The negotiations between the Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson aren’t going anywhere, so it’s not surprising to consider creative solutions for the problem, like putting him on a non-exclusive franchise tag, which isn’t very common with franchise quarterbacks.
John Clayton, an ESPN talking head who knows what he’s talking about most of the time, mentioned this option during a show on the network and the more you think about, it does make a little bit of sense, if not more than that.
In terms of money, it works the same way, as the paragraph below will explain, but it gives the Seahawks some security in case Wilson tries to bail and there’s a team out there willing to take him with that huge contract he so desperately wants. It’s rare to see quarterbacks making these kind of switches so early in their career and their prime, but Wilson was never supposed to start for the Seahawks and see where that turn of events has taken him and them.
A “non-exclusive” franchise player must be offered a one-year contract for an amount no less than the average of the top five cap hits at the player’s position for the previous five years applied to the current salary cap, or 120 percent of the player’s previous year’s salary, whichever is greater. A non-exclusive franchise player may negotiate with other NFL teams, but if the player signs an offer sheet from another team, the original team has a right to match the terms of that offer, or if it does not match the offer and thus loses the player, is entitled to receive two first-round draft picks as compensation.
In short, the Seahawks want to sign Wilson on a new deal, but not for the kind of money he’s asking for. Wilson has no problem playing on his very low fourth-year salary, and knows that getting franchised is very likely, although it will pay him somewhere between $21 million and $26 million in 2016. But the non-exclusive clause, an RFA kind of deal, making it more and more “real” for the Seahawks to consider a future without Wilson under center.