Are contract expectations undermining Russell Wilson’s image?

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The apparent desire of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to become the newest highest-paid player in the NFL conflicts with the “Go ‘Hawks!” mentality Wilson regularly projects. As Wilson’s unsettled status beyond 2015 continues to linger, that disconnect could be starting to take a toll on Wilson’s reputation in Seattle.

Larry Stone of the Seattle Times writes that “Wilson’s image is absorbing some serious puncture wounds” amid the increasing focus on his contractual expectations.

“I’ve heard and read more Wilson backlash in the past three weeks than in the previous three years combined,” Stone writes. “When it came to throwing an interception on the decisive play of the Super Bowl, Wilson largely got away blame-free. But when a story leaked last week that he wanted to become the highest-paid player in the NFL, well, the notion of a greedy Wilson began to be put forth on talk shows and comment threads.”

The problem isn’t whether Wilson wants to be the highest-paid player in the NFL, because the bar remains at a mere $22 million per year. The problem is whether Wilson wants to clear the current high-water mark by $3 million or more per year.

That’s where “Go ‘Hawks!” gives way to “pay me.” Most fans believe Wilson can’t be both a pom-pom waving team-first system quarterback and a shrewd, squeeze-out-every-dollar businessman. (And there’s nothing wrong with being a shrewd, squeeze-out-every-dollar businessman; that’s what pretty much every NFL owner is.)

Compounding the problem is that Wilson has been readily available to the media, doing radio interviews and speaking at his various passing camps and sitting down with ESPN and appearing on Jimmy Kimmel’s show. Although Wilson continues to avoid saying he wants to be paid more than anyone else in the game, the fact that he’s not saying he doesn’t is reinforcing the perception that he does.

Especially when he blurted out $25 million as a possible alternative to his $1.5 million salary for 2015.

As training camp, the preseason, and the regular season approach, Wilson will continue to be asked questions about his contract. At this point, the only way to keep the situation from becoming a major distraction for the 2015 season will be to do the best deal he can with the Seahawks or shut down all negotiations until February.

Given that healthy franchise quarterbacks always work out long-term contracts, it’s odd that the story has gotten so big so long before the 2016 offseason. Some would blame Wilson for that. Others would blame his agent, Mark Rodgers. Others would blame the team for not paying Wilson what he’s worth. Others would blame the media for making Mt. Rainier out of a raisin.

Maybe the blame should  on one or more or all of those parties. Regardless, the current size of the story and the potential that it will become dramatically bigger once the time comes to play games that count necessarily becomes a factor Wilson must consider when assessing the offer the Seahawks put on the table before Week One.

75 responses to “Are contract expectations undermining Russell Wilson’s image?

  1. Fans whose opinions of Wilson have changed for the worse are confusing game and business. He organized the team Hawaii trip in April, participated in every offseason workout (mandatory or otherwise) and has said he’s fine playing out the final year of his rookie deal without an extension.

    Trying to get paid has nothing to do with the kind of player and teammate he is. Honestly the NFLPA probably loves him for trying to effect change with respect to guaranteed money

  2. Seahawks management has no respect for Wilson.

    Seahawks fans who say don’t break the bank for one player to destroy the LOB have no respect for Wilson.

    Look what a franchise QB did to the LOB in the super bowl.

    Russell Wilson get out of Seattle as fast as you can.

    Rob Gradkowski is making more money than you. Josh McCown is making more money than you.

  3. I think it’s the other way around, I think we’re seeing the real Russell Wilson now.

    By the way, in almost every pic I’ve seen of him, he always looks high.

  4. I already didn’t like his carefully crafted image. This is all just confirmation.

    You would think that someone who claims with annoying regularity that God has a plan for him would know a bit more about a certain book’s lessons about greed.

    Unless it’s all an act of course.

