The deadline is artificial, but it’s also very real. If the Seahawks and quarterback Russell Wilson don’t work out a new contract by the start of training camp, the process all be placed on hold until after the season.
Coupled with the belief that Wilson wants to be paid now as if already were a free agent, that doesn’t bode well for a deal getting done.
But a deal isn’t out of the question. Some think there’s a better chance a deal will be finalized than most believe there to be. Then again, more and more league insiders and observers believe there’s no chance a deal will be done by the start of training camp, so any chance of a contract being worked out would arguably be a better chance than most currently perceive.
Ultimately, it comes down to how much Wilson and agent Mark Rodgers want — and how much they’re willing to leave behind so that the Seahawks will be able to put great players around Wilson. It’s a line of demarcation between Wilson’s extreme confidence in his abilities and the delusion that he’s a franchise quarterback around whom a consistent contender cheaply can be cobbled. Between his commitment to the team and his commitment to getting paid every last dollar. Between his apparent obsession with being viewed as a good guy and his willingness to be perceived as selfish.
That last factor could be more important than any other, given the carefully-manicured image that Wilson has projected during his fairly short time in the NFL. That squeaky-clean faςade is leaking oil, and Wilson presumably has sufficient self-awareness to realize that.
For many franchise quarterbacks, the question is how much is enough? For Wilson, the better question is how much is too much? How much is too much in the eyes of the media, the fans, and teammates who already have a healthy dose of resentment toward the “Go ‘Hawks!” wunderkind?
Regardless of whether it’s real or phony, Wilson has become since 2012 the guy who can do no wrong. In recent weeks, Wilson has come off as a guy who can’t do much right when it comes to his contractual expectations. And the only way to reverse that could be to do a deal that meshes with the persona he previously had perfected.
For a while, it seemed that Wilson would be able to make a cash grab without jeopardizing his credibility. For now, it looks like Wilson can preserve that good-guy image by putting his humility where his money is.
The time to do that is right now, and once that decision is made, it shouldn’t take very long to work out a long-term contract that balances a lifetime of financial security with a decade of championship contention.