In addition to the two reasons mentioned earlier on Wednesday for Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to do a new deal by September, there’s a third potential benefit: Ending the potential distraction coming from his unsettled status.
It’s only July, and his situation has become a huge story, with multiple members of the media convinced that Wilson could be (not will be, could be) the first healthy franchise quarterback to change teams due to the inability to work out a new contract. Absent a contract that keeps Wilson from becoming a potential free agent in March, his status will continue to be a top story in the NFL and a constant source of reports and opinion and speculation about the Seahawks, threatening to turn upside down a locker room that already has more than a few players who resent Russell Wilson.
The guy guiding Wilson through the process is agent Mark Rodgers. A former football agent who focused on baseball and has now returned to football because one of his baseball clients is pretty damn good at the other game, Rodgers became the sole agent for Wilson after Wilson parted ways with Bus Cook last year. Some league insiders believe that, if Cook were still working for Wilson, a deal with the Seahawks already would be done. With Rodgers advising Wilson, it’s unclear when it will be resolved.
The Seahawks seem to be leery of Rodgers because there’s no broader working relationship with him, and because his approach to the negotiations has to date been unconventional, including that 16-page position statement sent to the Seahawks. That’s fitting because Wilson is an non-traditional franchise quarterback — a guy who wins without huge passing numbers.
“With Russell, he’s unique, so let the debate begin,” Rodgers told TCPalm.com. “He’s unconventional in size. People argue that he’s a game manager or say it’s the defense or Marshawn Lynch — or all of the above. I listen and take all that into account. At the end of the day, it’s about winning and what he’s asked to do and he does it very, very well.”
And that seems to be the focal point of the argument in favor of paying Wilson. Despite the absence of huge passing numbers, he wins football games.
“I don’t have to argue statistics with the Seattle Seahawks on the value of Russell Wilson,” Rodgers said. “In football, the most important stat to me has always been ‘Does he win?’ It’s hard to argue that Russell Wilson doesn’t win.”
He absolutely does win. But the question is whether he’ll still win if he accounts for a much larger piece of the total salary cap, which necessarily will leave less money behind for compensation other key players who also can answer the operative “does he win?” question in the affirmative.
At some point, Wilson will be making so much that it will be hard for him to win. The ability of the Seahawks and Rodgers to strike the right balance will directly influence their ability to keep Wilson in Seattle. If Wilson decides he simply wants to maximize his earning potential, the only way he’ll do that is by jumping to a team desperate for a franchise quarterback.