It’s free agency time, and the Seahawks have a lot of players hitting the market. Whenever the topic of a hometown discount comes up, I just cringe.
The Seahawks have a lot of free agents this off-season, 31 in all according to overthecap.com. More importantly, 14 of those players are unrestricted free agents. Unrestricted means they can sign with any team they choose, unless Seattle re-signs them first. One concept that comes up a lot when fans talk about a player re-signing with his team is the hometown discount. Please, just stop now.
We’ve written about who the Hawks can let walk, and we’ve written about players the Seahawks show every sign they want to keep. I’m pretty sure that Pete Carroll and John Schneider don’t begin their sales pitch by saying how great it would be if the player would stay in Seattle for less money than they could get in another city. I’d be shocked if it entered the conversation at all.
Frank Clark is the biggest target right now for the Hawks. After the season he had, he should be. The 12s are anxious about getting him to sign the dotted line, but by all accounts he wants to stay in Seattle. The excellent site fieldgulls.com has some nice insight into the whole idea of the hometown discount as it applies to Clark. As author John P. Gilbert wrote, it appears there is no chance of Clark taking a discount. As Clark tweeted, “Business is business so you gotta pay me.”
And Clark is absolutely right. Business is business. I’m deliberately ignoring Richard Sherman’s response to his tweet. If you want to see it, just click on the link above for Mr. Gilbert’s article. To clarify, Gilbert isn’t supporting the idea of a hometown discount, just discussing it. So this isn’t some silly argument against him or Field Gulls. Again, it’s an excellent site.
No, this is an argument against fans who expect players to stay with their teams for less money. Hey, if they do, that’s awesome. If they’re willing to take less money so the team can afford better players around them, great! But you have to remember, this is a job for these players. Yes, they make a lot more than you or I do. But that has nothing to do with it. As a society, we value their work more than we value our own.
Seahawks players make a lot because the Seahawks make a lot
Remember, there are just under 1,700 players on those active rosters. That’s a pretty small labor pool for an industry that grossed $13.7 billion in 2017. By the way, you can see the protest against the league’s players did almost nothing to harm the league. Back on topic: when you’re the labor and the product for a near $14 billion dollar industry, you better be getting paid well.
Does it make sense for a player to take less money to stay with their current team? Sure, if it’s a good team on the rise like the Seahawks. Seattle has a lot of good young players that will have a bigger impact than ever. So it makes sense from a financial standpoint to take less money so the team can afford better players as well. Better players should equal more success. More success should equal more endorsements, so the player can recoup some of those dollars lost in the lower contract. But a contract is money in the hand – at least the guaranteed portion is.
Next time you ask why Clark or Russell Wilson or Bobby Wagner don’t give the Seahawks a hometown discount, ask yourself when the last time you gave your employer one. The vast majority of people are going to go where they’ll be paid the most, to provide the most they can for themselves and their families. NFL players shouldn’t be held to any different standard.