  5. The guy deserves to get paid. He should hold out till the 10th game of the season so as not to get hurt and still accrue his yr.
    Seatllte needs to make it right with thos top qb. I nots hatd to see that he has been the best qb the srahawks have ever had. Now are they going to be so stupid as to let him walk

  6. Stop. It’s a huge story because you’ve made it one…you and the rest of the media. The notion that Wilson looks bad because a deal isn’t done yet is absurd. And his “$25 million” comment is clearly being used out of the context in which it meant. Ridiculous.

    -Eagles fan

  7. The guy deserves to get paid. He should hold out till the 10th game of the season so as not to get hurt and still accrue his yr.
    Seatllte needs to make it right with this qb. I nots hard to see that he has been the best qb the seahawks have ever had. Now are they going to be so stupid as to let him walk

  8. And here is the SINGULAR reason why Tom Brady has been THE most popular player in Boston Sports History. He has always taken below market money to allow for a better team to be built around him. This always stood in stark contrast to “Pay-me-a-ton” Manning, who always seemed to want to be the highest paid player. The truth, I’m sure, is somewhat different. They are probably closer than they appear in this regard.

    Not that anyone needs to cry for Tom Brady. His priority has always seemed to be winning football games over everything else. And that, in turn, has allowed him to seemingly win at everything else. No amount of money can buy what he has earned, Four SB Rings, six AFC Championship rings, a dozen or so Division Championships and with them the scorn of millions of fans burned by his scorched earth career through NFL History.

    Russell Wilson may well choose to chase every last dollar at the expense of the rest of his teammates. This will ultimately detract from his leadership abilities, however. It may also hinder his now-famous quest for the six Super Bowl trophies.

  9. It’s fair that this would hurt his image, because he IS being greedy. He isn’t in the top tier of NFL QBs, but it would be fine to pay him on the fringe of that (and easily on the high end of typical franchise QB contracts) given everything the team has accomplished during his time at QB. But wanted to be the top paid player in football means he wants to be overpaid beyond THAT overpay, as if he’s saying “I’m the best player in football AND I want to be overpaid even for that”. That’s just ridiculous.

    Pay the guy, sure. Overpay somewhat, sure as well. But you have to draw the line somewhere, and if HIS line is as high as the moon, he isn’t leaving much choice for Seattle.

  10. Media has the ability to to make good guys look bad in an effort to generate revenue for themselves. It’s big business.

  11. He should be keeping his mouth shut and deferring to his agent who should also keep his mouth shut. Stay hungry Stay humble. Not surprised to see the Seahawks odds of winning the Super Bowl have decreased in Vegas after his recent comments. When was the last time the highest paid player in the NFL won the Super Bowl?

  12. Can someone please list the QB’s who who had better stats and accomplished more. than Wilson after their first THREE years. I’ll wait. lol

  13. Who’s worth more, Wilson or Flacco?

    I didn’t ask if Flacco was overpaid, I asked “who’s worth more”.

  14. It amazes me how little some of you know about the salary cap. The cap hit in any given year is NOT simply the sum of all salaries. Contracts are written all the time where the cap hit is pushed out to later, or even where the cap hit for the entire contract is absorbed in the first 1, 2, or 3 years.

    Everybody talked about how Aaron Rodgers’ contract would cripple the Packers. They hopped up and down and SWORE Clay Matthews’ contract would cripple them. Since those contracts were written, the Pack has signed their number 1 and number 2 receivers to highly lucrative deals as well as a couple of their best O-Linemen. They also brought in Peppers as a free agent. And at this moment, right now, the Packers have something like $14M in cap space left.

    Also, unused cap space rolls over into the next year, which is what will likely happen with the Pack’s $14M. The teams that perennially contend are the teams that manage the cap well. I would imagine that the contracts Seattle has written while Wilson has been cheap were written so the cap hit will be pretty much gone by the time Wilson does get paid, meaning they’ll have plenty of cap space with which to work Wilson’s deal.

  15. As a Pats fan, I remember hearing all these feeble minded arguments about system QB and poor stats. I was far more afraid of Wilson in the super bowl than Luck. Don’t get me wrong, Luck is a great QB. He’s just no Russell Wilson.

