Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has given the team an April 15 deadline to complete negotiations on a new contract, a source with knowledge of the discussions told The Seattle Times.
April 15 is the day the Seahawks will begin their official offseason workout program, and Wilson is thought to want the deal done by then. Itís also thought the two sides have had some negotiations in recent days with Wilson hoping to get the contract done quickly.
Wilson has one year remaining on his current four-year, $87.6 million contract, but it is typical for teams to sign key players to extensions before they enter the final year of their contracts.
Wilson signed his current deal July 31, 2015, the day training camp opened, with the two sides agreeing to the contract the night before. That fit the usual Seahawks timeline under general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll of getting significant extensions done in the late spring and summer.
This time, itís thought that Wilson wants to get a deal done earlier so he can avoid the speculation and discussion about the negotiations that lingered throughout the 2015 offseason.
Itís unclear what happens if the two sides do not agree to a deal by April 15 and if that means there would be no further discussions in 2019 and Wilson would play out the season without a new deal, though that would seem like one reason for setting a deadline. It was widely reported in 2015 that Wilsonís camp wanted a contract done by the time training camp started so that Wilson would not have to deal with negotiations -- and questions about his future -- during the season.
Itís not thought Wilson would hold out and not play in 2019, with the likely scenario being that if the deadline were not met, he would simply tell the team he would not want to talk about a contract again until after the season.
Wilson said in January he would be fine with playing the 2019 season without a new contract.
ďOh, yeah, if thatís what Iíve got to do,Ē Wilson said the day after the 2019 season ended. ďItís business and everything else and I know essentially after this season I could potentially be a free agent, that kind of thing. I donít think that way -- I see myself being in Seattle. I love Seattle, special place for me. I also understand itís a business world and everything else.Ē
The Seahawks have said consistently they hope to get something done with Wilson this offseason to secure his Seattle future.
ďRuss and I met and we talked about the future,Ē coach Pete Carroll said in January when asked about getting a contract done with Wilson this offseason. ďWe are talking about where we are going and what we want to get done. And, you know, thatís very much in our plans.Ē
Asked about Wilsonís contract at the NFL league meetings last week, Carroll said: ďWeíve been in communication, sure. Itís very topical, weíre on it.Ē
Wilson was also at the league meetings in Phoenix and talked to Carroll there.
Wilsonís agent, Mark Rodgers, said he would not comment on Wilsonís contract status and would neither confirm nor deny that there is a deadline.
After Wilson signed his contract in 2015, Rodgers told reporters that a reported deadline of getting a contract done by the time training camp began was real.
ďPeople reported that it was an artificial deadline,Ē Rodgers said in 2015 on the day Wilson signed. ďBut to Russell Wilson, it was not an artificial deadline. He said to me, ĎWhen I step on the field, thatís it. If Iíve got a deal, great. But if I donít, thatís it. I am not going to take that baggage out on the field with me. Itís going to take the team down. Itís what the media is going to concentrate on. ... I took it as a mandate, and I laid it out for the Seahawks so they knew that a long time ago, and it certainly spurred where we are at now.Ē
Wilson, who turned 30 last November, is due to make a $17 million base salary in 2019 with a $25.286 million salary cap hit.
Wilsonís contract has a $21.9 million average per year, which, when he signed it, was second in the NFL behind only Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgersí $22 million.
But as the salary cap has risen each season, so have salaries for players overall, and quarterbacks specifically.