Seattle Seahawks

Forget the noise: Seahawks say “everything lined up” for eventual extension for Russell Wilson

Pete Carroll on Seahawks’ offseason, more at 2019 NFL combine in Indianapolis

Coach Pete Carroll on the Seahawks’ offseason, more at 2019 NFL combine in Indianapolis.
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Coach Pete Carroll on the Seahawks’ offseason, more at 2019 NFL combine in Indianapolis.

Forget an unfounded, almost laughable assertion by a national radio host that the quarterback wants to play in New York because of his wife.

Behold him in Brazil getting serenaded by Portugese-accented chants of “MVP!” in Brazil.

Laugh at the latest why? videos he posted of him flying helicopters that, oh, yes, got the attention of his bosses.

Know the Seahawks remain on track to re-sign Russell Wilson for about $35 million-plus per year beyond 2019.

“We ended the (2018) season with a real good meeting (in January). That’s ongoing. We have a terrific relationship,” coach Pete Carroll said Thursday at the NFL combine about his cosmopolitan quarterback. “We’re working this thing out together, throughout.

“That’s another obviously big issue that’s coming. Everything is lined up to be worked on here as we go forward.”

Last week national radio host Colin Cowherd—perhaps planting a tip from Wilson’s camp for leverage or perception, perhaps just raiding thin air—said Wilson wants to play next for the New York Giants, to accelerate the music and marketing careers of his wife Ciara.

Both Carroll and Seahawks general manager John Schneider have gotten a kick out of that here at the NFL combine.

“That was a pretty good Hollywood release there. That was pretty big-time,” Carroll said. “I think it was a Hollywood media release, is what it was.”

On Wednesday, Schneider noted that “report” on Wilson is what happens in 2019, with so many minutes of radio time, so much internet space in 2019 and seven months between NFL games.

“It is just kind of stuff out there. It’s the offseason and there is not a lot to talk about,” Schneider said. “So people just let it rip. ‘Why not? Put it out. See if it sticks.’”

He hasn’t stuck. Not in the craws of the Seahawks’ leaders.

Schneider said Wednesday he and his contract negotiators have had talks with Wilson’s agent Mark Rodgers about a new deal.

“We’ve been in communication with his agent, Mark, and I’m sure we’ll continue to talk,” the Seahawks’ GM said. “There’s just, there are some guys who are unrestricted free agents right now, you know. So we try to work through that process and the different phases of it.

“There are several guys who have one year left on their contracts, in terms of extensions (fellow franchise cornerstone Bobby Wagner’s deal also ends after the 2019 season; he signed his second contract years ago days after Wilson signed his).

“Obviously,” Schneider said of Wilson, “he is incredibly important.”

None of this is team-altering drama.

Carroll and Schneider have known since they re-signed Wilson to a four-year, $87.6 million extension in the summer of 2015 that these talks were coming. They, like Rodgers, knew Aaron Rodgers was due to sign a new deal with Green Bay before Wilson got his with Seattle; and he did, last summer. Aaron Rodgers got a $134 million deal over four years with $98.2 million guaranteed from the Packers last summer.

The Seahawks knew four years ago that a third contract for Wilson was likely going to need to eclipse Rodgers (who is five years older with the same number of Super Bowl rings as Wilson). Wilson’s will likely be the richest one in the NFL, perhaps $35 million per year, if Wilson maintained his level of play.

He has.

In 2018, Wilson’s seventh in the league leading Seattle’s offense, he threw a career-high 35 touchdown passes with only seven interceptions and the highest passer rating of his career, 110.9. That was despite throwing fewer passes than any full-time starting QB in the NFL; Seattle had the league’s top rushing offense and ran the ball more than any other team.

Wilson’s been so good for so long—the winningest quarterback over the first seven seasons in the league while never missing a game—Carroll thinks the league now looks differently at sub-6-foot passers such as the star of this combine, Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray from Oklahoma.

“Geez! I mean, look what he’s done. He’s had a fantastic career. He’s done everything you’d hope,” Carroll said of Wilson. “He continues to win. He can make plays. He’s unbelievably durable. There’s nothing about him in our style of play that he can’t do, ever.

“So, I hope it would have proven to people--I mean, he’s such a living example. He’s still functioning. He threw more touchdowns passes and fewer interceptions than he ever has in his career this year. He is still proving it.

“I would think the guys looking at it in the draft this year and maybe what’s available, they would look at it differently. That (where Murray is drafted) will be an indicator, I think.”

Whatever.

Bottom line for the Seahawks and their future beyond 2019: All remains on track for Wilson to remain their franchise quarterback.

There remains no Plan B.

Gregg Bell is the Seahawks and NFL writer for The News Tribune. In January 2019 he was named the Washington state sportswriter of the year by the National Sports Media Association. He started covering the NFL in 2002 as the Oakland Raiders beat writer for The Sacramento Bee. The Ohio native began covering the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl season of 2005. In a prior life he graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, so he may ask you to drop and give him 10.

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