Clayton: Does deadline make Russell Wilson extension more likely with Seahawks?
After taking a few days off and doing a speaking gig in Phoenix, it’s time to catch up on what was a busy week for the Seahawks.
Just in the past week, we learned Russell Wilson set a deadline to try to get a long-term contract extension, Frank Clark got some guidance on what he could get with a long-term deal when DeMarcus Lawrence signed a five-year, $105 million deal with the Cowboys, and to top things off, the Seahawks added two veteran defensive ends.
It’s not a bad thing to set an deadline, but the odds of a Wilson deal getting done by April 15 aren’t good. For a deal to get done, it probably needs to exceed the $33.5 million contract given to Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. Deadlines often get deals done but this contract will be for more money than any NFL player has received.
Each side has to make some compromise to get a deal agreed upon. For example, if Wilson wins on the average salary by getting more than Rodgers, he probably would have to get a little less on guarantees. The only guarantees that really count are the skill guarantees, not the guarantees for injury.
The Lawrence deal also provides some context some what Wilson could get. Lawrence received $65 million in guarantees, but $17 million is a third-year injury guarantee. That means his skill guarantee was $48 million. For Wilson, he probably would get $65-70 million in a skill guarantee.
One thing the Seahawks might have to concede is giving Wilson a base salary guarantee for his second year that triggers if he’s on the roster five days after the Super Bowl. They’ve been doing those types of deals since the Percy Harvin signing.
Wilson is probably going to get a full guarantee into the second year. The deadline could be a good thing if it works. For those wanting to trade Wilson because of the big salary, stop. Losing Wilson would lower expectations of the team to winning six to eight games, not nine to 11.
It’s a quarterback-driven league, and Wilson is one of the top QBs. The Seahawks could use two years of franchise tags on Wilson in 2020 and 2021, which would eat up roughly 15 to 18 percent of the salary cap. While that is a manageable number, the Seahawks still need to get a deal done.
The Lawrence deal sets the stage for Clark to get something done. Trey Flowers got $18 million a year from the Detroit Lions. Dee Ford got $17 million the San Francisco 49ers. Lawrence got $21 million. So Clark needs to get something between $18 million and $21 million. Maybe the Seahawks can cut the difference and get something done for $19.5 million.
Once Seattle gets the contract situations for Wilson and Clark straightened out, they can start figuring what they can do for linebacker Bobby Wagner and defensive tackle Jarran Reed. Both players might have to wait until next year, but if the Seahawks can work out deals with Wilson and Clark in the next few months, then they might get to Wagner or Reed this year.
Finally, you knew the Seahawks were going to add a veteran pass-rusher. Getting back Cassius Marsh was good. He had 6 1/2 sacks last year with the 49ers. Nate Orchard is a low-risk gamble at a low salary. Next, we will see if the Seahawks add a veteran receiver and a veteran run-stopping defensive tackle.