Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson responds to questions during a news conference after the Seahawks’ 24-22 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in an NFC playoff game on Jan. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson responds to questions during a news conference after the Seahawks’ 24-22 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in an NFC playoff game on Jan. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Wilson gives Seahawks an April 15 deadline for a new deal

He currently ranks as the 12th-highest paid quarterback in the NFL.

By Bob Condotta / The Seattle Times

Seattle 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 begin their official offseason workout program, and Wilson is thought to want the deal done by then. It’s 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, it’s 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.

It’s 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 Wilson’s 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.

Wilson said in January he would be fine with playing the 2019 season without a new contract.

“Oh, yeah, if that’s what I’ve got to do,” Wilson said the day after the 2019 season ended. “It’s business and everything else and I know essentially after this season I could potentially be a free agent, that kind of thing. I don’t think that way — I see myself being in Seattle. I love Seattle, special place for me. I also understand it’s a business world and everything else.”

The Seahawks have said consistently they hope to get a deal done with Wilson.

“That’s very much in our plans,” coach Pete Carroll said in January.

Asked about Wilson’s contract at the NFL league meetings last week, Carroll said: “We’ve been in communication, sure. It’s very topical, we’re on it.”

Wilson was also at the league meetings in Phoenix and talked to Carroll there.

Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, said he would not comment on Wilson’s contract status and would neither confirm nor deny that there is a deadline.

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.

Wilson’s 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 Rodgers’ $22 million.

But as the salary cap has risen each season, so have salaries for players overall, and quarterbacks specifically.

Rodgers now leads all NFL players in average salary per year at $33.5 million, while Wilson is now just the 12th-highest-paid QB. It’s unclear exactly what Wilson is asking for, but he’s likely to want to at least match Rodgers’ average per year, if not exceed it.

If Wilson does not get a new contract with the Seahawks this spring, it doesn’t mean he is assured of becoming a free agent following the 2019 season. The team could keep him in place in 2020 by using the franchise tag, which would reportedly pay Wilson roughly $30.6 million. Seattle could also use it again in 2021, which would pay him roughly $36 million. They could even use it again in 2022, though that would pay Wilson $52.43 million for that season, according to Pro Football Talk, which makes that an unrealistic option.

One possible complication is that the league’s collective bargaining agreement runs out following the 2020 season and there has been some talk of eliminating or altering the franchise tag structure.

Wilson is coming off one of his best seasons in the NFL, throwing for a career-high 35 touchdowns while tying a career-low with seven interceptions. The 2018 season was Wilson’s seventh with the Seahawks. He holds franchise records for touchdown passes (196) and wins (75).

Wilson is the biggest name of several whose contracts could expire following the 2019 season. The group includes middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, defensive end Frank Clark and defensive tackle Jarran Reed.

The team recently placed a franchise tag on Clark for the 2019 season but he has yet to sign it and the team is hoping to sign Clark to a long-term deal this offseason.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Felix Hernandez aims for 200 career wins and 3,000 strikeouts

But the COVID-19 pandemic is getting in the way of the former Mariner’s pitcher’s goals.

Healthy George Karl starts podcast, may someday coach again

The ex-Sonics coach, who has survived cancer three times, talks about the time he offended Michael Jordan’s sensibilities.

Stay or go? Local senior college athletes face tough decision

Whether to accept the NCAA’s offer of an extra year due to the missed spring season isn’t black and white.

Seahawks agree to deal with veteran running back

Carlos Hyde, who began his career in San Francisco, rushed for 1,070 yards for the Texans last season.

Kamiak names new boys basketball coach

Former Bishop Blanchet head coach and Edmonds-Woodway alum Joe DeGrazia replaces Brandon Corsi.

Seahawks’ Wilson has a little ‘Air’ Jordan in him

Like the NBA great, the Seattle QB has shown he can use perceived slights to fuel his competitive fire.

Everett’s pickleball and tennis courts are open again

Social distancing is still required, so you can shoot hoops, but it’ll be HORSE and not five-on-five.

Readers believe Sue Bird and the Seattle Storm will be WNBA championship favorites when and if the 2020 season begins. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
POLL RESULTS: Storm expected to be WNBA title favorites

Nearly half the voters predicted Seattle to win the 2020 WNBA championship.

Silvertips’ Wolf wins WHL Goaltender of the Year award

The 18-year-old finished first in the league in goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts.

MG’s Knight named Gatorade state baseball player of year

Despite not having a season, the star junior was recognized as the top overall player in Washington.

Hydroplane races at Seafair canceled because of pandemic

This will be the first year the races will not be held since they first came to Seattle in 1951.

Irvin relishes chance for another run with Seahawks

The linebacker is back with the team that drafted him after stints with Oakland, Atlanta and Carolina.