to get a deal done. You’re not paying Wilson $43m for a season of football. You’re just not. And yet that’s what he has in store if he’s just willing to play the next three seasons without agreeing a contract.

      The Seahawks can’t just wait for that moment when he becomes unattainable, then be forced to let him walk and then be left without a starting QB. This is all about long-term security and planning at the most important position — and how the tag is both appealing to Wilson and the enemy of this team.

      • AlaskaHawk says:

        They must be looking as they just acquired Paxton Lynch. I’m going to be curious to see how long he sticks. Since negotiations are coming up, maybe they keep him for a year regardless of performance.

  7. Bankhawk says:

    Rob, having watched the growth and development of the Hawks over the Carroll years has been a blast, but the kicker here has been watching you and the blog go through a parallel process-from the recognition of the physical ideal sought by the team in drafting new talent, to the realizations of your T.E.F. paradigm to your current open-mindedness on the topic under consideration here.

    Whatever happens with this year’s draft and Russells future contact status, you show the vision and flexibility to keep coming up with the right grist for the conceptual mill to fuel meaningful conversation on a full range of possibilities in our joint exploration of the spaces JS/PC might choose to take the team into as we move forward. All this AND the ability to keep it all centered and out of that hysterical mode of carping and backbiting that predominates in so many other regions of social media! Never stop, my man!

    • Rob Staton says:

      That means so much to read that, thank you. I don’t have sufficient words to explain how grateful I am to everyone who visits and reads this blog and cares what a guy in Britain has to say about anything to do with the NFL.

  8. hawksince77 says:

    Rob,

    Thanks for the well thought piece. It’s the opportunity I have been waiting for. My thoughts in logical order:

    1 – The goal for PC/JS is to win championships.

    2 – The PC model for winning championships is to play crushing defense and run the ball.

    3 – PC went to 2 SBs with a crushing defense and the best (or near best) rushing offense in the league

    4 – PC went to 2 SBs with a 2nd and 3rd year QB who hadn’t yet reached his potential

    5 – PC went to 2 SBs with an uber cheap QB (and a killer defense)

    6 – PC let Sherman, Lynch, Bennet, walk

    7 – PC/JS would not pay a third contract to Thomas

    8 – PC/JS didn’t trade Thomas when they had the chance. Now they get nothing for him as he leaves in FA.

    9 – studies have shown that teams that pay top dollar for QBs struggle to win championships (the Patriots the exception)

    10 – PC/JS, for all the reasons you cite above, are unlikely to sign Wilson to a 3rd contract.

    11 – for the reasons you cite above, PC/JS will probably not franchise Wilson.

    12 – Wilson has shown no particular loyalty to Seattle in terms of contract talks (as you point out above)

    13 – therefore, the coming year is likely Wilson’s last with the Seahawks

    With that reasoning, and for the sake of discussion assuming that it’s sound, the following options exist:

    1 – Wilson plays out his contract and leaves in FA. Perhaps Seattle gets a comp pick, perhaps not

    1A – PC/JS draft a QB this year (doesn’t matter who) with the thought that he will start in 2020

    1B – with so little draft capital, little else can be accomplished other than drafting Wilson’s replacement

    1C – With a 1st contract QB, Seattle has more cap space to build the defense PC wants

    2 – Seattle franchises Wilson and then trades him, ala what NE did with Matt Cassel

    2A – same draft scenario/cap advantage as 1A, 1B and 1C

    3 – Seattle trades Wilson now, when he is worth the most in draft picks.

    3A – say Seattle trades Wilson NYG – they now have some draft capital to get whatever QB they want, along with some additional talent on offense and defense

    3B – Seattle has cap space now to sign defensive talent to go along with their greater draft capital

    3C – with the top rookie QB in the draft, a run offense that has already back to top form, and a beefed up defense, PC is poised to make another multiple year run at a championship

    Additional random comments:

    I doubt Oakland uses their first round picks on Wilson. They traded away their top defensive and offensive weapon – not sure they did so to pay top dollar for a franchise QB

    NYG needs a QB and has 1 first and 1 second round pick this year. If Wilson is worth 3 first round picks, perhaps Seattle gets those 2 picks (a first and a second), next year’s first, and Odel Beckem. Now, they won’t want to keep Beckem because he doesn’t fit with the team, and what he will demand, but maybe they can trade him to Green Bay for one of their first round picks. Before taking on Beckem I would expect they would already have a trade ready, and NYG have already talked about trading him away.

    Bottom line: I don’t see any way that PC/JS agree to any deal that Wilson is likely (and should) demand. It will kill the team for years to come, and PC is only signed through 2021. That’s time enough to groom Murray to play in the SB for 2 of those years.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I disagree on two main points here and that kind of brings the whole thing down from my perspective.

      1. I think Carroll and Schneider are very prepared to pay Wilson a third contract. In fact, I suspect they’re desperate to do it.

      2. I think they’ll equally be willing to place the franchise tag on him.

      This is purely and simply about the following — the massive, rising cost of the tag when you do it for multiple years that will eventually force them to let him go and the complete lack of security and ability to plan with the situation up in the air.

      And that’s why, IMO, they will have been preparing for a worst case scenario of losing Wilson. Whether that’s this year or in 2022. If Murray is there I think they’ll draft him for that reason. For being prepared. Equally they can’t just force this and draft a QB they don’t like. They might be forced to push the issue into 2020. I suspect that is what has happened the last two years. They’ve had to kick this can down the road. Sooner or later though, they’ll need that solution. That insurance.

      • hawksince77 says:

        Rob,

        In that case, you are right. As you suggest, they could draft Murray this year (if he makes it to 21) and when Wilson leaves (whenever) they have a potential starting QB. They just won’t get anything in return – like they didn’t with Thomas.

        The other thought I had related to this topic is the signing of Lynch. I thought it might be RG3 (not sure if he was available) but this makes sense. If I am right, and they trade Wilson before the draft, they need to have a contingency in place, like they did with Flynn the year Wilson was drafted. They don’t want to appear as needing to draft a QB, at least early.

        Or Lynch is simply competition for the back up QB position.

        Anyway, I won’t bring this up again. I appreciate the chance to think out loud on your site, but won’t make it a nuisance. 🙂

  9. Uncle Bob says:

    Rob, I’m sure you’re familiar with a mythological character named Cassandra………insightful articles like this makes you a modern embodiment. Fans with no skin in the game (either financial or job security wise) find it easy to say “pay the man”. Here’s a hint for my fellow fans………………..if you find yourself largely in line with national media think …………………………you’re probably wrong. That’s what makes Rob’s blog so entertaining, insightful, and valuable……….he takes a much more informed and thoughtful approach. Sadly, reading comprehension on the part of many is not a highly developed skill.

    As a baseline position, I’d happily keep Russ the team qb for as long as possible/practical. But like any partnership, both sides need to work together to sustain. I don’t see his agent as willing to work that way, and since Russ hires and continues to employ him, he shares the credit/blame, however you choose to see it. Two other factors that could be at hand and are completely unknown to we mere mortals at this time is what will the next CBA look like, and what are Jody Allen’s intentions going forward. We’re only a couple years away from the next possible CBA, and who knows (here in the outside world) what Jody will do/decide,. Another complete speculative article could be written around those two possibilities, though to no/little pertinence today. It’s likely that team management has a 5 year scenario to measure today’s decisions against, not the short term season to season view that fans and sports journalists employ.

    What fans should try to embrace is the notion that football is a TEAM sport. Yes, a high quality qb is critical, but it is still only one cog in a much larger/more complex “machine”. Get it right and the works runs smoothly, get it wrong and the rest of the operation falters to some degree or other (Dan Marino would be a good reference). I am concerned by the lack of realistic judgement that PC/JS have shown when dealing with shedding Sherm and ETIII. The second round picks they were reportedly offered would look pretty damn good right now compared to the nothing they ended up with. But that’s water under the bridge. Your vision shows that there’s a possibility to not repeat the same mistakes should Russ and his agent prove as intractable as they intimate.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Some nice points there Bob and thank you for the comparison to Cassandra (although I’m sure she was better looking).

      I think we need to be prepared for anything going forward. This is a much trickier off-season than I think most realise. It’s not about a bit of a dabble in free agency and go for a Championship. There are huge issues that need addressing — namely Wilson’s contract situation but also those of Wagner, Clark, Reed and others. As noted in another comment — if you tag Clark in 2019 then as things stand all four of RW, FC, BW and JR will be free agents in 12 months. You can only tag one. You might lose one, two or three of those players unless you get them re-signed by the end of the year.

      Keeping the core together, without a shadow of a doubt IMO, is the priority this off-season. And providing some planning and security for potential issues in the future. This is not a standard off-season.

  10. Dylanlep says:

    Great post Rob. Unfortunately I think this is going to poorly for the Hawks because I just don’t see Murray lasting to the 20s. I think the only way to get him is to actually trade Wilson now – which won’t happen.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think you’re right.

      And that’ll leave the following scenario — either they identify another QB they like enough to take relatively early who can be a viable starter (basically not a 7th round flier like a year ago). Or they kick the can down the road into next years draft. Which they might be forced to do. But I bet anything — JS is studying the QB’s again this year. He’ll be at all those pro-days. He’s looking. They need their insurance for the worst case scenario of Wilson departing — whether that’s in a year or three years.

      • Elmer says:

        And I’m not convinced that Paxton Lynch is the insurance.

        If they do bring in a rookie QB this year, it will most probably be someone who they see as a sleeper whose potential is not reflected in his draft stock.

  11. drewjov11 says:

    The kid is electric, but I wonder what he’s eventually going to decide to do. If he doesn’t experience immediate success, does he go back to baseball? He’s being pulled in two different directions.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think he’s made his call. Football. He won the Heisman. He’s an excellent QB.

      Baseball will be a fall back in 4-5 years if football doesn’t work out and he ends up out of the league or bouncing around.

      But I don’t see any reasons to worry about him suddenly darting back to baseball. He made his decision.

  12. jdk says:

    Drafting a quarterback doesn’t give Seattle any more leverage than they already have. The leverage they have is sending him somewhere he doesn’t want to be. They have that leverage right now. ‘Russ, we won’t pay you $140 guaranteed. If you are not willing to come down, we’ll trade you for draft picks right now and take our chances with a new qb.’ Actually having the qb in house doesn’t move the needle much. Agree to disagree if you really feel otherwise.

