Seattle Seahawks fans fretting over the latest Russell Wilson rumors: relax, if you can.
A league source who knows details about Wilson’s contract negotiations told The News Tribune on Friday that an earlier story by Bleacher Report claiming the Super Bowl quarterback and the Seahawks are so far apart a deal is unlikely to get done before this season is inaccurate.
In fact, the source said the latest national report on the talks is almost entirely fictitious. The source asked to remain anonymous because of the confidential nature of the negotiations.
What is fact?
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The discussions, which began in earnest following the Super Bowl Feb. 1, are simply a work in progress. That’s it. Any talk of an almost insurmountable gulf is inaccurate.
This isn’t dealing for new loafers at Nordstrom. This is a championship team wanting to extend its franchise quarterback with money that could approach $20 million or more per year for five years, all within a league salary structure and cap rules that try to make it darn near impossible to keep franchise players at their market worth without having to gut much of the rest of the roster.
Such calculus takes time working through meticulous details on both sides, and that’s where the two sides are right now.
While it is possible Wilson plays out his rookie contract as a third-round draft choice from 2012, one that is scheduled to pay him $1.5 million in base pay in 2015, that is not the objective for either side in the current state of negotiations.
Everything else — including Friday’s Bleacher Report story — is speculation. No one knows what Wilson or his agent, Mark Rodgers, are asking for dollar-wise or what they think about the situation, because neither has made a single public comment on the status of talks or their wishes in them.
Bleacher Report’s veteran NFL writer Jason Cole said in a video report posted Friday “in talking to sources who understand the situation, Wilson is looking for a contract in excess of $20 million per year over five years. The problem is, the Seahawks have no desire to get anywhere close to that.”
Cole, a respected long-time national writer on the league formerly of Yahoo! Sports and the Miami Herald, says Seattle knows the math of letting Wilson’s way undervalued rookie contract play out before using the franchise tag to keep him for the 2016 and ’17 seasons: a cost of about $45-48 million. That’s $12-15 million less over three years than many believe — but don’t know — Wilson to be asking for.
So the Seahawks, Cole said, are willing to wait and let Wilson play out his rookie contract.
“Wilson,” Cole added, “has become increasingly frustrated, according to sources I’ve talked to, which explains many of his recent tweets.”
Wilson tweeted this Thursday: “Always control what you can control. Never let others nonsense & lack of gratefulness & respect bring you down. #BestIsAhead” Who knows what that means; the QB often writes such cryptic missives that way.
Cole says Wilson feels disrespected, while the Seahawks aren’t budging.
“Any expectation of getting a contract done this offseason is highly unlikely,” Cole said.
The league source told the TNT almost all of that is false.
For the team’s part, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll two weeks ago called the talks “slow.”
“We won’t talk much about it because there’s a lot of stuff — it is such a crucial thing,” Carroll said on May 2. “We are so excited about getting Russell (an extension) and keeping him forever. We want to do all of that. He has been an extraordinary player for us and we all recognize that. It’s a big deal. There’s a lot of work to be done. It’s been draft-focused for us on our end, and there’s going to be continuing talks. It’s totally in motion.
“Whatever happens, happens. But we will work it out and make it a great deal and have him here forever.”
The rest leaves us all to guess what Wilson and his agent are thinking — or tweeting.
The problem with this taking time is it leaves an information vacuum when we are four months from real games. Heck, there isn’t even a Seahawks mandatory minicamp — at which Wilson is expected to be slinging passes — for another month.
In today’s world of sound bites, clicks and immediate gratification, such vacuums get filled with varying inaccuracies. Because this is such a high-profile player on the two-time defending NFC champions, the inaccurate information flies more than footballs do from now until training camp begins in July.