Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson wants a new contract prior to the start of the team's offseason workout program on April 15, according to a report by Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times.
Wilson is getting set to enter the final year of the four-year contract extension he signed with the team at the start of training camp on July 31, 2015. The extension was worth $87.6 million and gave him a big raise over what he was scheduled to make in the final year of his rookie contract with the team.
Wilson reportedly wants the deal done before the offseason program begins in order to avoid "speculation and discussion" about the negotiations of a new contract that persisted up until he signed his new deal in 2015. That contract averaged $21.9 million a year over the life of the deal and was set to pay Wilson $17 million in base salary for the 2019 season and cost $25.286 million against the salary cap. When that contract was signed, Wilson was the second-highest paid player in the league behind only Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Wilson is now the 12th highest paid quarterback as Rodgers ($33.5 million/year), Atlanta's Matt Ryan ($30 million/year) and Minnesota's Kirk Cousins ($28 million/year, fully guaranteed) have set a new bar.
The two sides have reportedly discussed a contract recently with Wilson and head coach Pete Carroll speaking at the NFL Owner's Meetings in Phoenix last week. However, it's unclear what purpose this deadline would truly serve. The Seahawks have four players they would like to get long-term deals done with who are set to enter the final year of their deal. Defensive end Frank Clark has had the franchise tag attached to him for this season and the team can only negotiate a long-term deal with him through July 15 before Clark will have to play out 2019 season at the $17.1 million tag number.
Wilson, linebacker Bobby Wagner and defensive tackle Jarran Reed are also set to enter the final years of their deals. The Seahawks are set up well to be able to keep at least a couple of those players with the team into the future due to the lack of long-term, big money financial commitments. While Wilson is clearly among the top priorities, it may be more pressing for Seattle to get a deal done with Clark first as there is an actual deadline on those negotiations.
Seattle can still place the franchise tag on Wilson for up to three seasons, though the third year would appear unlikely due to the prohibitive cost.
A franchise tag for the quarterback position would pay Wilson roughly $30.6 million in 2020, per Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. The number would jump 20 percent to a value of $36.7 million in 2021 before skyrocketing to a value of $52.43 million in 2020.
Wilson has been one of the league's best quarterbacks since entering the league in 2012. He is deserving of being among the highest paid players in the league due to his track record of production over the last seven seasons. The two-year value of the franchise tag being $67.3 million will likely be the starting point for any negotiations for a new deal. Whether Wilson will pursue a fully guaranteed contract like the one Cousins received from Minnesota is unknown and could complicate negotiations. However, two weeks may be too short of a time frame to expect a deal to get done. Will Wilson cease all negotiations until after the season if a deal isn't reached in that span?
Seahawks hosting handful of free agent visits:
The Seahawks are hosting a handful of veteran free agents this week.
According to a source, cornerbacks Jamar Taylor and Davon House, defensive ends Courtney Upshaw and Nate Orchard, and safety Taylor Mays are all coming in for visits.
Taylor's and Mays' visits were first reported by Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, respectively.
All five visits come at positions that appear to be areas of need for the Seahawks as they move toward the NFL Draft. Seattle needs pass rushing depth to pair with Frank Clark and options to help mitigate the loss of Justin Coleman in free agency at cornerback. Additionally, Earl Thomas and Maurice Alexander leaving for Baltimore and Buffalo in free agency has left some need for depth at safety as well.
Taylor was the only member of the group to play in more than four games for any team last season. He appeared in a total of 14 games last season split between the Arizona Cardinals (10) and Denver Broncos (4), Taylor started three games, recording 18 total tackles with a pass defended and a forced fumble.
House played in just three games for the Green Bay Packers last season while Orchard appeared in a total of four games for the Buffalo Bills (3) and Kansas City Chiefs (1).
Upshaw did not play in a game anywhere last season after being released by the New York Jets at the end of training camp. Mays has not played in an NFL game since the Cincinnati Bengals released him in 2016 after being suspended for a violation of the league's substance-abuse policy. He spent the 2017 season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.
Photo Credit: ARLINGTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 05: Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes the ball against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half during the Wild Card Round at AT&T Stadium on January 05, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)