We’ll see Friday morning how many Seattle Seahawks will be there to tap the “I’m In” sign on the way to the practice field for the first day of 2015 training camp.
Because that’s really what the Seahawks have been about since the Pete Carroll-John Schneider regime took over in 2010.
Getting guys to buy in, to sacrifice the personal for good of the collective, to have the back of their brothers is an effective mindset until an inevitable moment of reckoning hits every player.
This is a business. And it’s not really a matter of being “in” as much being “bought” in.
As such, we’ll see if Russell Wilson will be the game’s newest multimillionaire or continue to be the NFL’s best bargain — with an uncertain future in Seattle.
Will Michael Bennett and Kam Chancellor be the newest to try to leverage their play into raises on top of existing contracts? Will Bruce Irvin grumble and Bobby Wagner ask, “Hey, what about me?”
For a team that historically feasts on dysfunction and delights in defying haters, doubters and skeptics, the Seahawks should be in for one of their all-time best training camps.
We just don’t know how much disruption they’ll have to feed on until we take roll at the first practice to see who’s healthy and who’s happy, and how many others aren’t “in.”
It’s always something this time of year: Marshawn Lynch’s state of mind and soreness of back, Percy Harvin’s hip and degree of discontent, or fall-out from the Super Bowl 48 win. The Seahawks have powered through those issues without coming undone.
But nothing has matched the vexing uncertainty over the future of Wilson, the face of the franchise, darling of the fans, the lovable underdog who beat the odds to take the Seahawks where they’d never gone.
How could the Seahawks not pay him exactly what he wants? Or maybe a part of this is being about what his agent wants.
One good thing about the summer-long oxygen depravation from holding their breaths over Wilson’s contract, it has reduced the fans’ dithering over the goal-line interception in Super Bowl 49.
The health of Wilson’s psyche is at great debate. Does he feel alienated that the Seahawks haven’t tripped over themselves to offer a record-setting contract?
Well, yes, sure he does. He is the master of maintaining the appropriate public profile, but pretty good scuttlebutt has it that he privately expressed serious disappointment that the extension hadn’t been reached — with suitable millions and guarantees.
He’s said if he’s not happy with an offer before the start of camp, he’ll shut down negotiations and play under the final season of his current contract.
Could that cause irreparable damage to the relationship between Wilson and the Seahawks?
No, it’s not irreparable. But it takes an awareness on the part of Wilson that so many professional athletes arrive at the hard way. Negotiations aren’t personal.
Nobody knows Wilson’s value better than the Seahawks. Nobody else drafted Wilson when they had the chance, nor, likely, would have given him such an early chance to win the job. Wilson responded spectacularly.
Great players such as Wilson get that way by taking extraordinary pride in their performance and preparation.
But that pride causes many to measure their success by their pay relative to others. And sometimes that leads to faulty short-term decisions.
Wilson’s weapons-grade belief in himself could lead him to play this season at a lowly $1.5 million, facing the risk of an injury that could endanger his first huge pay day.
Since he’s never missed a game or even a practice, maybe that’s not such a great risk. And it’s hard for anybody to imagine Wilson on game day playing at anything less than his typical hyper-competitiveness.
Maybe he just needed to wait until the final hour to get as much out of the Seahawks as he could before signing the papers and taking the field with a big smile on his face.
Wilson has always been big on supplying late drama.