    I think many Seattle fans overvalue how much Wilson is married to the Seattle offense. I believe Wilson when he says he wants to finish his career in Seattle. But I don’t believe he believes this is the best offense for his skill set.

    Locking him down now at $140 million over a 4 year extension will likely seem cheap for his quality as he approaches the end of his contract. If he is not willing to take that deal, or Seattle is not willing to give him that deal, it is probably best to trade him now.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Drafting a QB does give them leverage. Because you can only seriously use the ‘we can move you’ angle if you have someone else who can viably start.

      • jdk says:

        If Seattle is going to go the draft route for getting the qb that could viably start then trading Wilson at his highest value is the best strategy for doing that. Unless Wilson has another year like last year (unlikely), then that moment is this offseason.

        Using the best draft resource available to the team, when the team only has 4 picks anyway, to draft a qb is an openly contentious move in negotiations. Instead of actively trying to build around your franchise player and convince him he is essential to your team, you instead draft a potential replacement as a power play.

        I think a little honesty would go a lot further. Instead of threatening to ship Russ off to NFL Siberia, which is their only real leverage, they could say, ‘Russ, we need a great ah to run our system, but we are committed to our system, and we can’t pay you more than x to run it. If that is unacceptable, then we will have to move you.’

        If Russ cannot understand that and either agree to a more team friendly contract or amiacably part ways, then you are going to be sitting in yet another situation with a potential Hall of Fame player unhappy with the FO and it would be wise to move on anyway.

        • Rob Staton says:

          It’s not contentious at all. It’s called being a smart football team. The only people who would find it contentious are those unable to see the bigger picture and those who make shouty rants on twitter. It’d actually be a shrewd move and no different than the Pats and their plan with Jimmy G.

          • jdk says:

            New England picked 9 times in the 2014 draft, not 4.

            They were coming off a Super Bowl win, not rebuilding, or what ever the term du jour is.

            Tom Brady was going to be 38 the following season, not 30.

            JG was taken with the 62 pick, not the 21st.

            I think those facts make the situation markedly different, but I doubt you’ll agree with that assessment.

            I see a different bigger picture than you do and nothing about the argument I have made is a shouty rant. It’s just an opinion that differs from your own. I don’t think taking a quarterback early in Seattle’s situation is a good way to handle the negotiations with Wilson. We can disagree without casting aspersions on those that disagree with us.

          • jdk says:

            My first reply still hasn’t appeared, but I believe I stated that the Patriots were coming off a Super Bowl win. I got my years confused. They were coming off of an AFC Championship Game appearance and clearly had a team that could compete for the championship the following year even though they spent some draft capital on a potential future qb.

            Seattle is not in the same position.

  13. charlietheunicorn says:

    Clayton Thorson, QB, Northwestern

    Projected to go in round 2-3 range. He has overcome some adversity and started a decent number of CFB games. Led his team to a conference championship in the Big 10 division title. I’m not sure what they would be looking for exactly, but he has some of what they might like.

  14. Aussie_Seahawkfan says:

    Rob, just want to start by saying how great the blog and community is here!, I’ve been reading your articles and the comments for a number of years now and really look forward to when a new one gets published especially at this time of the year. In regards to Wilson’s upcoming new contract as much as I would hate to see a deal not be made to keep Russell here in Seattle without taking a huge percentage of the cap, I agree the Seahawks need to have a backup plan. With the 21st pick this year I know it’s normally a tradition for the hawks to trade back and acquire more picks considering they only have 4, what do think the bounty would be if JS & Pete wanted to move up into that 3-10 range, to go and get Murray praying that he doesn’t go 1 or 2. As always keep up the great work Rob! Cheers

  15. SoCal12 says:

    This was an interesting article. Kind of full circle if we do pick Murray, since I recall Wilson himself was a baseball player who perplexed people as a high pick for the Hawks since the Hawks just signed Matt Flynn as their ‘QB of the future’.

    I don’t really expect us to be in range to pick him especially if, or rather when, trading down however. If Kyler goes early though, I would wait until 2020 to draft an insurance. None of the QBs this class really excite me to be honest outside of Murray. If Murray isn’t available, I’d rather wait for Herbert, Tua, Fromm, Eason etc. than spend a high pick this draft on an insurance QB.

  16. Tacoma Hawk says:

    Rob,
    If Russell is worth three first round picks, wouldn’t a team see value in signing him despite the tag and giving up two first round picks? I understand Seattle would have the chance to match, but a poison pill while an unprofessional thing to put in a contract, could be worth a bad reputation for a franchise QB.

    It seems no one considered this with Cousins because people had, and have, doubts about his ability to increase a teams success despite individual accomplishments.

    Thoughts?

  17. Pran says:

    I don’t think team would use a top draft pick for contract leverage which is basically a non football thing. i would expect Russell to take a top 3-5 money at his position not reset the market. they can structure the contract to have more money in year 5 which anyways gets teared up even if they offer more money.

    it looks like Russ is the only NFL client for Mark which definitely makes it complicated. However last time they were trying to prove he is a top tier QB which is not the case this time so starting position for negotiation wont be that far off.

    Russ who is clearly ambitious and have other businesses and dreams would certainly want to finish his career in Seattle. Changing teams would not help his brand and fan loyalty certainly. He is not definitely going to pull Kirk for the sake of money.

    • Rob Staton says:

      It’s not just contract leverage though. It’s securing your long term future

      • jdk says:

        You can make the move to secure the future with the draft capital you get for Wilson. Using draft capital as leverage to get Wilson to stay weakens the team in the short term, increases contract hostilities, makes it unlikely you recoup the draft capital spent when trading Murray down the road if Wilson does extend, and likely decreases Wilson’s trade value by not moving him after this season.

        Better option: Making your best offer to Wilson this offseason. If he won’t take it, move him for a draft haul and using it to get the future qb you were hoping to get as leverage anyway and improve other areas of the team.

        Best solution: Assuming Russ will sign a fully guaranteed contract in the $35 to $37 million range for 4 more years, pay him what he wants, make a plan to steadily accumulate draft capital to remake the team in his image and join the modern NFL.

        We all know option 3 ain’t happening but option 2 makes far more sense to me than option 1.

        • Rob Staton says:

          “You can make the move to secure the future with the draft capital you get for Wilson”

          How do you know? Just because you get picks doesn’t mean you’re going to be in range for a top young QB. Do you want to end up overpaying for a Sam Bradford type?

          The best solution is very simple. Target a QB well before it comes to any point you need to make a decision. Get them into your program. Understand their strengths and limitations. Prepare. Not just recklessly move on and hope for the best.

          It doesn’t have to be your first pick in a draft. But it needs to be someone you actually believe could start one day. Not just a 7th round flier.

          And your suggestion to ‘just pay him’ $36-37m is fine and dandy but there are two big issues here. Wilson is better off going the tag route so might not accept that. Seattle would be paying $3-4m more than the current highest paid player in the league. That doesn’t make sense for any party.

          • jdk says:

            You are correct in that Wilson might not take that deal. That is why I said ‘assuming’. If Wilson isn’t going to take that, then you need to be looking for a qb right now regardless, because he is gone in 3 years. You can play Wilson on the franchise tag for two years and get nothing for him, or you can use the draft capital you get to make better bets in the draft.

            I disagree with your bigger picture. In 5 years, I believe $35-$37 million for a franchise quarterback will be a good look, especially when the $140-$148 million will be presumably spread over 5 years, not 4, and front loaded.

  18. Tacoma Hawk says:

    Rob,
    If Russell is worth three first round picks, couldn’t a team see value is signing Russell despite a franchise tag for two first rounder? I know the Hawks would have a chance to match, but it seems a poison pill could be used such as the Hutch signing. Yes, it’s unprofessional, but it could be worth getting a franchise QB.

    Thoughts?

  19. Eli says:

    It’s going to be interesting to watch it unfold. As of now Wilson certainly does have leverage and doesn’t need to sign any deal that doesn’t guarantee him the maximum amount of money possible. There’s a bit of game theory to it though, in that Wilson certainly could try and leverage the franchise tag in his favor. The issue I see with that is that when the cap figures start creeping up to near or above $40 million annually they really aren’t in play. A player just cannot be tied up for that amount of money. I would say that’s a bit of an unintended consequence of the cap system, in that at a certain point it does work to suppress the maximum amount a player can earn.

    You have to also consider the risk associated with going year to year from Wilson’s standpoint. It takes one injury or bad season to derail a career or change perspective on a player’s worth. I think Kirk Cousins is a good example of this. He was franchise tagged at relatively modest rates ($20m and $24m) at the time for a QB. He didn’t take them as a bet on himself, he took them because it was either that or sign an extension favorable to the Redskins. He got lucky in that he did finally get his big contract, but I don’t think he would get that contract again if there was a re-do. This generally is the reason why player’s prefer an extension, and with it does come some concession on the part of the player to get that guarantee.

    Ultimately you make a lot of salient points Rob, and I think it’s really just going to come down to does Wilson want to be here, and do the Seahawks envision themselves as a team built around the highest paid QB in the league and how does that effect their overall philosophy on roster building.

    • Martin says:

      I agree Eli, that is the risk for Wilson. Obviously trading him for picks is also risky in that we may well not get Murray, no matter how good he is he would still be a rookie, and he could turnout to be a flop anyway. Draft picks are great but they can also end up gaining you nothing – you just don’t know with any real certainty.

      I wonder if Wilson took a little less than the maximum he could demand, whether his reputation and ability to win would be enhanced to the extent that in the end he benefits. Seattle isn’t New York but it’s not Green Bay either, I’m suspect Wilson would potentially benefit commercially from being seen as being loyal by the city. No doubt I struggle to get it because I live in a different world financially, but would Wilson really care about an extra couple of million dollars when he’s earning that much? Or is it competitiveness, the idea that he’s the top paid player? Maybe in the long run he would be doing himself a favour commercially and as a competitor by not playing hardball…. but then again maybe I’m just engaging in wishful thinking!

  20. Eburgz says:

    “Just pay the man” (jk, I read the article). Only way I’m ok moving on from Russ is if we get Sunshine from Clemson after a couple franchise tags haha. Might be able to sell me on Russ’s Samoan lookalike at Alabama. Too bad we won’t be picking #1 unless Russ gets hurt.

