When asked last month by Jimmy Fallon about a rumor that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson could end up with the Giants, Wilson said, “I’m not sure if the Seahawks are gonna let me get away.”
That response glosses over the more fundamental question of whether Wilson would like for the Seahawks to let him get away.
Per a league source, the Seahawks think that Wilson would like to play elsewhere, even if he hasn’t and wouldn’t ever say it. They also believe that this unspoken dynamic will cause Wilson to drive a harder bargain with them than he would with another team.
Yes, Wilson and his agent, Mark Rodgers, continue to talk to the Seahawks about a long-term deal. And, yes, under the right financial circumstances, Wilson will sign what would be a third contract in Seattle. But if the Seahawks won’t pay whatever it is that Wilson wants from the Seahawks, the question becomes whether he’d want that same amount from a different team.
The answer to that question won’t be known unless and until the Seahawks and Wilson fail to work out a contract before Wilson’s stated deadline of April 15, and whether the Seahawks would at some point explore the possibility of trading Wilson elsewhere. That may not happen in 2019, when the Seahawks can keep Wilson for a base salary of $17 million. It becomes more likely if/when Wilson initiates the year-to-year Kirk Cousins-style approach under the franchise tag, with $30.34 million becoming the price tag for keeping him in 2020 — and when Wilson’s leverage on a long-term deal would skyrocket, given that the franchise tag would move to $36.4 million for 2021 and, given the 44-percent rule for a third tag, to $52.43 million for 2022.
If Wilson would take less than what he could get from the Seahawks on a long-term deal, it becomes easier to trade him, since his next team wouldn’t be looking at the same astronomical investment. And that becomes a very real dynamic in the question of whether the Seahawks will devote the cash and cap space necessary to keep him, or whether they’d get what they can and start over with a young quarterback who would be making dramatically less under the rookie wage scale.
It’s a consideration that remains premature while the window remains open on a long-term deal for Wilson. But if/when April 15 without a long-term deal between the Seahawks and Wilson, the question of whether would take less from a different team becomes highly relevant to whether the Seahawks could find a trade partner, if that’s the route the team chooses to take instead of paying him unprecedented franchise-tag money on a year-to-year basis.