Russell Wilson signs contract, sky doesn’t fall


So after all the debate, the hand-wringing, the often ridiculous rhetoric, the Seattle Seahawks and QB Russell Wilson have finally agreed to a new deal.  As first reported by Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, Wilson will sign a contract extension that pays him $87.6 million in new money, with $60 million guaranteed and a $31 million signing bonus.

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Now that it’s done, it’s notable how close some of the initial projections were.  Early reports that the team and player were on the same page in total value, with guarantees being the only sticking point, appear to have been remarkably accurate.

When Wilson steps on the field today for the first practice of training camp, there won’t be any question about his future, and after the initial noise dies down, there won’t be any distractions either.

So now what?

With the simple stroke of a pen, the Seahawks enter new territory.  Never before have they had a QB who could demand top dollar, and after benefiting from only having to pay Wilson 3rd round money the last 3 seasons, they will now have to structure the rest of their salary schedule around him.  The naysayers are already out in force, with big names such as former Texans GM Charley Casserly leading the way:

But anyone who knows this franchise, who really follows them on a daily basis, understands that Pete Carroll and John Schneider KNOW that, and in fact it’s a living, breathing part of their organizational plan.  Each year there will be big name players who the team is willing to let depart, a la Byron Maxwell.  At the same time, choices will be made to pay and keep others.  In the meantime, they’ll rely on their ability to find talent through the draft, attract it in free agency, and coach it up on the field.

What Casserly somehow fails to realize is that this is how every successful organization operates, yet it seems the outsiders frame this as a sign of impending doom in Seattle.  Funny how the Patriots jettisoned Vince Wilfork, Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner this offseason, yet they seem to be the consensus favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl again.

Now the real work begins.  I’m assuming the structure of the Wilson deal will leave just enough salary cap space to allow for Bobby Wagner to get his extension done before camp is over.  The next question is what does the team want to do with left tackle Russell Okung.  He’s entering the last year of his rookie contract.  The team may want to wait until next Spring to address his status, to see if he can put together a full healthy season.

A number of other starters enter their final year as well with varying degrees of long-term importance.  Those cases are all wonderful topics for separate stories and analysis as they become more time-sensitive.  And don’t worry about Kam Chancellor.  He’ll skip a week or so of camp, make his point, and report in time to be ready for the season opener. His impending holdout is silly, but he’s too smart to try and take this too far.

The bottom line is that the Seahawks and Russell Wilson were able to find some common ground and get this deal done before the player’s self-imposed deadline of today’s first workout.  The team and player both win.  The Seahawks have a their leader under contract and Wilson gets paid, while also leaving himself with the opportunity to do this all again at age 31 with an even higher salary cap.

And after years of sweating out the process of trying to find a QB to build around, the foundation is clearly and unquestionably in place for at least another 5 years.

We’ve come a long way from Charlie Whitehurst and Matt Flynn, haven’t we?

Next: Bennett reports to camp, Kam doesn't

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