    Kidding aside, How do you guys feel about giving Russ a fully guaranteed contract? Wasn’t that the big holdup last time? Now that it’s been done with Cousins, it’s no longer groundbreaking . If you can trust anyone with the guaranteed money it would be Russ, the dude is a cyborg. And if your willing to use the franchise tag anyway. 30-33 million APY for 3-4 years and hope the nano bubbles keep doing their thing. If he doesn’t accept you franchise tag him for two years, kick the can down the road or whatever you want to call it. I like clutch guys playing in contract years. 3 years is a lifetime in the NFL.

    I don’t think his agent can use the value for the 3rd year franchise tag in negotiations because that won’t happen and everyone knows it. If he plays out his contract and gets tagged for two years he’s making 27.6 APY over the next 3 years, correct? With no financial security year to year in the case he gets a career ending/changing injury (no guarantee he gets either the 30 or 36 M franchise tag if he gets hurt in the next 1-2 years). Thats where I’m starting negotiations if I’m the hawks FO. IMO Wilson has the advantage in the negotiation but not to the degree you are suggesting. C’mon Russ, 4 years 120 M (maybe just 100 million fully guaranteed because it sounds nice) sounds better than chancing it, right?

    Although if this happens and Russ gets broken then hawks and us the fans are skrewed. But then we could land ole sunshine. Full circle.

    Really just curious about what you guys think about full guarantees (or almost fully).

    • Sea Mode says:

      Hey, Eburgz, I actually posted about the same topic below. Your comment hadn’t appeared for me yet because of the delay. I think it’s an interesting conversation and even more than that, because it’s likely what he and his agent are shooting for with their baseball background and after the Cousins precedent.

      I think the APY value has to be right to go the fully guaranteed route. It has to be at least something of a discount to make the risk worth it. So let’s say that in a deal with traditional structure he could probably get around $36m/APY from the Hawks. Would he knock that number down to $32m/APY if it were fully guaranteed upon signing? Cousins is at $28m/APY, but the deal is only 3yrs. He is obviously better than Cousins, so that number needs to be higher, and he might ask for 4 yrs as well.

      Huge risk for the Hawks, yes. But in 2 years when other QBs (e.g. Mahomes) are probably hitting the $40m/APY mark, it could look like a steal. And the risk is somewhat mitigated by the fact that, if something were to happen to RW, we might likely begin a mini rebuild anyway for a couple years as we search for/develop the next QB, so we could eat the cap hit in those down years and hoard draft picks as best we can.

  21. Saxon says:

    Hi Rob!!!

    It’s draft season again!

    I understand your position regarding franchising Wilson, but wouldn’t Russ perhaps like a little more security? He could make 30+ million guaranteed for one season by getting tagged or 90-100 million guaranteed for three. Some players are willing to take less to ensure future earnings.

    Not that I would pay him that. I love Russell the man and he is empirically an excellent player, but cap flexibility is key and we would have zero with that albatross of a contract. Even if Seattle front loaded a chunk of that deal it would severely impair them whereas finding a cheaper alternative would free funds for all sorts of exciting options, luring Bennett/Avril style free agent bargains again.

    Risky to let a franchise QB leave the building but there would be some addition by subtraction.

    • Rob Staton says:

      It’s very possible he would want more security but I thought that in 2015 and despite everything pointing towards an easy deal — it was anything but. So I think that gives us some indication on how RW will approach this latest situation.

  22. EranUngar says:

    Thank you Rob for a great work again. I love those thought evoking articles.

    As for the matter at hand, the facts are clear but how each party interpreters them could be very different.

    some possible points to consider:

    1. RW is not the 3rd round wonder kid he was at 2015. He has already earned over 100M from his football and other activities, his wife is very rich on her own and whatever money he makes in the future is not money he will ever spend in his life. It hard to tell if he will go to war for every cent he can make over 30M a year for his EGO or not. (If I was him I’d sign a very friendly back loaded 30M a year extension, mostly guarantied, and stipulate that the team commits to spending a minimum of 20M on their top 5 offensive linemen)

    2. I see the franchise tag as working both ways. I think that the FO enters the negotiations knowing that they already have a 2 year extension at 33M with no future guaranties and/or bad money risk. (that covers PC’s contract) A lot can happen in the NFL over the next 3 years considering the CBA etc. Even the dreaded 43M in 2022 should be looked at at follows -When RW signed his contract in 2015 the top QB salary was under 23M, 3 years later its 33M, in 3 more years it could/should be well in the 40s.

    3. While I believe that signing RW to an extension is very important to the team, I think it is less of a immediate concern than solving the Clark/Wags/Reed puzzle.

    4. As for Murray – I have to admit that RW vs Murray + 30M players (think Aaron Donald and Lane Johnson) + 2 first round picks is a hard choice…

    • Eburgz says:

      You underestimate Russell’s ambition. He wants to own sports franchises. We’re talking billions.

      • Chris says:

        Russ will never be the sole owner of a major franchise, at least not for 20 years or so. The math just doesn’t work out. He’s got roughly 10 years left of playing time if he stays healthy and productive. Average of $40m/year would net him around $300M after taxes, added to his $40M he’s cleared so far. Endorsements won’t make his nest egg up to $1B. Plus an NFL team in 10 years will be far more than $1B. At most he can expect to be a member of an ownership team.

        I expect RW to follow a career into politics in the next decade.

        • Eburgz says:

          Tell him that. Wealthy people make most of their income on investments, not their day job. Atleast the smart/lucky ones.

  23. Sea Mode says:

    Great article, Rob. And with the exception of a couple comments near the top (interesting how the fastest to skim through the article and post a quick take usually miss the point…), the discussion has been very thoughtful. Here’s where I’m at now:

    1. This potential impasse with Russ only makes it that much more urgent to get deals done NOW with at least two of Clark, Reed, and Wagner. Especially because in the event (see following points) that you end up having to trade RW and go with a rookie, these guys’ APY ask just went up $3-5m knowing you now have plenty of cap space to spread around. And not having the tag in your back pocket as a bargaining tool would be game over in negotiating with not only RW, but all of these guys.

    So, regardless of what happens with RW, the #1 priority IMO for the front office right now has to be extending at least Reed and Clark ASAP. We already know they are considered core players. Ideally, you sign the cheaper number first (i.e. Reed), using the leverage of him wanting long-term security over playing out the final year of his rookie deal. Then you cough up what it takes (market value) to lock up Clark. The order is not absolutely essential, but I think when guys see their teammates get bigger deals, they feel emboldened to dig in for a bit more.

    2. With RW, as you’ve mentioned many times before, I think they have to try to gauge what his true priorities are. Not that he’s gonna give a home-team discount–he will be the #1 paid QB at time of extension, I’m sure–but does he want to finish his career in Seattle or does he want to do whatever it takes to squeeze out every dime possible moving forward?

    3. Clearly they would prefer to keep a, reliable, healthy, familiar, top-5 QB in the building if at all possible, but:

    4a. IF it becomes clear to them in negotiations that RW’s true priority is to grab all the cash he can any way he has to go about it, and perhaps that he also prefers (setting himself up long-term for opportunities after football) to move to a larger market team, and they feel this will be the inevitable outcome after two years of tagging him…

    4b. -AND IF- JS believes, as you do, that Kyler Murray is the real deal, quite possibly the next game-changing talent at QB, not to mention similar to RW in many ways, and he is still on the board when the team that you have pre-arranged the trade with is picking.

    5. THEN I guess I don’t see how the most beneficial move for the Hawks isn’t just to trade RW right now, at the peak of his value, which could be up to 3 R1 picks, or at least two R1 plus several other early picks, and draft Murray.

    6. The obvious fit would seem to be the NYG. They have elite offensive players on rookie deals (Barkley and Engram), and might see now as the time to go for it. Eli has been holding their offense back. They have $25m in cap space, and moving on from Eli would free up another $17m, plus whatever return they might be able get back in a trade. RW with his legs would add another dimension of threat to Barkley’s game (as if he needed that), and RW gets his big market team.

    7. These could all end up mute points if either Murray is chosen in the top 5 (entirely possible) or the NYG themselves decide, “heck, why don’t we just draft Murray ourselves and save the picks and cap space?”. But I at least wanted to discuss the value of being ready and willing to trade RW now if a scenario like the one above plays out and the opportunity presents itself. It’s a leap of faith and a bold move, yes, but it could come down to that vs.:

    a. 2 yrs of RW play (very good),
    b. non-stop drama (internal and in the media) over the drawn-out contract ordeal (bad)
    c. losing leverage in negotiations with Clark, Reed, and Bobby and either being forced to over-pay or see them walk for free (very bad)
    d. losing RW for a mere R3 comp and possibly being left without a viable replacement, assuming we won’t be picking in top 10 in the next two years (very, very bad)

    In conclusion, I think you are right that although we are currently delighted at the unexpected success of last season’s reload and distracted by the upcoming draft, this will be a tricky off-season to navigate. JS is preparing himself for all possible scenarios, and for the reasons listed above, I believe that trading RW now might have to be taken as one of those, and not necessarily the emergency/last resort scenario.

    Thanks for reading if you made it this far!

    P.S. One more talking point in a flipside scenario. RW realizes his best fit is Seattle and wants to stay here. He is willing to take less overall money, but in exchange for a fully-guaranteed, min. 4 yr. contract now that that door has been opened with Cousins. With how reliable RW has been over the years and the fact that he is still relatively young in QB years, do you take that deal? If so, at what APY? ($30m? 33m? $35m?) Or is it just too big of a risk for the Hawks long-term if something were to happen to him? But then again, if something were to happen to him, we would likely not be competing for a couple years anyway as we look to find a replacement, so we could eat the dead cap as we rebuild…

    • Rob Staton says:

      Some excellent points there Sea Mode, thanks for sharing.

      • Sea Mode says:

        Thanks for bringing up the topic and giving us a platform to discuss it.

        And I’ll be the first to admit that the trade RW scenario has four huge “IFs” that would all need to align perfectly to make it the right option. You have to plan for every eventuality, but in the end you also have to fall back on common sense and tell yourself: we have a star QB, the greatest asset for any NFL team, and we’re going to do everything in our power to make it work out between us.

    • Tacoma Hawk says:

      Fantastic well thought out comment!

