It’s been a busy offseason for the Seattle Seahawks in terms of contract negotiations and market setting deals. The team watched nickel cornerback Justin Coleman land on payday with the Detroit Lions in free agency, and then on the eve of the draft the Hawks sent defensive end Frank Clark to the Kansas City Chiefs after the two parties reached agreement on a five-year, $104M contract. In between those two happenings, the team also made franchise quarterback Russell Wilson the highest paid player in the NFL, inking him to a four-year, $140M contract with an average annual value of $35M on the new money side.
In the midst of all of this, the team also declined the fifth year option on right tackle Germain Ifedi, while making smaller commitments to keep players like K.J. Wright and D.J. Fluker around. At this point, the team has addressed the pressing issues, and can now focus on those players who are set to be free agents at the conclusion of the 2019 season. The biggest names in this group are obviously defensive tackle Jarran Reed and All Pro middle linebacker Bobby Wagner.
As always, debate has raged among fans regarding how much Wagner could command from the team. The C.J. Mosley contract with the New York Jets sets the market for linebackers like Wagner at $17M, and while speaking to the media during OTAs he stated that was the contract he was looking to beat as he aims to become the highest paid linebacker in the NFL. Thursday morning, former agent Joel Corry took to Twitter to weigh in on Wagner’s contract situation.
The conversation started as a result of an article Corry authored regarding players who could see contract extensions between now and the start of the season, so for those who would like to read the article, here it is.
That led to a question from a fan regarding whether the Hawks may have been priced out of Wagner’s market, similar to how the Demarcus Lawrence situation with the Dallas Cowboys put the team between a rock and a hard place with Frank Clark.
Bobby Wagner is one of the league's best players (not just LBs). He would be justified in asking to be paid accordingly. Seattle has to pay somebody else besides Russell Wilson. Why not their best player? https://t.co/E17NDg95Os— Joel Corry (@corryjoel) June 20, 2019
So, in Corry’s opinion, what would it mean to “be paid accordingly”? Well, he went on to offer this insight.
Bobby Wagner's 2020 franchise tag is $16.92M. He should laugh at a $14M-$15M per year offer. His current deal adjusted for salary cap inflation is just under $14.125M per year. He's only gotten better since 2015. https://t.co/yPOv8Lpqcd— Joel Corry (@corryjoel) June 20, 2019
And that’s basically the long and the short of the situation. On the franchise tag Wagner would cost the team $16.92M in 2020 and, barring any changes to the franchise tag in a new CBA, $20.304M in 2021.
So, that’s where the conversation would at least start, based on his experience and expertise in the subject. Obviously, the key question, however, is where the conversation will end.