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Brandt: Russell Wilson contract debate likely about guarantees, not salary

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson will enter 2019 as the league's top-paid player. (AP)

When it comes to Russell Wilson’s reported contract deadline for the Seahawks, Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Brandt says we’re all having the wrong conversation.

Report: Russell Wilson sets April 15 deadline for new contract

“It’s always about the details,” the former NFL agent said during a Thursday morning conversation with Brock Huard and Mike Salk on 710 ESPN Seattle.

Those details, according to Brandt, primarily concern guarantees.

Debate surrounding Wilson’s potential contract has been focused on whether an annual salary that would surpass that of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers – meaning more than $33.5 million per year – would hamstring the rest of Seattle’s roster. But Brandt says those conversations aren’t the ones that hold teams back from reaching an agreement. Rather, Wilson and his camp are likely more concerned about having guaranteed money through the first year of a new deal.

“The issue really comes down to the details, which is the guarantee and how it’s structured,” Brandt said. “And here’s the thing: Seattle wants to hide behind its precedent. Really, one, fully guarantee the first year, maybe even the second year. And then it’s kind of these rolling guarantees. If you’re on the roster x-date in year two, you get full guarantees. If you’re on the roster x-date in year three, or if you’re on the roster x-date in year four, this injury guarantee turns into a real guarantee. And frankly, the reason teams do that is, one, because they can, and two, because of this idea of precedent. (Because then a team would) have to fund contracts that are guaranteed fully past year one. And teams hide behind, ‘We can’t do that, we don’t want to fund it.’ And again, people can see the irony of an (NFL) ownership worth $25 billion dollars that can’t fund a contract. So this is what’s going on.”

As far as Wilson’s April 15 deadline is concerned, Brandt doesn’t see Seattle breaking with their contract structure before then.

“I think Seattle’s going to hold to their structure and it’s not going to get done by April 15,” Brandt said. “Does that mean we’re in a rotating franchise tag thing for the next three years? I don’t know; I think it’s way too early to talk about that. And does that mean nothing can’t get done before July, August, September, October? No. And of course Russell’s not going to hold out. So I just think this structure issue is going to be something the Seahawks hold tight to as long as they can, and I think that runs at least through April 15.”

Listen to Brandt’s full interview with Huard and Salk here.

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