When asked last month by Jimmy Fallon about a rumor that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson could end up with the Giants, Wilson said, “I’m not sure if the Seahawks are gonna let me get away.”
That response glosses over the more fundamental question of whether Wilson would like for the Seahawks to let him get away.
Per a league source, the Seahawks think that Wilson would like to play elsewhere, even if he hasn’t and wouldn’t ever say it. They also believe that this unspoken dynamic will cause Wilson to drive a harder bargain with them than he would with another team.
Yes, Wilson and his agent, Mark Rodgers, continue to talk to the Seahawks about a long-term deal. And, yes, under the right financial circumstances, Wilson will sign what would be a third contract in Seattle. But if the Seahawks won’t pay whatever it is that Wilson wants from the Seahawks, the question becomes whether he’d want that same amount from a different team.
The answer to that question won’t be known unless and until the Seahawks and Wilson fail to work out a contract before Wilson’s stated deadline of April 15, and whether the Seahawks would at some point explore the possibility of trading Wilson elsewhere. That may not happen in 2019, when the Seahawks can keep Wilson for a base salary of $17 million. It becomes more likely if/when Wilson initiates the year-to-year Kirk Cousins-style approach under the franchise tag, with $30.34 million becoming the price tag for keeping him in 2020 — and when Wilson’s leverage on a long-term deal would skyrocket, given that the franchise tag would move to $36.4 million for 2021 and, given the 44-percent rule for a third tag, to $52.43 million for 2022.