The Seattle Seahawks shouldn’t be worried about the state of contract negotiations with quarterback Russell Wilson just yet, according to former NFL agent and current CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry. But he also said acting sooner rather than later is definitely in the club’s best interests.
In an appearance on The Jeff Blair Show Wednesday morning on Sportsnet 590 The Fan, Corry explained his rationale.
“It’s too early because we’re not near training camp yet,” Corry told guest host Joey Vendetta. “That’s 30 to 40 days away. There tends to be a tendency with NFL contracts [that] if there’s a deadline—and [training] camp is usually a deadline—that’s when you have a bigger push to get something done.”
Wilson’s future with the team became a prominent talking point earlier this week when Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that the quarterback’s agent, Mark Rodgers, sent the Seahawks a 16-page paper to justify their position in recent contract discussions, a sign the talks were not going well.
The 26-year-old pivot, scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2015 season, is reportedly seeking to be paid amongst the highest-paid players at his position, but Corry says the Seahawks star should instead focus on signing a four-year extension, to ensure he gets another chance to cash in as a free agent during the prime of his career.
“It could benefit Russell as opposed to a five- or six-year extension,” said Corry. “It gives him another bite to sign another mega-deal after four years at the top of the market. I would be fine at that length.
“[Detroit Lions quarterback] Matthew Stafford plateaued after one breakout year. He signed a three-year extension and he’ll come up as a (UFA) at a young age and hell reap the benefit of the quarterback market.”
However, the Seahawks are in a tricky position with Wilson, who could decide to play out the 2015 season under the final year of his rookie contract in order to raise his market value even further.
“[Seattle] should remember this in the negotiation,” Corry said. “It’s a principle for very good to great players. Any time you wait to do a contract, it will cost you more [money] in the long run.”
That’s what makes putting a value on Wilson so complicated, according to Corry.
Wilson has been extremely successful throughout his first three NFL seasons, accumulating a 36-12 record and winning one Super Bowl, but it’s tough for the club to realistically pay him at the same rate as a top-flight quarterback when he doesn’t throw the ball 30 to 40 times a game like other established quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees.
“Their team is set up with the running game and defence,” he explained. “We don’t know if Russell would be elite [in terms of passing statistics] because they don’t ask him to do that…. I tend to think he could be successful doing that, because he can buy time to pass the ball. He’s not looking to take off and run like [Robert Griffin III].”
Wilson is scheduled to earn a base salary of $1.54 million in 2015. He signed a four-year deal worth a total of $2.99 million after the Seahawks selected him in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft.