The Seahawks and Russell Wilson are coming down to the wire Thursday afternoon for a self-imposed deadline to get a contract extension agreed upon, but as NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports, "The clock is ticking and it is simply not looking great." ESPN's Chris Mortensen agreed, saying that "right now, there's not a lot of optimism that a deal will get done."
CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora echoed the 'not a lot of optimism' thing as well. "Doesn't sound like much going on with Russell Wilson and Seattle," he tweeted. "Best way to view this staredown may be this... Seattle is offering a very strong deal by Seahawks standards, but what would be viewed as a weak deal by top QB standards in terms of guaranteed money. So, here we sit with the Seahawks on the cusp of camp and negotiations highly likely to be shutdown once Wilson takes the field for camp."
The two sides have until... well, either midnight tonight or first thing when Russell Wilson sets foot on the practice field tomorrow to get this thing figured out. If they don't, the talks will be tabled, according to reports, until next offseason. As always, deadlines spur action in these types of negotiations, and as we get closer to the deadline, one or both sides may relent a little on their position(s).
The problem is, as Mortensen says, "Even the whole self-imposed deadline is kind of interesting, because there are some that believe that Russell Wilson and his agent Mark Rodgers set it, I've been told the Seahawks are the ones that set it, we can call it artificial, because if they're close to a deal by midnight tonight, certainly it would carry over."
Theoretically, if one side agreed to the other side's demands after all this is over, it's not out of the realm of possibility it would get done either. The real, drop-dead deadline doesn't happen for like, three years, after Wilson's been franchise-tagged in 2016 and 2017. Until then, it's just pressure mounting.
Bottom line, though? "Right now, there's not a lot of optimism that a deal will get done with Wilson and the Seahawks (today). If Russell Wilson wants to be the highest paid player in the league, which is what he wants to be based on his terms, the Seahawks are not going to make him the highest paid player in the league. Not in this contract. But, are they willing to pay him in that $21M per year range that's been reported? That's a high number — Aaron Rodgers is paid at $22M."
Reports would say that yes, they have made Wilson this offer, but that guaranteed money totals are the sticking point.
The less-reported and speculated-upon part of this day-before-training-camp deadline is that the Seahawks are working to get a deal done with middle linebacker Bobby Wagner as well.
"This is what success does," says Mort. " You have a roster with a lot of young players, and Russell Wilson is one of them, and it's time to get paid. (The Seahawks) went into this, though, with the idea that we've got to get Russell Wilson done prior to camp, or we've got to get Bobby Wagner done. You could make an argument that Bobby Wagner's their defensive MVP, and it feels like they can get a deal done with Wagner. If Russell doesn't get his done, then Wagner will get his done, and the other — the one without a deal — will get franchise tagged next offseason."
How close are they with Bobby?
"Well, I think they're close enough, but you've got to close that deal," reports Mortensen.
This jibes with another report from NFL Network's Rand Getlin, who said today that "there's a growing sense of optimism that a deal will get done."
So, if Wilson isn't going to happen today, perhaps the Bobby Wagner extension will happen sooner rather than later. The team does not want to go into next offseason trying to make the decision of who to franchise tag.