Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has told the team he wants a new contract in place before Tax Day 2019, putting new pressure on the two sides to ramp up negotiations.
Seattle’s signal-caller since the 2012-13 season, Wilson has made it clear to the Seahawks he would prefer to have a new contract in place by April 15, when off-season activities begin for the NFL franchise. Not only would that allow Wilson to focus on preparing for the 2019-20 season, but allow the team to devote attention to other matters.
Wilson’s Current Contract
Wilson inked his current deal with the Seahawks on July 31, 2015. It was a four-year deal worth 87.6 million, meaning Wilson will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the coming season if Seattle and he fail to reach an agreement on an extension by then. Wilson’s average annual value of $21.9 million per year currently ranks him behind 11 other quarterbacks in the National Football League.
At the time Wilson signed his current contract it made him the second-highest paid quarterback in the NFL by the annual average value, so it’s likely Wilson wants a figure that will place him back in the top 10 or top five at his position. In order to be back in the top five, Wilson will have to get a contract worth at least $27.5 million per year on average.
There hasn’t been any indication that Wilson would hold out in absence of a new deal. In January Wilson did indicate that he would be comfortable playing the 2019-20 season without an extension in place, possibly pointing to Wilson cutting off negotiations on an extension beyond the April 15 deadline.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll also spoke on the situation in January, stating the team wants to get a deal done.
Seattle has an estimated $12.108 million in cap space for 2019, ranking them behind 20 other NFL teams. Starting in 2020 the situation starts to improve drastically for the franchise, however, with an estimated $84.61 million of space under the projected cap. It’s possible that the Seahawks could put Wilson at a figure similar to his current cap hit for the 2019-20 season then give him a raise starting with the 2020-21 season. Much of that situation will depend on what Seattle decides to do with other free agents and pending free agents like safety Earl Thomas and inside linebacker Bobby Wagner.
Wilson’s History With the Seahawks
Wilson’s importance to the Seahawks is more clear than the fate of his contract negotiations. A five-time Pro Bowler, including consecutive appearances in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, Wilson has started every game for Seattle over the past seven seasons. During that time his completion percentage has never fallen below 61 percent and his low for touchdown passes is 20. While the sacks have increased and passing yards have decreased over the past two seasons, the Seahawks will be hard-pressed to find a more capable and consistent quarterback via the draft or free agency.
It’s likely that Seattle and Wilson will agree on terms on a new contract, whether that comes before April 15 or not. It seems Wilson wants to stay and the Seahawks are happy with the player who is arguably the face of the franchise, so it’s just a matter of hashing out the all-important details now.