The Texas Rangers got plenty of free publicity on Thursday by selecting Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the Rule 5 draft, a name that actually makes baseball sound even more boring than it is.
The Rangers got some more free publicity, via Wilson and others talking about whether he’ll play baseball.
“Obviously, I love baseball and just love the game,” Wilson told reporters on Thursday, via quotes distributed by the team. “It’s a relaxing sport, it’s a good sport. I played it my whole life, but there’s nothing better than playing the quarterback position and playing in front of 90,000 people and it being third and six and the game on the line or being in the red zone and having to make a play in a big situation. So that’s why I decided to play football because I love those moments and I love those big games.”
Wilson admitted that, at one point, he considered being a two-sport athlete at the professional level.
“[Rangers G.M. Jon Daniels] asked me if I’m trying to go Bo Jackson?” Wilson said. “I thought about it before, I’m not going to lie. But no. I mean I’m just focused on football.”
Some think he should consider playing baseball, including an NFL Hall of Famer who once played for the Atlanta Falcons and the Atlanta Braves — on the same day. (Mrs. PFT and I attended the baseball half of that doubleheader, two years before she was Mrs. PFT. And nine years before PFT was PFT.)
During the Chargers-Broncos pregame show, Deion Sanders said that Wilson should weigh all options and consider playing baseball. 49ers owner Jed York tweeted, “I agree.”
I agree with his agreement, for reasons explained during Thursday’s PFT Live. Wilson will be eligible for a new contract after the 2014 season, but he’ll have no way to force the Seahawks to do a new deal that pays him close to market value. Playing baseball in lieu of playing football becomes a viable alternative, especially if the Seahawks make a below-market offer to extend a contract that would pay him a mere $798,000 in 2015.
Wilson’s “Go ‘Hawks!” attitude is refreshing, but if he carries that mindset too deeply into his career, he’s going to get hosed. Having options means having leverage.
Wilson currently has a significant option that eventually can be parlayed into significant leverage. While playing two sports at the same time is unrealistic for a modern NFL quarterback, Wilson shouldn’t close the door on taking up baseball — especially since he could play it a lot longer, emerge from the game a lot healthier, and if he rises to the major leagues make a lot more money.