Agent Mark Rodgers broke his public silence on his negotiations with the Seahawks on a contract extension beyond 2015 for quarterback Russell Wilson this morning by talking to 710 ESPN Seattle.
The agent's message for you via the "Brock and Salk Show" Thursday morning: "As a Seahawks' fan, it's a no-brainer to think that Russell Wilson will be a Seahawk for life. And I tend to be very, very optimistic. ... So as long as I am talking to the Seahawks, it's with a tone of optimism, it's with the idea of optimism...
"The goal here is at the end of the day we have a successful negotiation with the Seahawks."
Rodgers said Wilson will be on the field Friday as Seattle's organized team activities continue, after the quarterback attended funerals in Florida Monday in support of Jimmy Graham after the passing of his manager and mentor and on Thursday in Jacksonville for the father of fellow Seahawks teammate Cliff Avril.
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The agent praised the Seahawks for supporting Wilson's trip to Florida to be with his grieving teammates. Rodgers added Wilson is "very, very happy to be with the Seahawks" and "loves playing for Pete Carroll." He said Wilson understands there is "something special" going on right now with the franchise coming off two consecutive Super Bowls and an early favorite to reach a third one.
"He wants to stay a part of that for a long, long time," Rodgers said.
So, Wilson's agent is saying, there is no irreconcilable gulf so wide it makes an agreement on an extension unlikely before the 2015 season begins in September, as one national report asserted this month. Rodgers said "95 percent" of what he's read concerning the status and progress of talks have been "off point."
"I would characterize our talks as ongoing...robust at times," Rodgers said, "positive and encouraging."
Then Rodgers asserted a point no one has been considering.
"Neither side has any sense of real deadline," Wilson's agent said of his talks that he called "regular" and "positive" with the Seahawks. "There really are no deadlines. Russell is under contract with the Seahawks. Russell would be fine, if he has to, with playing the fourth year of his contract ... and then moving on from there. I don't feel any particular crunch on time and any real particular deadlines."
The assumption has been if a new deal isn't done by the start of training camp at the end of July, it won't get done at any time during the 2015 season and will then become a huge distraction and issue for the quarterback and the team.
But Rodgers said Wilson has been planning financially all along to play 2015, his fourth and final one on his rookie deal as Seattle's third-round draft choice in 2012, at his scheduled $1.5 million in base salary. That may not change even if he gets an extension done before this coming season; the Seahawks have a recent history of signing core players to extensions while keeping their current-year base pay the same and then adding bonuses and guaranteed money up front.
“So there isn’t any expectation of additional money coming in from the Seattle Seahawks this coming year," Rodgers said.
Rodgers said his client doesn't have a mortgage (that likely means he is renting or outright owns the house in which he and his two Great Danes have been living in northeast Seattle) and he doesn't have a car payment.
Rodgers has done numerous deals in baseball and has been Wilson's baseball representative since his days of playing minor-league baseball while still playing football and baseball in college at North Carolina State. So his background is in baseball's fully guaranteed deals and windfalls of free agency without a salary cap.
"I'm a huge proponent of free agency and an open-market economy" in sports, Rodgers said.
The agent talked about that today on the radio, about how in baseball it's proven to be wise for his clients to play out their contracts and then enter lucrative free agency. But, as Rodgers noted, the NFL has a salary cap. And the NFL has a franchise-tag system that could keep Wilson with the Seahawks for three more years after this one, on a year-to-year basis that would cost Seattle $20-plus million per year against its cap. The team doesn't want to cripple its finances that way. And Wilson would likely to be uncomfortable with the lack of security a series of one-year, potentially contentious franchise-tag arrangements would create.
Rodgers said in Wilson's case you have to weigh his client's desire to remain with Seattle against all that.
As for how much the Seahawks should value Wilson among, say, Aaron Rodgers earning a league-high $22 million per year from Green Bay or Miami recently signing sub-.500 quarterback Ryan Tannehill to a four-year deal at an average of $19 million annually, Mark Rodgers made a point that stuck out to me.
"There's value in winning," the agent said. "To me, that's the key element."
Wilson is 42-14 with two Super Bowl starts, the most winning in the first three years of a quarterback's career in NFL history.
The takeway remains what we'd talked about before today: Sensing Wilson will get his new deal before training camp, after all.
You can listen to Wilson's agent here at the top of the page.