    • GerryG says:

      Agreed, great points.

      To add, I think if their intitial indication this off season is a problematic extension that is approaching 40 mil, then I agree, the team needs to do everything it can to take care of the other impending core FAs (Clark, Wagz, Reed) in order to keep the franchise tag in play next year.

      Then you can tag Wilson for one year, and wait on the move until the new collective bargaining agreement is in play (2020???). Who knows what will come out of that. But if there is some type of fundamental shift in contracts (guarantees, max value cap, larger or smaller piece of the pie) it might be nice to not have an albatross contract based on the old rules

    • Trevor says:

      Great post Seamode and well thought out.

      I think if the Hawks are unable to get Murray then signing Clark and extending Wags and Reed is an absolute must with the cap space this offseason. If you go into next season needing to negotiate with Russ and two or three of these guys then you are almost guaranteed to loose 2of the 4.

    • C-Dog says:

      Sea Mode, you just killed this. Exceptionally drawn out and reasoned. Bravo. Could not agree with 1 more. If I’m JS I am working my butt off getting Reed, Clark and Bobby locked as quickly as possible.

      This whole piece by Rob has really opened up a lot of great dialogue on this board that is resonating. In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if we have inadvertently narrowed Seattle’s first selection to QB, DE, DT or LB in anticipation of losing one of these four. Thoughts?

      • Sea Mode says:

        Thanks, man.

        I think they’ll just go to where the talent is in the draft and position themselves as best they can to get value while adding more picks. That’s at least how I interpret PC’s “we don’t have any big holes” comment. I know I’m basically repeating what Rob has already said, but I agree wholeheartedly in this case. Just makes the most sense given the current state of our roster and draft capital.

        Sure, they grade their board against their current roster and so would love to get certain positions over others, but if the talent isn’t there, I don’t think they’ll force it. Doing that just makes you overall worse and worse as a team.

  24. H says:

    This article makes me uneasy, because it makes too much sense. I am not comfortable with the idea of losing Wilson, and I am not comfortable with using a high pick on a player who wouldn’t help, what was a 10-6 team, win more in 2019.

    So here’s an alternative that doesn’t make me so uneasy. Tyree Jackson, I’ve been watching a lot of him recently and I’m in love with his potential. Fantastic size, live wire of an arm. At his best he looks like Cam Newton, athleticism, arm strength and ability to make insane throws off crazy angles. I see a lot of what Pete wants in this guy, ability to extend plays and throws off script and he can hit the chunk play.

    He is a massive project, and not someone who could realistically be used as a bargaining ploy this year. But he could be had in the later rounds and if Wilson wants to spend a couple years on the tag, you can hope by that point he’ll have developed enough to either take over or make Wilson cave and accept what the Hawks are offering.

    I see no QB in this class other than Murray and Jackson that fit the mold of what the Hawks are looking for, so if they aren’t comfortable using a high pick on QB insurance, or if the NFL is just brave enough to ignore conventional wisdom and draft Murray the top 10 as they should. I think they’d be extremely interested in Tyree Jackson.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’m going to start studying the class, starting with Jarrett Stidham. I’ll say this about Jackson though — he looked awful at times at the Senior Bowl. UDFA level.

      • millhouse-serbia says:

        Rob, maybe it isnt only about this draft class. Maybe there are some interesting veterans like Brisset. Only problem is that brisset is FA after 2019 and he wan’t be cheap.

        • Rob Staton says:

          Yep and let’s not forget that report that seattle enquired about Brissett last off season.

          • C-Dog says:

            I’ve been thinking about Brisset a lot lately because of that link. I also thought that he played a pretty gutsy game against the Hawks a couple years ago, showing absolutely zero fear. I wonder if that is something that might have stayed with Carroll, if those preseason reports were true.

        • lil'stink says:

          There’s also Nick Foles. Not that I’d advocate that we try and get him, but he could push some of the draft QB’s down.

      • Sea Mode says:

        +1 Stidham has the best arm/deep ball of the Senior Bowl bunch and many say he might not have been used well in his final year.

        And scouts have said Jackson looks like a statue back there in the pocket.

        • Volume12 says:

          They better upgrade their pass protection for Stidham. Guy can’t make a throw from a muddied pocket to save his life.

      • H says:

        He looks awful at times on tape as well, like I say he’s a project. But if you’re betting on upside, he’s as good of a bet as you can make.

  25. McZ says:

    Question: 2019 is still another rebuild season, with all those looming gap through FA. If JS flies down to Arizona, offering Russell Wilson for their first two 2019 picks, plus a 4th rounder and a 2020 2nd, are we better off in 2020 or not?

    Another question: can Clayton Thorson or Will Grier be day two steals in the sense Wilson was, or can Jake Browning be an UDFA flier?

  26. jdk says:

    The only leverage Seattle has with Wilson is the threat to move him someplace he doesn’t want to be. But does anybody really believe that a team would give up a king’s ransom and then not build the team around him?

    Seattle is literally the only potential landing spot that won’t give him the contract he wants nor will it build the team around him. Any other place he could potentially go will throw everything they have to make their team Russell’s team. There may be other teams that wouldn’t do that for Wilson, but they wouldn’t trade for him and he wouldn’t sign with them.

    My guess is Rob is 100% right about this and this is exactly how Seattle is thinking and they have it completely backwards. Threatening to move Wilson is no leverage at all because it is a briar patch situation.

    The way to keep Wilson is to start thinking like the teams who would give up that kind of draft capital to get him and start truly building to give him the best opportunity to be the weapon he is.

    • mishima says:

      Confused.

      ‘NFL Siberia’ is a non-starter. If Wilson doesn’t want to play for a team, he doesn’t sign an extension, but waits out the franchise tag and reaches free agency. No team would trade for him without a probable extension. See: Mack.

      The Seahawks won’t build around RW? Are we just ignoring the moves for Graham, Harvin, Lockett, OL, etc.? The Seahawks have and will continue to build their offense around Wilson.

      Finally, it’s increasingly difficult with the cost of QB, OL (esp. LT), WR to hit on all skill positions. See: Pittsburgh and Green Bay.

      • jdk says:

        I believe it is intellectually dishonest to claim Seattle is built around Wilson.

        They are built to run.

        You can make the argument that that plays to Wilson’s strengths, but I don’t agree with you.

    • lil'stink says:

      I don’t understand the narrative that our front office isn’t building a team around Russell Wilson. Is it because we don’t have a coach that wants to throw it 600+ times a season? Or that we don’t go out and draft WR’s with our first pick?

      The goal should always be to build a team that takes as much pressure off the QB as possible. You do that with a great defense, a running game, and a competent OL.

      How many teams in recent history that build everything around their QB consistently go far in the playoffs? Peyton Manning and the Colts is all that comes to mind. Maybe Tom Brady and the Patriots, but you could argue that Brady didn’t have the skill position players around him that Manning did. But he’s always had the best coach in the game, and at times an elite defense. And, contrary to popular belief, Russell Wilson isn’t close to as good as Manning or Brady.

  27. Mym says:

    I don’t see him being here in the long term. He’s a special talent being treated worse than Mitchell Trubisky by his HC. Wilson has stated he wants to the best, and he’s not gonna be his best when his HC actively wants to limit the chances he has to throw the football in-game because he’s afraid of any INTs that may happen when you don’t run the ball.

    Personally, I believe Pete will never win another championship with Wilson unless it’s just pure luck. There’s no Beast Mode anymore. There’s no Legion of Boom in their prime anymore. The only way Pete wins playing his style of football is with an elite Oline that will run it down the throats of any team in the league in spite of the lack of creativity on offense. You need the money from Wilson’s contract to purchase that sort of Oline. Better off just having Murray back there handing it off to Penny/Carson all game with the occasional deep pass.

    I think they’d be better off just building around the offense and having Pete coach up guys on defense. It’s essentially what the Patriots do. You may say, well why wouldn’t every team do that then? Well every team doesn’t have Bill Belichick or Pete Carroll to coach up a defense to look respectable. I don’t see them doing that, though. They’re gonna go back and try to create the LOB again and invest heavily in the defense in the off season. Because that totally worked out so well once the LOB weren’t in their prime anymore.

  28. Kelly says:

    Hey Rob,

    Do you think Russell and his camp will only want a deal until 2021? I think they NFL will be heading for a lockout that year because the players will want a much larger piece of the pie. So if he signs a short term deal and the NFLPA and NFL are able to come to an agreement he may be in for a much larger pay day. If i was the Hawks. I would be locking up my young players for 6-7 year deals now where it will be cheaper in the long run I think. What are your thoughts about that possibility affecting Russell and the team as a whole?

  29. Ishmael says:

    Is there a scenario where the Hawks do what the Patriots have done with Brady? Pay him a cap-friendly salary that makes it possible to compete, while setting him up with a business that they can funnel millions into so he’s compensated at market rates?

    I don’t see how it’s possible to win with a QB making 30+ million a year, even 25+ is going to be cutting it fine. The only way to realistically compete is to either pay the QB below market rates to build a proper team around them, or to wallow in mediocrity for a few years and hit big on a couple of drafts to squeeze open a window – like the Saints these last couple of years.

    No easy choices

    • icb12 says:

      I think about this too.

      Where is the line for teams where paying paying for a franchise QB hurts your chances to field a championship team?

      Look at the playoffs. 6 out of 8 teams have QBs on rookie contracts.
      Last year’s playoff QBs as well. Not as extreme, but still- foles, keenum, bottles…

      And where is the line for QBs where winning championships becomes more motivation than money?
      At what point does a guy say, hell 25 or 28 million is plenty if you can surround me with the best talent you can?

      The league is a weird dichotomy of not being able to win without a franchise QB, and not being able to win when you have to pay said QB most of your money.

    • H says:

      “I don’t see how it’s possible to win with a QB making 30+ million a year” this line of thought has always felt like a myth to me.

      If you look over the last 10 years the significant majority of Quarterbacks that made the Superbowl have been in the 11-15% of cap space used, with some such as Matt Ryan (2016) and Peyton Manning (2009) even breaking that threshold. And even Tom ‘hometown discount’ Brady’s cap hit the last couple years has been 12 and 14%.

      A 30m contract would make up around 16% of the cap space, certainly at the top end of what you can pay one guy and still be successful, but it is not without precedent. The reality of it is you cannot win without a top QB, or at least not normally, and not for any sustained period of time. And if the going rate is 30m+ that’s what you have to do.

