Mark Rodgers, the agent who represents Russell Wilson, joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” on Thursday and made the first public comments about the quarterback’s contract negotiations with the Seahawks.
You can listen to their 27-minute conversation here.
The biggest takeaway: Rodgers said he’s optimistic that a deal will get done but stressed that there is no sense of urgency from either side. He noted that Wilson has another year left on his rookie deal and that he’s prepared to play next season for his currently-scheduled $1.5 million base salary if the right offer doesn’t materialize. Rodgers said Wilson has budgeted his finances with the assumption that he’ll make $1.5 million next season.
“Neither side has any real deadlines. I know the public and the fans and some of the media has put a sense of urgency on this, but there really are no deadlines,” Rodgers said. “Russell Wilson’s under contract with the Seahawks and he absolutely, if he has to, would certainly be fine playing his fourth year under a four-year contract that he signed coming out, and then moving on from there. I don’t feel any particular crunch on time and any real particular deadlines.”
Rodgers did not leave the impression that a deal will get done any time soon but characterized the discussions with the Seahawks as positive.
“We’ve had an ongoing dialogue, not all of it being negotiation, some of it just being philosophical and really trying to understand each others positions and viewpoints,” he said. “I would characterize our talks as ongoing, fluid, robust at times, thoughtful, and we’ve made progress.
“I don’t want to mislead anyone. I love to read and listen to all the conjecture and all of the speculation about where these negotiations are, but frankly I think about 95 percent of that speculation has probably been off point. But I would characterize them as positive and encouraging.”
Rodgers didn’t get into specifics about the total value, annual average or guaranteed money Wilson is seeking. He said there isn’t “a most important issue” for Wilson and that he’s not caught up in labels such as being the NFL’s highest-paid player.
“From my perspective, you don’t go into it with that as the goal,” Rodgers said.
So what does Wilson want?
“I think what he’s looking for is what everybody’s looking for,” Rodgers said, “and that’s a deal that feels fair, that feels reasonable and that at the end of the day makes him feel comfortable with the compensation he’s receiving for the skill and the performance that he’s delivering.”
Rodgers said Wilson is “very, very happy to be in Seattle, loves playing for the Seahawks, loves playing for Pete Carroll and understands that there’s something very special going on in this town in football and would love to stay a part of that for a long, long time.”
Rodgers said fans and the media have seemed more concerned about when a deal will get done than Wilson has.
Asked about Wilson’s value should be determined compared to quarterbacks in pass-first offenses, Rodgers said Seattle’s offense to some extent caters to Wilson’s “unique skills” and noted everything from his mobility, his improvisation and how he rarely turns the ball over. Most importantly, though, Rodgers said “it’s all about winning.” He noted how Wilson has won more more games over his first three seasons than any starting quarterback in the Super Bowl era. Wilson has started every game since his rookie season in 2012, going 42-14 (including playoffs), winning one Super Bowl and making it back to another.
“They’ve won an awful lot of games there with him as the starting quarterback,” Rodgers said. “I will tell you this, that I’m not of the mindset as some people are that you could put any quarterback in the league as the starting quarterback for the Seahawks and they would have played in the Super Bowl the last two seasons.
“Be that as it may, I think it still comes down to winning football games, getting to the Super Bowl and ultimately winning championships. I think that at this point the fact that he’s won more games than any starting quarterback in the history of the league in his first three years I think speaks for itself. That’s not an opinion; that’s just a fact.”
Rodgers was complimentary of the job that Seahawks general manager John Schneider has done in building the team and praised the team for fostering the type of culture that would lead Wilson to miss an OTA to accompany teammate Jimmy Graham at the funeral of his mentor. He called his relationship with Schneider “very professional” and said nothing that would suggest contentiousness.