It's Russell Wilson contract deadline day, and I remain skeptical the sides accomplish much. And if in fact April 15 comes and goes without the Seahawks managing to sign their All-World quarterback to a long-term extension, don't believe the hype some are already peddling about Wilson's intentions.
Some folks in the media didn't even wait for the deadline to come and go without opining that Wilson doesn't want to be a Seahawk. He wants out, they suggest. If he and the Seahawks can't find sufficient common ground on a mega-deal, then surely it must be someone's "fault," so why not point to the player – the one who has done nothing but completely dedicate himself to his team and his craft from the moment he walked into the building as a mid-round pick, who shockingly won the starting job as a rookie and then has done nothing but win games since.
Sure, it must be on the player that the things got to this point. I mean, how dare him and his representative for believing that as we stand on the precipice of gambling money entering the NFL like never before, and with an economic recalibration coming with a new labor deal and broadcast deals on the horizon, that any new contract should include mechanisms that keep the QB's compensation in line with that growing pie. How dare they want to resolve a negotiating process – one that should have begun in earnest a year prior to the start of offseason work, when Wilson will focus solely on trying to bring a Super Bowl back to Seattle in 2019.
I mean, imagine the gall of this guy thinking, perhaps, that he was worthy of being approached in the same manner that franchises like the Falcons (Matt Ryan), Lions(Matt Stafford), Packers (Aaron Rodgers), Steelers (Ben Roethlisberger), 49ers (Jimmy Garoppolo) and Panthers (Cam Newton), to name a few, have gone about doing business with the men they identified as their franchise quarterbacks. I mean, who would think Wilson belongs in that group (insert sarcasm font here)? Forgive him for not wanting his lame-duck status – and ongoing negotiations – to dwarf whatever else the Seahawks are trying to accomplish.
Here is a dirty little secret in professional sports – when you have a generational talent, and a truly iconic player, you need to be always re-recruiting them. As transcendent as some talent can be, there is always a person in there as well who has the same insecurities and concerns and emotions as everyone else. The question – should this marriage in fact be on the rocks – isn't about why this deadline exists now. The question was and always will be: why was there not a single exploratory phone call to Wilson a year ago, at the same time the Falcons and Packers were falling all over themselves to lock up their QBs? Why let the process get to the spring of 2019 – now months away from an expiring contract – to make any real attempt to retain him on a long-term deal in the first place? Is that on Wilson, too?
A quarterback who has never missed a snap with a historic QB rating and an obvious first-ballot Hall of Fame career trajectory, who just turned 30 in November – who gathered teammates en masse for offseason workouts and played through high-ankle sprains and never said a word about the way Richard Sherman and other members of that defense would pile on at times – has already proven who he is. This was never was or should be about his intentions; the onus is always on the team to recommit to a player of this magnitude, at the right time and at the right price. The QB market was always only skyrocketing (just as with the 49ers, who went big in Jimmy G before he'd even done much of anything on the field for them). Cost of doing business and all.