      I thought Rob made a valid point in the article about Wilson’s contract negotiations potentially getting way out of hand, and the team preparing for the possibility of life without him. But I don’t agree that you can’t win when paying your QB 30m+. And I’d imagine plan A for the Seahawks is to sign him for around that kind of money.

  30. Trevor says:

    I think it is almost a certainty that Russ will want a fully guaranteed contract this time around. My guess would be 4 yrs $120 mill guaranteed at a minimum.

    The thing is if any quarterback would be in his right to ask for and feel justified for this type of deal it is Wilson.

    -Top 5 QB in the league
    -Never missed a start in his career (this is huge)
    -Super Bowl Winner
    -Zero off field issues.

    If Kirk Cousins can get a fully guaranteed deal then why would Russ ever expect anything less.

    That is why the article and scenario Rob proposes makes a ton of sense. Given this scenario I hope JS takes the following plan of attack this offseason.

    Priority #1 Open negotiations with Wilsons camp immediately and get a good handle on what it will take to extend him. If it is a deal the organization can work will and still build a competitive roster then get the deal done ASAP to end the uncertainty and chart your path for the future. (Odds of this happening less than 10% IMO) I agree with Rob I think the Wilson team plays hardball.

    If this happens and the Hawks are not able to get an extension done with Russ before free agency then I suggest the following 10 step off season Plan.

    Step #1 Put Russ on the market when the day free agency opens. Give all QB needy teams the opportunity to bid for his services. Think about it the QB options this offseason outside of Kyler Murray are (Nick Foles, Joe Flacco and Dwayne Haskins). The Hawks could ask for a kings ransom to say the least.

    Step #2 Extend Jarran Reed before free agency starts. I think this is a deal that must be done ASAP while the team has some leverage and can take advantage of him playing one more year on his rookie deal.

    Step #3 Franchise Clark if necessary but get the deal done. Don’t let him play out the year on the tag. Make Reed and Clark the core of the defense going forward.

    Step #4 Sit down with Wagner and find out if he wants to be the face of the franchise going forward. They are likely going to move on from his buddy KJ this off season and the rest of the LOB is gone. If Bobby wants to stay and be the face of the franchise then get an extension done now at above market rate if necessary.

    With Reed, Clark, and Bobby locked up this defense is set going forward just add young pieces via draft and bargain veteran free agents where possible.

    Step #5 Sign Tyrod Taylor prior to the draft to go with Paxton Lynch as guys to compete as veteran backup or as insurance if you can’t get Murray.

    Step #6 Trade Russ prior to the draft or on Day #1 of the draft to obtain max value. Needs to be a minimum of (3) #1 and (2) Day two picks over the next 3 years. The Raiders want to make a splash going to LV. Why not trade for Russ and Antonio Brown. Jaguars, Giants, Dolphins and Redskins.

    Trade is Russ to Raiders for #4, 27 ,68 and a #1, #4 in 2020.

    Step #7 Draft Kyler Murray at #4 as the heir apparent to Russ and keep Tyrod Taylor as his mentor and insurance policy.

    Step #8 SIgn Fant, Fluker and Sweezy to keep continuity and a veteran presence on the OL. Give last years group a full off season with Solari would give Murray the best opportunity to succeed.

    Step #9 Use the cap savings from trading Russ to target an elite DL free agent either this year or next to take the defense to the next level.

    Step #10 Add Hockenson (TE) with pick #21 and Mclaurin #27 to give Murray 2 more dynamic weapons to go with Russ. The rest of draft should be fast, ultra athletic defenders who are raw with tons of upside that Pete and the staff can develop.

  31. BringBackMirer says:

    FresnoHawk, I’m only saying this because I care…there are a lot of decaffeinated brands on the market today that are just as tasty as the real thing.

  32. millhouse-serbia says:

    If you don’t like here, stop coming. Simple as that.

  33. Volume12 says:

    I realize this is more of an alternative scenario based on negotiations and that ain’t my forte. So I’ll just say this even if it comes off as disjointed.

    I’m just not convinced that they can create the perfect storm again. Can they find a young rookie QB? Sure. Can they find generational, HOF worthy defenders in the mid rounds year after year while simultaneously playing in perfect harmony on the field? Doubtful. That puts more pressure on a rookie QB.

    They’re gonna see more 8 man boxes than they’ve ever seen before. Seattle is gonna need to score more to keep up with the rest of the league. Opponent scoring always leads to more passing attemps, which leads to more from a possible rookie QB. I’ll pass on that.

    Can’t have a dominant defense when they can’t get off the field on 3rd down. I still think Pete’s defenses will be good, but the LOB era is over fellas. They have more pieces on offense than they do defense.

    I’m not saying they’ll be what every one else is, that’ll never happen with Pete at the helm, more that Pete will absolutely find a way to keep up with the league that’s moving away from the things he likes to do on both sides of the ball. And I believe RW gives them that best chance.

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      I tend to agree with this take. Though I do hope to see us invest in a QB farm instead of inquiring about others backups

      • mishima says:

        This.

        JS/PC have painted themselves into this corner by not drafting/developing Wilson’s replacement. 8 years without a contingency plan.

        • Volume12 says:

          At the same time, RW has gotta be one of the hardest QBs to find a backup for. Not many with a similar skill set.

      • Volume12 says:

        Same.

        Having a guy that’s sat and learned the ropes would’ve been beneficial

    • Sea Mode says:

      I mean, a 43-8 vs. #1 offense in NFL history perfect storm, probably not. But we don’t need that to win. Add a couple offensive weapons and a couple playmakers on defense and we’re right in the thick of things.

      Does RW give us a better chance than any rookie QB? Heck yeah. Could he also dig in and demand more money than the Hawks are ready to pay? Sure. And in that case, you just try to make the most out of the hand you are dealt, and that might mean rolling with a young QB.

      • Volume12 says:

        I agree. But I also don’t think a rookie QB is gonna be afforded the same luxuries rookie RW was with a defense that made game changing plays every week.

        He probably will dig in and play hard ball. As Kenny and Mishima said, Seattle has no leverage here due to them not having a plan B.

        • Sea Mode says:

          Fair point.

          If we were to be left with no choice but to go with a rookie, I would just hope that it’s a guy like Murray whose game one can get excited about, even if there are the inevitable bumps along the road.

          • mishima says:

            Agree with both which causes me to consider:

            How does PC’s extension + Schottenheimer hire affect QB position and play? Would Murray fit with current philosophy and/or scheme? Are they looking for a more traditional pocket passer, game manager? Nick Foles or K. Murray? /shudder

            Expecting the Seahawks to extend RW to a 4/140, fully guaranteed deal.

  34. Easy Answers Hard Choices says:

    First-time poster here – sorry for the length.

    This may seem off-the-wall, but let me use my time-travel machine for a historical comparison. The Seattle Sonics had a poor start to the 1977-78 season. The coach was fired and replaced by Lenny Wilkins. Turns out the team was actually a perfect blend of talented (but not super-star caliber) players. Wilkins coached them to the NBA finals where they lost to the Washington Bullets Wizards. Marvin Webster aka “the human eraser” was a key player on that Sonics team. After two disappointing seasons in Denver, Seattle acquired Webster from the Nuggets prior to the 1977-78 season. Webster was the “missing piece” on the Sonics roster, a niche player whose specialized in rebounding and shot-blocking. He blended in perfectly with his Sonic teammates and Seattle came within a game of the NBA championship. After the season Webster was a free agent and was widely expected to re-sign with Seattle. Unfortunately, the combined intransigence of Sam Schulman and Webster’s agent doomed contract negotiations and Webster signed with the NY Knicks.

    Webster was widely known as a kind and gentle person He bravely appeared on a locally televised talk show where the host (gently) questioned him about the events that culminated in his signing with the Knicks; Webster stated that he genuinely wished he could have stayed with Seattle but “it just didn’t work out”. I remember vividly the look of disconsolation on Webster’s face as the show concluded – it seemed he knew he would never again enjoy the success he experienced during his only season in Seattle. The Knicks signed him in their perpetual quest for a savior – whereas Seattle allowed him to flourish as an important role player. Webster could not fulfill the “savior” expectations imposed upon him in New York. The NY press and fans predictably excoriated him and Webster literally became a broken man. His career/life is now viewed not as a professional disappointment, but more as the personal tragedy of a man destroyed by the unrealistic expectations of others.

    Webster was a decent person who was placed in an untenable situation. Wilson started out as humble and endearing, but it appears he has “evolved” into a person whose ambitions are now driven by his ego/insecurities, and by an agent seemingly determined to “redefine” an NFL contract. If you are to believe reports, players on defense resented Wilson as they felt Pete Carroll coddled him. Remember the infamous practice where Richard Sherman intercepted a Wilson pass, came up to him and said “F you – you suck”! Hard to respect a player (on the other side of the ball) if you believe they are not held to the same level of accountability. Although Wilson is an acknowledged “top ten” quarterback in this league, for the first few years he battled the perception that he was simply a “game manager”. The Seahawks “legion of boom” defense was widely regarded as the real reason Seattle won its first Super Bowl. I believe the circumstances above have led to Wilson’s “evolution” into a player who needs constant affirmation validate his ego and to compensate for is insecurities as a player.

    I find a seemingly minor situation from this season as telling. The Seahawks lost at home (by less than a touchdown) to San Diego this season. The game was essentially lost when Wilson threw a horrific pick-six late in the 4th quarter. In the post game presser Wilson mentioned the interception once (in passing), but as I recall he referenced David Moore’s inability to come up with a last-second deflected pass on at least three occasions. It would have been a difficult catch. From an accountability standpoint, Moore’s “drop” paled in comparison to Wilson’s hideous interception. In that context Wilson was out of bounds for directing even the mildest criticism toward another player. With ego comes insecurity.

    Whereas Webster became was victim of bad advice, Wilson may become a victim of an overreaching agent and a need to feed his own personal ego/insecurities. The posts above all make very valid points for Wilson being reasonable in his contract negotiations: He is now 30 and past the point of his physical peak. Seattle is a unique situation – he owes (in part) his success to the team – they created an environment (establish the run first) specifically to help him succeed . Signing a deal that is even slightly team friendly will allow the Seahawks to build a championship contending team around him. None of the top paid quarterbacks in the league made the playoffs this year. Being franchised is risky – injury or under-performance can prevent a lucrative long-term deal being signed. And on and on.