  16. No doubt, he’s a winner and great leader with a highly competitive undercurrent as the driving force, which explains his stance with contract demands. While negotiations are market conditions will ultimately dictate the structure of Wilson’s next deal, that next deal and those very same market conditions will dictate whether and how ling the Seahawks will be able to field a sustainably elite roster.

  17. There will always be some fans looking to call athletes greedy, but I don’t see how this really hurts his image. Seattle would be wise to lock him up, even if it takes a monster deal to do it. The price will get even higher once Andrew Luck gets extended- especially is Luck is still without a Super Bowl ring at that time.

  18. Andrew Luck 30 million per year, 90 million guaranteed, hands down the next Payton/Brady elite QB. Wilson is a close second and should get close to that figure as well.

  19. He’s taken a traditionally bad team to the Super Bowl in two of his three seasons. Why shouldn’t he get paid?!

    If the fans in Seattle don’t appreciate all the wins that Wilson has got them, then trade him to Cleveland. We’ll gladly give up a couple first round picks for a winner.

  20. “. “When it came to throwing an interception on the decisive play of the Super Bowl, Wilson largely got away blame-free. ”

    ______________________________

    In what universe does this writer reside?

    That Pick was all on him and everyone outside of Seattle believes that.
    Telegraph to a rookie corner much?

  21. if you can’t live on 15-20 mil a year, you have more serious problems outside of a fragile ego that demands you be paid more money than you this guy or that guy.

    I’ve been a Hawk fan since ’76, saw Wilson play in High School here in Richmond, and have been a big fan since he was drafted. Certainly Hawks hit gold when they drafted him where they did and he is woefully undepaid. His contributions cannot be denied(Lynch is much better with the threat of Wilson running than without him), but he has been extremely lucky also. He put the ball on the ground 11 times last year without losing a fumble, his receivers have somehow come down with dispproportionate number of the constant 50/50 balls he throws up, he infrequently hits a receiver in stride or throws them open and underthrows passes more often than not, GB’s absolute self emoliation in the NFCCG prevented him from going into the off season having one of the most putrid post season games in history( then he followed that up with a pedestrian SB and THE PASS.)

    Next year, Lynch likely takes his Skittles and goes home, Wilson can play on the franchise tender and we will have better idea how he stacks up as a carry the team franchise QB.

  22. I don’t think the notion of Wilson as highest paid player in the game is that ridiculous. If you were starting a team today and were allowed to pick any player in the league to build around (in other words, you have an eye to the future and have to consider age), your list is pretty much Aaron Rodgers, Luck and Wilson. QB trumps all else, and how many QBs are there in the league who are really good, proven and young enough to give you significant years of service?

  23. He should have said 100 million a year and then people would’ve taken his comments in the context of what he was trying to say. Shame.

  24. Florio – your obsession with Russell wilsons contract is beginning to scare me. Just relax man he’s gonna get a deal done. Enjoy the holiday

  25. If we let Wilson walk, the teams will line up to get him: Bills, Browns, Jets, Raiders, and all 3 teams within the NFC West, the Rams, the Cards, and even the 49ers. And yes, they will pay him everything he wants. And yes, he will take any of them to the playoffs.

  26. Don’t love the guy but he shouldn’t leave one nickel on the table. The greedy owners cut guys and restructure contracts. There are no guarantees in the NFL. Wilson has been to the Super Bowl 2 consecutive years. He should cash in as much as he can.

  27. The reason the Hawks don’t want to overpay for him is because they know that he is just outside being a Top 10 QB in the NFL. And if they commit all the cap space to him, the supporting cast that had the biggest impact on his “wins” will no longer be able to be retained.

    This guy cannot carry a team or an offense that flows through him. The middle of the field with regards to his passing is very limited due to his size. If there’s no special run game, the focus will just be to keep him in the pocket and make him throw down the middle.

  28. To me, its not that he wants to get paid, because he’s truly earned that. But to be the highest paid in the league? Hell naw. He needs to be reasonable. He’s not even a top 5 QB. He’s surrounded by a team that makes him look better than he is.

