It’s been building up to this situation due to the success of the last three years, but not only do the Seattle Seahawks have contract negotiation problems with star quarterback Russell Wilson, but they’re getting problems from Michael Bennett and Bruce Irvin, both unhappy with their current contracts.
Besides doing great scouting work, coaching and player development, the Seahawks got a little bit lucky. Almost all of their key defensive and offensive players were on good, manageable contracts at the same time. Right before the breakthrough, right before paying them becomes something of a burden to the team. But with Wilson up for his extension and plenty of others wanting their share of the pie, it’s hard managing the money in a way that keeps everyone happy.
Wilson isn’t, and through his agent or by talking about baseball, is letting the Seahawks know. He’s willing to play his fourth year for just $1.5 million, knowing perfectly well he’s worth more than that. But Wilson wants a contract extension that’s at least as big as what Ryan Tannehill got in Miami, maybe even bigger than Cam Newton with the Panthers. Is he worth it? If they are, he is, but each team has its own set of considerations.
Wilson put out an insurance policy worth million in case he suffers from a career ending injury in 2015, knowing it’s all very much up in the air in the NFL, and anything can happen. Maybe what will happen is the Seahawks, who don’t seem too worried about infuriating their franchise quarterback, use the franchise tag on him in 2016, which will be worth at least $21 million and might go as high as $24 million.
But what about other players? Irvin is angry that the Seahawks didn’t pick up his fifth year option for 2016 which was worth $7.8 million. He didn’t show up to the OTAs but like Bennett, made it to the mandatory three-day minicamp which just began, although the NFL penalized the Seahawks for excessive contact in offseason drills last summer, which means they have actually only one day of practice at minicamp. The rest will be about team meetings.
While Irvin is weighing his options (we’ve heard trade talks with the Falcons, but nothing has come of it yet), Bennett just wants more money instead of just future guaranteed like Irvin. Bennett is signed through the 2017 season, making $6 million this year, $4 million in 2016 and $6 million in 2017. He signed a $28.5 million, four-year deal before 2014, but wants to be one of the top 10 paid players at his position. Right now, the Seahawks aren’t budging or simply taking their time, and there are a lot of disgruntled people out there.