    None of these points will matter.

    Whether it is because Wilson’s ego/insecurity or because his agent wants to unrealistically redefine an NFL contract, or because his marriage to a pop icon necessitates the publicity that accompanies a record breaking contract, the end result is this: Short of franchising him, Russell Wilson will never sign another contract with the Seattle Seahawks. Although in no way justified, Wilson will ask for a contract that exceeds Aaron Rodgers. His ego demands it. And the Seahawks will be forced to trade him. Given comments from previous posts, the NY Giants (ironically) seem like a possible destination. To be clear, Russell Wilson has every right to seek maximum compensation for himself. But signing a record breaking contract doe not guarantee success. Pro sports are littered with players that left ideal situations in their quest for greater wealth and adulation.

    The lessons from the Marvin Webster are many:

    Beware of the savior complex.

    It extremely difficult to replicate prior success in a new setting.

    Unrealistic expectations are a recipe for disaster. Anything less than total success will cause others to turn on you.

    Ego-validating wealth cannot compensate for unhappiness.

    Sorry for the length. Future posts will be much more concise.

    • Well put. I love Russ and will take him as he is, but do agree that after next year it will be hard to win with that much money going to one player either on the Franchise tag or long term contract.

      After the Supersonics lost Webster they won it all the next year. I know that was a long post but that should have been included.

      I think Rob is correct about Murray, and would love to get him. He could end up being even better than Russ. If we can get him this year then I say do trade Russ. Better a year too early than a year too late.

      • Easy Answers Hard Choices says:

        DJ:

        Thanks for your comments. Yes- adding the fact that the Sonics won the 1979 championship (with the help of Lonnie Shelton – who they received as compensation from the Knicks for the Webster signing (another irony) would have added additional historical context.

    • Hawksince77 says:

      Very nice, well reasoned and well written. And I agree – based on what we know of PC/JS and RW it seems highly unlikely a third contract gets done. This is a team sport, and consummating a deal that RW will likely demand is not good for the team.

      So if that is true, than Seattle can play one more year with RW and get nothing when he leaves, or take advantage now and harvest a king’s ransom in draft picks.

      There is risk for the team either way. No way to know for sure which direction will best serve the team.

      And it’s not like they will be posed to make a championship run this year with so little draft capital and cap space. If they were, that would argue for keeping RW this year for that purpose.

      Not trading him also puts the retention of key defensive players at risk.

      That’s what I think the logic of the situation demands – trading RW now. But is that how PC/JS see things? What is the most likely direction they will take?

      • Rob Staton says:

        I think too much is made of the ‘third contract’. They have given plenty of those out — Bennett, Kam, Marshawn. Now because they were selective with Earl they’re not going to give Russell and Bobby third deals?

        Don’t get that at all. I suspect they’d sign both to new deals tomorrow if they could.

        • Hawksince77 says:

          Traded Bennett, let Lynch retire without compensation (for the team) and Kam injured, lost his final year. Not a good record for third contracts.

          Aside from the cost of RW’s 3rd contract (which will be a deal breaker, I think) there is also the cost of older, richer, more complacent players. Do they remain as competitive? Have that fire to win? I suspect PC prefers coaching the highly motivated, highly athletic younger guys than dealing with the older, richer, mouthy veterans (Sherman, Bennet, Lynch).

          As for Wagner, we think he is the center piece of the offense, and likely worth a 3rd contract. It won’t cost the moon, given the position, so I see that as less problematic (but still risky).

          With PC’s approach to building teams and winning championships, he needs to get younger, cheaper talent at the QB position, allowing for the necessary retention (Clark, Reed, Wagner) on defense, and the opportunity to draft and sign new talent for the next championship run.

          • Rob Staton says:

            The record with the players who received third contracts doesn’t matter. It was suggested this team doesn’t do third contracts. They do. And just because Kam and Bennett didn’t work out — they aren’t Russell and Bobby. I mean come on, imagine any team in the league having a stance of “we won’t pay a franchise QB more than two contracts”. That’d be madness. They aren’t thinking that way.

  35. JC says:

    So, high draft picks are essentially a mechanism to save cap money at a certain position versus addressing it in free agency. If you are drafting someone high as a leverage point in negotiations for a current player, you are defeating the purpose of the draft and might as well pay the player his market value. For a top QB, it’s generally the highest paid contract in the NFL at the time of signing, whether he’s actually the top QB or not… so that’s not why Seattle should draft a QB. They should only draft a QB if they expect him to be their next starter in the next 1-2 years and you have no plans on extending #3.

    • Rob Staton says:

      It is nowhere near as simple as — ‘pay Wilson and just be happy’. If only it were that simple. It isn’t. Again, here are the facts. Wilson stands to make $110m fully guaranteed over a three-year window if he approaches the tag with open arms. The final portion of that would include a $43m one-year salary (again, fully guaranteed).

      So Wilson has absolutely zero incentive to take anything less than that in an extension.

      The Seahawks will not agree a deal that pays him $110m over three years fully guaranteed.

      If you’re comfortable not preparing for a very realistic situation where the Seahawks are forced to move on — you’re essentially saying you’re comfortable paying $20-25m for a Sam Bradford type, or starting whatever rookie is still available whenever Seattle picks in a given year. It is FAR more appealing to plan ahead. To have a guy you like, trained in your scheme and ready to roll. That’s called common sense, forward planning and smart.

      And it’s nothing to do with having ‘no plans’ to extend #3. It’s everything to do with this being a complete unknown with a very realistic prospect that they’ll have their arm twisted and be forced to act.

      It’s why JS was at all the QB pro-days a year ago and why he was at Oklahoma @ West Virginia and why he’s watching the Senior Bowl QB’s closely. He knows, smartly, they need to be ready NOW — to get a guy because who knows what the future holds.

      I hope this is clear. Because even if Wilson signs a big fat extension in August — you can’t sleepwalk into a nightmare.

      • Eburgz says:

        We are right now looking at 3 years of club control at an average of 27.7 Million with Russ having no financial security from one year to the next. 33M APY of new money (2 years) with the franchise tag option assuming he doesn’t get badly hurt (big assumption). If he doesn’t sign an extension, Russell would need to successfully run the gauntlet of 3 NFL seasons in order to hit free agency like Kirk did.

        Russell can embrace the tag all he wants but he isn’t getting a 3rd franchise tag. 43 million is an irrelevant value unless your using it to show we just have 3 years of control. It’s prohibitively priced, pretend it doesn’t exist because it is not an option (unless the salary cap explodes). 43 M isn’t a value Russell’s team can use in negotiations.

        I’d bet Russ knows a dollar today (in this case 10s of millions which could/would be invested) is worth more than a dollar tomorrow and long term financial security in a sport as violent as football is nothing to scoff at. No guarantee you even get that dollar tomorrow in this case. He could (and probably would) insure himself in the case of injury if he decides he wants to play on the franchise tag but that would be an expensive premium, something he would need to factor in.

        • Rob Staton says:

          You’re right, he probably isn’t getting the third franchise tag. Because when it gets to that point the Seahawks will be forced to let him walk like the Redskins with Cousins. And that’s the point of the piece. Whether he’s going to receive the third tag or not, it’s what he’s due if the Seahawks want to keep him. And if it gets that far we’re probably looking at a parting.

          As for a dollar today etc — I don’t think that’s any concern for him at all really. He’s an established, quality quarterback. If he gets hurt in 2020 playing on the tag and Seattle moves on, do you think someone wouldn’t pay him a massive contract still as a free agent? After one injury? I bet anything they would. Aaron Rodgers has been hurt and missed huge chunks of seasons. If he ever hit the market he’d have still got his $33.5m a year. Wilson on the open market gets an insane new contract. He doesn’t need to insure himself.

          Wilson can, and will, ask for the money he’s going to get anyway on the tag. The Seahawks will offer less. A stalemate will occur because Wilson can and will be able to use the tag to max out his earnings. Seattle has to plan and prepare ahead by adding another QB just in case this ends in a divorce.

          • Eburgz says:

            Well I’m glad it’s 3 years down the road if he does indeed plan to max out every penny of his worth. A lifetime in the NFL. I’m not convinced he is, I think the major obstacle last time around was the guaranteed money. I think the hawks should consider making concessions there. If he doesn’t sign he’s due to make his salary next year then the 66 mil the next two years (maybe) then hit free agency where he would get his inflated market value (probably not $43 million per year considering every team has the salary cap). $43 million isn’t part of the equation or contract negotiation is what I’m arguing. He’s not due it (except technically) he’s simply out of club control at that point. And it seems we agree there to a degree. It would be a shame to see him walk but the hawks have let that happen to other stars rather than trade them a year or two earlier. I was talking about a career ending/changing injury (not very common but it happens). Not an ACL or collar bone but a spinal injury like we’ve seen with Lockette, Avril, Chancellor or throwing injury like we’ve seen to Brees and Luck (who made miraculous recoveries, to their credit).

            • Rob Staton says:

              $43m isn’t just part of the equation it’s the most important factor. The focal point.

              None of the injury stuff will be part of this. Wilson on the market = a QB getting paid. Peyton Manning got paid by Denver after a serious neck injury and missing a whole season with Indy. Wilson doesn’t have to worry about any of that — and he won’t.

              It’s really really simple. One QB (Cousins) has set the precedent by going the franchise tag route. Wilson, even if he doesn’t prefer to do it, will know he can do and will use that as a basis for negotiation. And he knows $110m guaranteed over three years is what he’s due by going down the tag route.

              There’s nothing else to it.

              • Eburgz says:

                He doesn’t get to choose if he gets tagged. Going down the tag route gets him 2 years $66 million new money and a shot at free agency (where he will cash in at market value, under 43M likely) Right now we’re looking at 3 years 84 million, not 4 years 127 million.

                What do I know, perhaps I wasted 4 years in business school getting a degree in finance. I’ll drop it because there’s an obvious disconnect somewhere.

                • Rob Staton says:

                  If he doesn’t get to choose he gets tagged, so what? He gets to be a free agent instead. That’s even better for him.

                  It’s simple.