  29. The guy played at a high level with two SB appearances, one Super Bowl win on a rookie contract that is going to pay him 1.5mill this year. He didn’t complain the entire time, still hasn’t. All he did was say what he though he was worth.

    Seattle fans are crazy if they don’t think Russell Wilson is important to that team. He and Mashawn Lynch dragged that team through the season with a god awful group of receivers. He is the only QB in the league who runs the ball well without taking many bad hits. Seattle cants just go out and get so one to replace 4300yds of offense. 20mill is the going rate to retain a starting QB, and he can get it somewhere.

  30. I would love to see him say he would take less money and allow the team to pay a few more players. I don’t see how paying very good (not great) QBs 1/6 of your cap space yearly is ever gonna be a recipe for long term success. But hard to blame the player for wanting to cash in. Career is short and the long term effects of playing football are difficult

  31. What is interesting is the interplay in the media and attempts to sway public opinion. In commercial negotiations, they are not typically disclosed.

    The parties negotiate a deal or not. Price is what one party is willing to pay for item or services. Value propositions and leverage occurs.

    Here, dirty laundry is aired and info leaked, very unattractive.

  32. There is a lot to dislike about the Seahawks organization and even more to dislike about Seahawks fans, but Russell Wilson’s image is just fine.

  33. A contract dispute doesn’t undermine Russell Wilson’s image as much as if he were to instruct his minions to deflate footballs and cheat his way into Superbowls.

  34. This guy’s life has changed the past three years. Until last year, he was married, worked from sunup to sundown, and didn’t obsess with how he looked.
    He has now chosen to live on the high wire. He’s in a whole other world, dancing with the stars and living the dream.
    Seahawks are right to be cautious and to stick to their business model while this kid figures out where he wants to be.
    It might be wise to let him play out his contract. All sorts of things can happen between now and 2017.

  35. I don’t really care to hear about every step and posture of these contract negotiations. Just tell me the result when they’re all over.

  36. My post about how the cap really works and how the Seahawks may very well be able to pay Wilson, keep their other key players, and even sign more key players, was immediately followed by more stuff from more people that just can’t seem to grasp how the cap works.

    There is nothing wrong with not knowing how something works. I don’t know how a lot of things work. That said, there is a LOT wrong with not knowing how something works but still posting about it on the Internet with what amounts to nothing but nonsense.

  37. You are just speculating. No matter what Wilson says or does this writer will spin negative. The QB has every right to seek the best deal he can. The organization has done more on and off the field since he has been there than their entire existence. They have paid him long snapper or near practice squad money for 3 years. Pay the man.

  38. The teams that are perennial contenders are the teams that manage the cap well. The Pack and the Pats come immediately to mind and I believe the Ravens are also solid in that regard but I may be mistaken about the Ravens.

    Teams that don’t manage it well may have a string of good years, but their poor cap management eventually comes home to roost. The Steelers come immediately to mind in that regard. They kept “going for it” by over paying aging players and pushing the cap hits further and further out. Well, the bill finally came due and they went right into the dumpster. The Jags did the same thing and they still haven’t recovered.

  39. More and more the media has made Mt. Rainier out of raisins (nice analogy Florio). The only reason this story line has wheels is because it is a slow time of year and what else is there to talk about? All of these quotes attributed to Wilson are answers to questions the media has asked; then they twist and turn his words into a spectacular headline. Give me a break. There I no story unless/until each side goes on the record, in clear, concise words, and states they are not going to come to terms. All else is just noise created by the media

  40. bertilfox says:
    Jul 3, 2015 11:08 AM
    And here is the SINGULAR reason why Tom Brady has been THE most popular player in Boston Sports History. He has always taken below market money to allow for a better team to be built around him. This always stood in stark contrast to “Pay-me-a-ton” Manning, who always seemed to want to be the highest paid player. The truth, I’m sure, is somewhat different. They are probably closer than they appear in this regard.

