While nobody outside of the conversations between camp Seahawks and camp Russell Wilson can claim full knowledge of the ongoing talks to reach an extension, plenty have chimed in with insight that they’d argue is legitimate. That Russell Wilson has an April 15 deadline, aka Monday, seems commonly accepted, but even that gives me pause to worry that it even matters.
If Seattle meets Wilson’s demands in August, or goes above them given new information, will he turn it down just because he had a deadline?
Beyond that, there’s speculation that Wilson could cost $35 million per year. That he’ll just play it out and then deal with the franchise tag next year, which seems reasonable to assume barring long-term news happening in 2019. And of course, that for really the first time in NFL history, a team will trade an established franchise quarterback well in the prime of his career in order to save money against the cap and retain other core players instead (Frank Clark, Jarran Reed, and/or Bobby Wagner), gain some really valuable draft picks, and gamble with a quarterback on an inexpensive rookie contract.
In theory, the last scenario seems perfectly sound to me in many respects. The salary cap relief, the retention of great players, the draft picks, but it still exists in a fantasy world because it has literally never happened. You can give examples of players at other positions, you can give examples of quarterbacks who left under extenuating circumstances (Drew Brees was backed up by Philip Rivers and had a concerning shoulder injury when the Chargers let him walk via free agency in his prime), but I don’t believe you can really find a team that traded a quarterback under similar circumstances to Wilson.
However, due to the overwhelming success of teams with “cheap” quarterbacks, mostly quarterbacks outside of the top-5, top-15, and sometimes top-30 paid quarterbacks (Wilson himself in 2013-2014, Carson Wentz in 2017, Patrick Mahomes in 2018, the underpaid Tom Brady every year, and so on...) speculation that such a trade will happen has increased.
That speculation has extended and exploded during the Wilson-Seahawks conversation and on Saturday, a player with no connection to Seattle has found a reason to chime: Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu tweeted that Wilson “wants New York.”
Russ wants New York. But you ain’t heard that from T.. https://t.co/AWGBUAjaWj— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) April 14, 2019
Strangely enough, I don’t know that it really matters if it comes from “T” or not, Wilson-to-the-Giants speculation would make a lot of sense if you just remove the historical record that such a trade has never happened:
- Wilson kind of has a well earned reputation of wanting the spotlight, so the New York market to him is probably not dissimilar to the pull of New York and LA was to LeBron James
- Speaking of players of other sports, and Wilson’s agent being a baseball agent, he may not view himself and his future in the way that other football players and football agents would. He may look more towards the Bryce Harper deal as a goal, and towards James and other NBA stars constant shifting from team-to-team as a standard. Remember, Wilson’s camp was the one that wanted him to get a new contract after his rookie season even though it’s strictly prohibited that they can’t renegotiate until after year three.
- He may have enjoyed his taste of being “with” the New York Yankees
- The Giants need a franchise quarterback and Dave Gettleman is just maybe the wild ass GM willing to make a crazy offer
- Wilson has long spoke of his desire to be a franchise owner and there have been hints he probably enjoys a “billionaire” type fantasy lifestyle, which would be easier obtained if he was a star in the New York market over the Seattle market
- The Giants hold picks 6, 17, and 37
Working against any Wilson-to-Giants or Wilson-to-Bills rumors? There’s no precedent for it. We also don’t know which teams, if any that could reasonable trade for Wilson, want to pay him $35 million per year either. Or $33 million per year. Or whatever it could be. It’s not as though there haven’t been pockets of history where players and teams were so far apart on value that they couldn’t even come to an agreement in time — just look at Le’Veon Bell not playing in 2018 when he was perhaps the best running back in football. We always talk about how quarterbacks are “setting the market” for the guy who signs next, but what if there comes a day when “the market” for quarterbacks is so out of whack that no team wants to pay or trade for a guy of that caliber until it’s settled?
With the 2020 CBA coming up, it’s another wrinkle that’s too far out of my understanding to really comment, but it does seem like a wrinkle.
I do not expect anything to happen on Monday just because I’m not sure it’s fair to ever expect anything when it comes to these types of stories. If it doesn’t happen on the 15th, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen on the 16th. Or in July. Or August. Or March of 2020. Or never. Or that he won’t be traded, just that it is unlikely, given history. It would seem almost certain that Wilson will be extended and play out his important years with the Seattle Seahawks. Mathieu seems to have knowledge that leads him to believe that Wilson would push himself towards the biggest market, but I think we could have all speculated about that.
There are some huge, unavoidable barriers that would come before that however.