But, according to Rob Rang, Wilson and the Hawks “are closer to an extension than some believe.” Pete Carroll did not go that far, but he said Tuesday, “The communication has been great.”
On Thursday, Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, will talk to 710 ESPN — although it remains to be seen whether he offers any details on negotiations.
Very interested to talk to Mark Rodgers (Russell Wilson’s agent) tomorrow at 8am. Lots of questions about this negotiation…
— Mike Salk, 710 ESPN (@TheMikeSalk) May 27, 2015
Ryan Tannehill’s deal with Miami might have pushed the sides closer to a deal, showing the Hawks they needed to bump the fully guaranteed money beyond $25 million.
The top quarterbacks get signing bonuses of around $30 million, with potential guarantees in the $50 million range. The Hawks reportedly have been offering a rolling guarantee structure that would amount to $40 million or so over four years. But, to get a deal, they probably will need to guarantee that amount fully on signing. Seems like an easy gamble.
The Hawks reportedly have been very fair on the total value, offering $80 million on a four-year contract. The question is whether Rodgers is viewing it properly or whether he is seeing it as a five-year deal worth $81.5 million — basically adding Wilson’s $1.54 million salary for 2015. If so, he will need to alter the way he looks at the contract — it’s about new money, not tearing up the final year, and Wilson will receive a good-size signing bonus this year anyway.
Whether they get an extension done this year or not, there is no worry that Wilson will hold out. He just isn’t that kind of guy — and he knows he will be paid, even if it is $20 million as the franchise player next year.
Joel Corry suggested recently that the Hawks would use the exclusive franchise tag, which could mean a $25 million salary in 2016. But the Hawks seem unlikely to add another $5 million to the cap hit just to retain exclusive rights when the usual franchise marker should be enough to dissuade any team from coming after him.
Even if a team were willing to give up the requisite two first-round picks, the Hawks still would have the chance to match any offer. And they probably would not wince at adding two first-rounders and losing Wilson, if it came down to that. Remember, as good as Wilson has been, he also has been the beneficiary of the league’s best defense and one of its top running games in all three of his seasons.
But it will not come down to that. A deal will get done.
Ahead of the 710 ESPN interview, here’s the background on Rodgers:
In 2010, Wilson wanted the same agent as two-sport Notre Dame star Jeff Samardzija, so he hired Rodgers as his baseball agent/business manager.
“I wanted the best two-sport advisor there was, and it was Mark Rodgers,” Wilson said in 2014. “I’d heard about the guy who represented (Samardzija), and I needed someone who would be personable and who understood that I wanted to play baseball and football.”
Wilson was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 2010 and left N.C. State in 2011 because coach Tom O’Brien wouldn’t let him play for the Rockies. Rodgers helped Wilson land at Wisconsin as a graduate transfer, and Wilson led the Badgers to the Rose Bowl.
In 2012, Wilson hired veteran NFL agent Bus Cook. But he let him go in December 2014, opting to make Rodgers his agent.
While he has had four other two-sport clients, Rodgers has never done a major NFL contract. His only two football clients have been backup QBs Doug Johnson and Matt Mauck.
In January 2013, as Wilson was finishing a successful rookie season, one of his reps reportedly “insisted” that the Seahawks redo his rookie deal. Cook, who knows NFL contract rules prohibit that, said he had nothing to do with it. That left Rodgers — a baseball guy — as the likely culprit.
Rodgers’ inexperience surely has been one of the reasons this deal has taken so long, but the Hawks clearly need to offer market value in the guaranteed money.
It seems like they might be inching toward a deal — perhaps Rodgers will provide some insight Thursday.