    Not that anyone needs to cry for Tom Brady. His priority has always seemed to be winning football games over everything else. And that, in turn, has allowed him to seemingly win at everything else. No amount of money can buy what he has earned, Four SB Rings, six AFC Championship rings, a dozen or so Division Championships and with them the scorn of millions of fans burned by his scorched earth career through NFL History.

    Russell Wilson may well choose to chase every last dollar at the expense of the rest of his teammates. This will ultimately detract from his leadership abilities, however. It may also hinder his now-famous quest for the six Super Bowl trophies.

    19 24
    ***************************************
    More downs than ups ?
    You guys are so bitter about Brady
    This post is so true – how much press was there about Brady’s contracts ? almost none.
    Does he miss any workouts ? No
    Is he the first one in the building in May ? Yes
    Does he lead a relatively low key life partywise? yes
    Does he invest huge amounts of time and money in exercises for the body and mind that are forward thinking and far beyond the expected workout regimen? yes
    Brady is the model pro athlete – you want MORE Brady’s not fewer – he is the near perfect role model for hard work and preparation that all kids should emulate – yet all of you want to tear him down at every opportunity.

  41. Russell Wilson has more incommon with Josh Freeman than Roethlisberger, Rodgers, P. Manning, Breeze, Luck, E. Manning or even Rivers…Brady is a proven liar & cheat (WPOS) = doesnt belong in discussion. With the sea birds, Wilson barely breaks the top 10 and on a different team is closer to the middle-bottom half. Why should they WAY over pay him when they already control his next 3-4 years and would save close to $20 million by not rewriting his contract???

  42. Whether or not his image takes a hit, I’m counting on his talking head spewing those motivational speaker platitudes at every game break between September and February.

  43. It’s ridiculous that the Shehawks fans are against him. Don’t they remember that this guy has been making peanuts vs. his peers? Don’t you think it’s time the Shehawks should make it right by paying him what he’s worth? Their fans should be mad at John Schneider, not Russell Wilson. PAY THIS MAN!!

  44. It’s all about the money…. Wasn’t this situation already speculated after filing for divorce after his rookie season?

  45. u Brady haters are laughable.

    A predetermined outcome from a sham of a scientific company is all it takes to dupe haters.
    Laughable.

    Hate on clowns

  46. Total media blow up. Russell Wilson is still the man in Seattle and will be for a long, long time.
    Seahawks have already offered $20 million a year for four years. That’s the starting point. Everything else is minor changes.
    Mr. Wilson will get a new contract. Seahawks will be in the Super Bowl. And the sun will rise tomorrow.

  47. “Why should they WAY over pay him when they already control his next 3-4 years and would save close to $20 million by not rewriting his contract???”

    the ignorance is strong in you. They DON’T control him for 3-4 years. By using the tag he would make way more over those years than any crazy contract. He’s actually pretty content doing so. He has ALL the leverage. Pay up now or pay more with the tag and lose him in his prime for certain. Simple really. Do some research before you post clown.

  48. Tom Brady either makes that exact pass or it’s incomplete… As Brady is skilled enough to put the ball in a place where only the receiver can catch it. That’s what separates Wilson with some of the all time greats. Ryan Tannehill could do just as well with that hawk team

  49. Wilson will be fine, but he shouldn’t make public statements about the negotiations.
    Let the agent handle that.

  50. Wilson is being greedy.
    The seaHags front office is currently offering him more than he’s worth.

    This season is going to be a disaster for both of them and the true value of this excessive speculation about Russell’s contract will come to the internet when every fan of the seaFrauds is silenced <– that will be invaluable!!!

    1-2's forever

  51. “Stop. It’s a huge story because you’ve made it one…you and the rest of the media. The notion that Wilson looks bad because a deal isn’t done yet is absurd. And his “$25 million” comment is clearly being used out of the context in which it meant. Ridiculous.

    -Eagles fan”

    Bless you.

