Why 2018 is a crucial season for Russell Wilson’s future with the Seahawks
Does John Schnieder’s visit to Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen’s pro day mean anything for Russell Wilson? Not likely. Allen is projected by most draft experts to be the No. 1 overall pick, and Seattle has plenty other positions to fill in this year’s draft – not to mention a franchise quarterback under 30, whom they’ve already signed to a four-year, $87 million deal.
Still, a recent report from NFL Network’s Jim Trotter indicated there was some concern from Wilson’s camp about his future with the Seahawks. Trotter joined John Clayton on 710 ESPN Seattle Friday to provide additional insight on the report, and offer his own opinion about what next year’s contract negotiations could mean for Wilson.
“The issue here from Russell Wilson’s camp’s standpoint, they’re just asking the question,” Trotter said. “Last year, the Seahawks didn’t go to the workouts for the top two quarterbacks. And this year, they went from Sam Darnold, watched him, and then went to Josh Allen. And so that raised a lot of eyebrows amongst some people around the league, including in Russell’s camp. And all they did was make a call and say, ‘Is there anything we should know here?’, based on the fact that, as we’ve seen, the Seahawks are making a lot of changes this year.”
Wilson, 29, signed a four-year contract extension with the Seahawks in July of 2015. At the time, the deal made Wilson the second-highest paid quarterback in NFL history. In the two years since the deal was struck, though, an ever-growing league salary cap and demand has resulted in even bigger contracts – more than a few of which have gone to players without Wilson’s resume. Jimmy Garoppolo, 26, agreed to a five-year, $137.5 million deal with the 49ers after starting just six games last season. While Garoppolo currently holds the heftiest quarterback contract, Kirk Cousins inked a fully-guaranteed $84 million deal with the Vikings this offseason and has a higher base salary ($22.5 million) than Wilson ($15.5 million).
All of that makes next offseason an especially interesting one for Wilson and the Seahawks, who will presumably want to sign their quarterback to an extension.
“There’s a premium on quarterbacks,” Trotter said. “Each new deal sets the floor for the next deal. And Russell is an elite quarterback, as we know. I still don’t think he gets his full respect around the league for what he’s been able to accomplish. And he’s going to get paid, whether it’s by Seattle or whether it’s by someone else…
“I see him being in Seattle going forward. And again, this is simply my speculation, this did not come from Russell’s camp or anyone else. But the reality is we know Russell has a home in LA, we know that in a couple years Philip Rivers is likely to be done with the Chargers at a time Russell’s contract will be up. And the question becomes then: is there a possibility that he might wind up, let’s say in LA with the Chargers, as opposed to Seattle if they can’t get something done?”
The Seahawks invested in Wilson and the offense when they added four-time Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown halfway through the season, and he remains a strength for Seattle’s offensive line this year. However, Wilson was still sacked 43 times (fourth-most among all passers) and didn’t get much relief in the run game. This offseason has also seen the departure of Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson, two of Wilson’s top targets from 2017.
“When you say you’re rebuilding around Russell, and again, this isn’t coming from Russell’s camp, this is just looking objectively at it from the outside, you say, ‘What talent is being put around Russell for him to succeed on the offensive end?,'” Trotter said. “The offensive line is still a problem for this group. D.J. Fluker is not the answer. He’s a nice guy, he’s tries hard, but he’s not the answer. Jimmy Graham is gone. So from the outside, at least at this point, it looks like you’re still taking away potential talent as opposed to adding talent around Russell.”