                  • Eburgz says:

                    No one is going to pay Wilson $43 million APY fully guaranteed on the open market. Unless the salary cap explodes.

                  • Rob Staton says:

                    I’m not saying anyone will pay Wilson $43m.

                    I’m saying the Seahawks have two options when it comes to the franchise tag costing $43m. They either pay it or let him hit free agency. Either scenario is great for Wilson. Neither scenario is good for the Seahawks.

                  • Eburgz says:

                    Your not saying anyone will pay Wilson 43 million but hitting free agency is even better for him than getting tagged a third time?? Your chasing your tail here man. Letting him hit free agency is the lesser evil compared to paying 43 million, that’s why that value is irrelevant to contract negotiations.

                    After talking it out I’m not sure about even a second tag. If he won’t sign an extension and is intent on maxing his earnings better off letting him see his value on the open market and potentially matching it.

                    Or trade him now (not my preference) while returns would be greatest as SeaMode explained. I agree we should be looking at a young qb as insurance, although we don’t need to force the issue if our guy isn’t there this year or even next year.

                  • Rob Staton says:

                    I don’t understand why you’re finding this so difficult. It’s very frustrating.

                    Let me repeat myself again, one more final time.

                    Wilson entering free agency or getting $43m on the tag — either situation is fantastic for Wilson. If the Seahawks say, ‘we won’t pay $43m’ he will NOT care. He gets to go on the open market, a rarity for elite QB’s, and make a killing. Just like Kirk Cousins but even more so because he’s a better player. He wouldn’t need to get $43m a year in that scenario. He would still get a better deal with 4-5 teams bidding for him than simply being able to negotiate with one team (Seattle). It would be great for Wilson.

                    It’s quite simple.

                  • Eburgz says:

                    And I agree with and totally get that. It comes down to whether he wants to be in Seattle or max out his earnings.

                    Not sure what point you think I was trying to make with a response like that. Appreciate the replies anyway.

      • GoHawksDani says:

        So this team could have Russ under “contract” ’til 2021 no matter what (not counting the 3rd tag). Drafting a QB early in this year’s draft would be not so good, unless you’d be willing to move on from Russ. Why?
        You basically have Russ under contract for 3 more years. This move would sacrifice a potential impact player for a bench warmer. If you want Russ then why “flirt with other girl on your honeymoon”? You can draft a QB in 2020’s draft or in 2021 to force Russ into making a decision. But getting a talented DE, or another WR/TE weapon might just be the push we need to get another SB W in the next 3 years.
        So unless they can find a guy who’s really more than a bargaining chip and might push Wilson from the throne without factoring in the contract stuff, I’d say don’t pull the trigger yet. We don’t have much draft capital and this QB class seems mehh enough. Get a defensive weapon or a WR, TE, OG that’ll help the team. If the negotiations with Russ seems not going forward then check out next year’s class. If still not good, we can still pull the trigger in 2021’s draft.

        • Rob Staton says:

          I’ve been through this so many times now I’m not going to keep repeating it. Read through the comments to see why drafting a QB is a smart move even if they intend to keep Wilson.

          • GoHawksDani says:

            I wasn’t saying do not draft a QB. But here are the facts:
            1, Russ will be with the team for 3 more years (next + 2 tag) almost guaranteed
            2, If negotiations are not successful it’s possible Russ won’t be with us in 2022
            3, Finding a guy similar or better to Wilson is hard
            4, So this might be another 2-3 year SB window (yeah they might strike gold and keep the window open but that’s definitely not a guaranteed)
            5, If there is a really-really good QB prospect, go for it. Hard to get a good QB prospect, so you have to take it. But do not scramble, do not reach. They don’t need to take a QB this year, they’ll have 1-2 more years for that
            6, This year QB pool is dry. Apart from Murray there aren’t many even decent QBs

            I say if they can get a QB they LOVE, go for it. But if it’s only…well…OKish, do not take him right now. We can have OKish guys in the next to years, and we’ll have more picks then. Try to push for SB in 2019 or more likely 2020 with value picks and take a QB when you can.

            I say again…I’m not against taking a QB, but take it when it’s smart.
            I wouldn’t even hate if Murray is there at 1/15, trade up with next year’s second and this year’s first. If Murray is a potential franchise QB gimme that guy. Even if it hurts for our draft capital. But if a Geno Smith-like dude is at 2/3 after we trade back twice…do not pick him just to pick a QB when you could pick a WR or DL guy

  36. Mark D Burgesser says:

    A lot of sound commentary on this topic. Football is a business, and Russell is a businessman. As stated, he has lofty goals for his future and Russell is a machine in focusing on what needs to be done to get to where he wants to go. He’ll be dedicated and relentless while he follows each step towards his final goal. He will leave here if not convinced to stay and there will be no discounts. The Hawks are well aware after the last contract. However, I also believe Russell likes it here and that counts for something. But not enough to allow Seattle to smudge his plans of making top dollar. Russell can keep his business suit on, but Seattle needs to dress down. Russell is very, very special. He’s an angel in the community with his time and glows with an amazing demeanor everywhere he goes. He’s personable, pleasant, and a strong leader. He’s also the most exciting football player I’ve ever seen. And he’s ours. Nationally, the spotlight gets brighter every year and Russell will get his due. He can get it here, and when he does, I want to be part of it. The Hawks need to sit down, in aloha shirts and khakis, and pay the man his final offer. They can then put their suits back on.

    • Hawktalker#1 says:

      It sounds like you’re advocating giving Wilson a blank check for his next contract. I think that’s exactly the problem. The number he’s going to be looking for (based on what a few others have recently received) is likely going to be very challenging for the Seahawks to afford, especially fully guaranteed, which will likely be one of Wilson’s provisions. This is a very depressing subject as I’m not sure how the Seahawks find a way to resign Wilson based on the history pointing towards a monster contract that Wilson will likely have little interest and motivation to negotiate. No hometown discount.

  37. Volume12 says:

    Getting caught up on the SR bowl and Charles Omenihu might be the best player on the defensive side of the field today. My goodness.

    • Sea Mode says:

      Had a nice strip sack, but I missed a good chunk of the first half and didn’t watch him on other plays. Will have to check out more later.

      Saunders quickness for that early sack was nasty.

  38. Volume12 says:

    K-ST OL Dalton Risner is good? Has controlled Sweat on most reps.

    Gonna be a guy I go back and watch, which should be one of the main takeaways from these games.

    • Sea Mode says:

      Haha, nice. I just asked the same thing. Couldn’t see your comment yet. 👍

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think Risner looks stiff and his footwork is so laboured.

      Sweat is getting a good press in the media but he flashes for one or two plays then disappears. Not buying the top-10 talk with Sweat at all.

  39. Volume12 says:

    Wonder if Seattle will like NC St. QB Ryan Finley.

    Nothing spectacular, efficient, takes what the defense gives him, has the looks of a guy who will be backup/QB2 for a longtime in the league. Could be a fun guy to develop. Don’t think he goes before day 3 due to his age.

  40. Sea Mode says:

    Well, fun game. At least they scored some points. Who are you all feeling you need to go to the tape on after this week? (Rob, that might be a cool follow-up piece)

    Maybe a couple of those OL, esp USC’s Edoga, and LJ Collier from TCU come to mind off the top of my head. Probably WRs Keelan Doss and Penny Hart as well. CB Lonnie Johnson from Kentucky. LB Terrill Hanks to see if the hype is warranted.

    I watched some Notre Dame LB Drue Tranquill today because he was on the scout’s “winners” list for the week, and the kid can play. Flies around the field and can really run in coverage. I definitely want to see more. Might be the next Deion Jones type everyone is looking for. Lacks a little bit of arm length though, as well as the injury history might knock him down a bit. Horrible to watch his acl injury though celebrating a play. Definitely a gritty guy.

    *Warning: injury is shown and replayed at the beginning of the video linked below.

    Drue Tranquill highlights “adversity”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_Kdh-TvpGg

    • Eburgz says:

      Thanks for the list and the earlier reply SeaMode. Unfortunately I don’t have any names to add, I had to work today and wasn’t able to catch the game. Collier was at the top of my list to-watch list after his performance in practice.

  41. […] If you missed the article discussing the Russell Wilson contract situation and why Seattle might need to draft a quarterback early this year, click here. […]

  42. Matt says:

    Fascinating conversation…

    Unfortunately, I think the Seahawks are a bit screwed on the RW front. Murray won’t fall and I don’t see them ever picking inside the top 10 picks in future drafts. IMO, there are only 2 real options and neither of them are great.

    Option 1: Give into RW’s demands because they simply won’t get a good enough QB in time without seriously lucking out on a draft pick (that’s not a high 1st rounder).

    Option 2: Not popular, but you need to trade him to a team like the New York Giants, who currently have a very high pick and use that pick to guarantee that you will get “your guy.” I just don’t see that guy falling into the 20s.

    I don’t think it’s feasible to wait to draft his replacement while he is still on the team. The Seahawks will never be bad enough to get inside the top 10-12 picks meaning they would really need to mortgage picks to draft RW’s replacement. That doesn’t make sense while RW is still on the team.

    Whatever happens, the team cannot pull an Earl Thomas, where they will get nothing for a HOF player. That was a disaster. I’m inclined to go with option 1…pay the man. If you are not going to pay him or you are going to toy with that idea…you gotta deal him and get serious value.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think there’s a clear option 3. You draft someone you believe can develop into a starter. Obviously that’s no guarantee or anything. But you at least have to take someone in round three (for example) that you like and try to develop them. Even if it doesn’t work out at least you’ve given it a chance.

      And I think this is the way they will go. Option 1 — they can’t just give in to Wilson’s demands. That’ll mean giving him what he’s due on the tag and likely making him the highest paid player in the league by several million. Option 2 is just giving up, a surrender.

      The best thing to do is plan for the worst but go through the motions of this process with the hope you can come to an agreement with Wilson.

      • Hawksince77 says:

        Then no matter what, trade or no trade (of RW), we can anticipate them drafting a QB who they believe can possible succeed RW should he leave in a year or two. Aside from Murray, any ideas of who that might be? I think you wrote somewhere you were scouting some options, so I suspect that means we can anticipate a piece on this year’s QB class, is that right?

        Should be interesting. Looking forward to it.

  43. AlaskaSouth says:

    The QB position is BY FAR the most important and costliest position on the team so this discussion makes a ton of sense.