    He never, not once, said he wanted to be the highest paid player in the league, and he never said he needed $25M. But when there is a story literally every single day on pft and elsewhere about this, and misquotes are repeated enough times, suddenly this misquote becomes the quote.

    it is just a negotiation.

    both sides have leverage, and it’s going to be a big number, so it’s taking some time. this is nothing new in football. the only thing new is the under-a-microscope coverage. the guy is trying to get his big contract while he can, you never know how long you have in the league. i’m a hawks fan and I don’t blame him. this is just the business part of the game.

  52. As a Hawks fan I sure do not believe Dangerusses contract has anything to do with his go Hawks mentality. Best QB in franchise history bar NONE! Pay up Seahawks!
    Go Hawks!

  53. fetts81 says:
    Jul 3, 2015 5:59 PM

    Tom Brady either makes that exact pass or it’s incomplete… As Brady is skilled enough to put the ball in a place where only the receiver can catch it.
    *****************

    Yet he threw twice as many picks in the SB and had a lower QB rating.

  54. ariel1985 says “This guy cannot carry a team or an offense that flows through him. The middle of the field with regards to his passing is very limited due to his size. If there’s no special run game, the focus will just be to keep him in the pocket and make him throw down the middle.”

    You remind me of the journalist who asked Bjorn Borg one time how he planed to beat his opponent that day in tennis and Borg said “his strategy was to hit it deep and down the middle.” The surprised journo asked him “who could he beat with that simply strategy” and Borg thought for a second and said, “Everyone. I’m number one in the world.”

    RW throws often from the pocket and in fact has one of the highest completion percentages from there. Moreover, as he matures, he should improve and have even greater receivers than now. Graham is just the start. I think RW has a nice upside and he already has won more games than any other QB in the history of the NFL for a start.

    You do know that even when a QB is say 6’5″, he can’t always see over the LoS, right? All of them need to move around for a good line of sight.

  55. fetts81 says ” As Brady is skilled enough to put the ball in a place where only the receiver can catch it.”

    And that’s why Brady under threw Edelman by 10 yards on his first drive into the Red Zone in SB49 allowing Lane to pick it off and stop the scoring threat? You must have been watching a different game that was broadcast here.

  56. Seattle, as an organization, has essentially got 4 FREE years from Wilson as he has not earned even remotely close to the salaries of other QB’s 4 year earnings…Wilson has received pennies in compensation by comparison. This besides the fact that Wilson QB’s the team to 2 SB’s.

    Spare me the Defense and Lynch got the team to the SB…that’s the same defense that was 9-7 for 2 straight years BEFORE Wilson’s arrival. That dog don’t bark anymore.

    Wilson’s doing the smart thing…to take care of his own business and establish his own value. Play the 4th year for a lowly 1.5M, and hit the market. Let Seattle make it’s choice then…good luck with that!

  57. fetts81 says:
    Jul 3, 2015 5:59 PM
    Tom Brady either makes that exact pass or it’s incomplete… As Brady is skilled enough to put the ball in a place where only the receiver can catch it. That’s what separates Wilson with some of the all time greats. Ryan Tannehill could do just as well with that hawk team
    ———-
    Which Tom Brady do you refer to? The TB who failed to beat the Giants in back to back SB’s with the Giants?

    Or the TB, who with Seattle completing the pass at the 10 yard line, with less than a minute of game time left on the clock had the look of a beaten QB upon his face once again. The camera didn’t lie. Brady’s look was, I’ve just lost another…my 3rd straight.

    But I love NE fans attempt to reinvent history as if TB’s SB49 performance against an injured Seattle secondary was nothing short of miraculous. Whatever works for you.

    We’re on to 2015! Go Hawks!

  58. WOW….an article on Russel turns into a knock Brady focus on PFT. Yes, Brady has thrown an interception or two in key games and has been outplayed in a few games & the Patriots have not yet won 15 Super Bowls in a row. Guys it’s the body of work that he has accomplished. Brady’s work ethic, team leadership & results are well above average and he deserves to be considered one of the top QB’s of all time.

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