    How far would Murray need to fall to become a must-pick for the Seahawks? 15? Current SEA pick at 21? Late 1st round?

    Obviously only having 4 picks is crippling, but getting Murray’s talent (and commitment to football) would be huge.

  44. Gohawks5151 says:

    I understand the exercise but if would take Russ unless the offer is completely ridiculous. I’m going to take the proven commodity. High level proven player in this or any offense. Makes the team better. Also proven to be mostly healthy and plays through pain better then almost any other QB.

    Though I like him, Murray is still a toss up as far as success. Talent does not guarantee success and better QBs have failed through history. Also size is an issue. 5’10 195 if you believe the Sooner measurements. Durability is a real concern with front 7 atletes bigger and more explosive than ever.

    We as fans penny pinch more than the decision makers ever do. Some didn’t want to resign Kam, or Lockett or others but they have always signed the guys they needed.

  45. Ryan West says:

    I don’t think anything has changed. Leverage is still the same. Money vs. security. Tag works for us, not against us. People act like Rudd can just turn down our offer and say no thanks, i’ll Just play for the tag amount instead. That’s not how it works. We have to actually tag him. Which I would do for one year, then let him go if he won’t sign a relatively cheap deal.

    And remember, only we can tag him, so it’s not like if we don’t he can get that money elsewhere.

    Resetting the market is stupid. Let some other team be stupid.

    • Rob Staton says:

      The tag doesn’t work for us after two years.

      Russell can definitely say ‘no thanks’ and play for the tag amount. That definitely is how it works (see: Kirk Cousins). I don’t see why you think it’d be a good thing for Seattle to embrace a situation where they let him reach the market and get nothing more than a comp pick (maybe) in return.

      • RealRhino2 says:

        The tag always works for us. It’s a *team* option at a set contract price. You might think it’s too expensive in that third year (I agree), but the tag is still a team-only option, thus it always works for us. The player can’t tag himself. That’s what I meant.

        So no, Russ can’t just say no thanks, I’ll just play for the tag. He can say no thanks, then it’s up to us to decide whether the tag number is worth it. All Russ can do is say no thanks, and if we decline to tag him, then he can go get what he can as a free agent, but there are never any guarantees it will be as high as the tag amount.

        I think it’d be a good thing for Seattle to keep Russ up to the point where his cost exceeds his value. Once that happens, why should I worry about him hitting the market? If he’s more expensive than I am (and should be) willing to pay, let some other team blow all their cap space on him. We’ll have gotten X number of good years out of him. As you said, we can’t trade him without an extension, so either we trade him this year or we are essentially forcing ourselves to be in exactly the situation you describe. So unless you want to trade him this year (I assume you don’t, as he’s really good and cheap at $17MM), we are already there.

        • Rob Staton says:

          OK then — well the Seahawks will say, for two years at least, the tag number is worth it. Wilson knows that. And then they’ll either pay him a kinds ransom or let him test the market. That is beautiful for Wilson. So it very, very, very much works for him. All it does for Seattle is make it very difficult to get a fair price on a deal this year.

  46. GoHawksDani says:

    Yeah…nice thought experiment. But you wrote a couple of times that 1, You think Murray can be a #1 and if not, potentially a top 10-15 pick. Hawks will pick at the end of 1st or early-mid second.
    So 99% no way they can pick Murray. 2, You also wrote if I remember well that this QB class is weak. Do you think there’ll be a guy in late 1st/early 2nd who could start for 2020 or 2021 if Wilson would say ‘I don’t wanna play here anymore’? If Hawks pick a QB he needs to be a legit starter potentially. If they’d bring a ‘mehh’ QB Wilson would just call their bluff.
    But let’s say there isn’t any decent QB prospect outside of Murray (or at least a QB prospect worth your first pick). The Hawks can play with Russ on contract this year and they can franchise him next year. Do you think there’ll be more QB opportunities in the upcoming drafts?

    To be honest if SEA could get a top5 pick, a #15-20 pick, a third round this year and next year’s second round and third round for example I’d send Russ away. I know, I know, having a franchise QB is a must. But giving him 40m APY 100% GTD contract is a big fat NO. Tagging him for more than 2 years is also a NO. Tbh if he doesn’t want to stay in SEA, if he wants the biggest payday ever, he won’t stay, or the Hawks will suffer.
    Best case scenario: Hawks sign a 5 year, 165 mil, 130 mil GTD (20, 40, 40, 35, 30 with 20, 40, 35, 20, 15 GTD) contract with Russ
    Second best case scenario: Hawks sign 3 year 100m, 90m gtd (20, 40, 40 – 20, 40, 30)
    Third best case: Hawks doesn’t re-sign Wilson, tag him next year and after that they can sign him for a 4 year 135/105 contract
    Fourth best: Hawks trade this year or next Wilson for a bunch of high picks and find at least a decent QB (and some beast for the defense and OL, and 1-2 playmakers).
    Se yeah. Keep Wilson, but do not shoot yourself or the team in the foot with that move.

    Fully GTD contracts are REALLY scarry stuff. Imagine (hopefully not with Wilson) a guy signs for like 150 mil for 4 years fully GTD. And get an injury so bad he cannot play ever in the first year. That would cripple the CAP.

    Not sure if it could be done, but change the CAP rules so if a player injures the team must pay the guaranteed part to him, but his salary won’t count against the CAP? This would help the players, help the teams and only hurt the owners 😀

    • Rob Staton says:

      You can literally take Murray’s name out of the article and everything is still absolutely crucial.

    • RealRhino2 says:

      Why do people say things like, “Having a franchise QB is a must?” And what is a “franchise QB” in the first place? Lots of QBs are the “face of the franchise” and paid accordingly. Does that make them a “franchise QB?” Or is just the elite QBs? Hard to see how that statement is true, then, if you “need” an elite QB.

      By my count, the Rams, Texans, Ravens, Eagles, Bears and Cowboys all made the playoffs (and some even won playoff games) without an “elite” QB. Sure, most of those had promising young QBs, but isn’t that what we’d be looking at replacing Russ with? And half the teams with so-called “franchise QBs” (Stafford, Ryan, Newton, Rodgers, Cousins (lol)) missed out.

      Year after year we see that paying QBs top of the market money generally doesn’t work, and yet people keep acting like you “have” to do it if you want to win. Don’t get it.

      • Rob Staton says:

        A franchise QB is simply someone capable of helping you seriously compete for a Championship. Not every well paid player falls into that category (Dalton, Tannehill) but clearly players like Goff are not incapable of falling into that description.

        Paying a quarterback is just par for the course. If you have a good one you’ll end up paying them great money at some point. Nobody is saying you ‘have’ to pay them. But it’s not really a viable plan to draft someone like Mahomes then say… OK… time to go Pat after four years. Onto the next one we can get on the cheap.

  47. Easy Answers Hard Choices says:

    While the Seahawks may find themselves in a seemingly difficult situation regarding Russell Wilson’s upcoming contract negotiations, there is at least one scenario – if it plays out – that could work out well for them.

    It seems to me – given the nature of their press and fan base – that NY teams are always in a “win now” situation, which leads them on a never-ending search for “the savior” as I alluded to in a preceding post. Obviously, it is much easier to find a savior in MLB and the NBA where player mobility is virtually unfettered – at least relative to the NFL. This incessant search has led to trades or signings for players like Marvin Webster, Carmelo Anthony, Alex Rodriguez, Giancarlo Stanton, etc (I’m sure there are other good examples that I’m forgetting).

    Given the generally restrictive nature of NFL player movements (franchise tags of “free” agents, forfeiture of draft picks for signing certain free players, hard salary cap constraints) that can render NFL free agent signings more difficult/prohibitive than other sports, I believe the Seahawks can present the NY Giants with a “unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” they may feel compelled to take.

    Assuming that Kyler Murray is still available at #5, the Seattle Seahawks execute the following:

    • Trade Russell Wilson to the NY Giants for #5 pick and second-round pick.
    • Draft Kyler Murray with #5 pick.
    • Possibly packages Giants’ second round pick and Seattle’s first-round pick to move up in draft (if they
    are targeting a specific player). If not, stay put with (now) 5 draft picks and/or trade native first round
    pick for additional picks in later rounds (only JS knows which is the best option).
    • Sign QB Tyrod Taylor two a two-year contract.

    I think this would work for the Giants following reasons:

    •The Giants would (in theory) be willing to give up a 1st and 2nd round pick for Wilson. Giving up the “going rate” (3 1st round picks?) in combination with signing RW to a record-breaking long-term contract would subject them to outright scorn and ridicule in the NY and national media, and severely constrain the team’s ability to further improve itself in the immediate future.
    •Rightly or wrongly, the Giants could be seen as opportunistic and shrewd for taking advantage of Seattle’s RW conundrum and acquire RW at a below-market price.
    •RW is a proven commodity at quarterback, Kyler Murray is not.

    For Seattle, this could be viewed as a combination of addition and addition by subtraction:
    • They acquire Kyler Murray – the quarterback of the future – and the next Russell Wilson.
    • Tyrod Taylor gives them a viable near-term option at QB.
    • They acquire an additional 2nd round draft to help rebuild defense.
    • They free up future cap space to extend some combination of Clark/Reed/Wagner/Wright (but not all four).
    • Depending on extensions above, create some cap space for targeted free agents.

    While it may seem unappealing to “give” RW away to the Giants, there is no guarantee that RW will continue to play at his current high level. His game is predicated (at least in part) on his mobility. Although PC has coached up RW to be more patient in the pocket, his elusiveness still has value. This elusiveness will diminish over time; even now it is clear RW is heavier and has noticeably lost some of the quickness and “twitchiness” he possessed in his early years.

    However, the most compelling reason for this trade is the “addition by subtraction” part. Does anyone really want to go through the incessant distraction of what will inevitably be protracted, tortured, contract negotiations with RW’s agent for possibly the next 2-3 years? This could put the Seahawks franchise in limbo for the foreseeable future, and the team could be hamstrung until there is a resolution. The franchise doesn’t need the ongoing distraction of this situation. I’m already sick of hearing about it, and if allowed to persist, the situation will only get worse for all parties involved.

    It’s time to move on. Trade RW before (or during) the upcoming NFL draft.

  48. […] As we discussed last week — the eventual negotiating barometers are clear. […]