RENTON, Washington. While negotiations between Russell Wilson's agent and the Seattle Seahawks continued until 11 am Monday night, the contract was favored by the team that agreed to a no-trade clause. on which the quarter had insisted.
"We talked about the idea of a no-trade clause just because we really wanted to be here," Wilson said Wednesday, echoing a remark he'd made no less than 10 times at a press conference to officially announce the extension of his record contract. "That's what made us so passionate and that's what sealed the deal for us."
Wilson has been meeting with reporters for the first time since both parties had already announced their agreement for a $ 140 million four-year deal, making him the highest paid player in history. of the NFL. It includes $ 107 million in guarantees and $ 6 million in additional incentives, a source told ESPN. The signing bonus of $ 65 million is also a record.
Wilson called Seattle a "special place" and "home for us" by slamming the rumors that had surfaced while his future was apparently in limbo, wanting him to want to play elsewhere.
"The guys I've always admired in the sport, the guys who played at [their] Places like Derek Jeter's for 15 or 20 years, I want to be like that, Wilson said. I want to remember what we want to do here in Seattle. So, we are just starting. "
Several dozen members of the organization filled the auditorium of the Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Wilson's press conference, including types of wickets and teammates such as Bobby Wagner and Duane Brown. They cheered as Wilson and his family walked to the podium, where the quarterback was flanked by General Manager John Schneider and Coach Pete Carroll. Subsequently, Wilson traded his navy blue suit for a Seattle SuperSonics jacket as he posed for photos with his wife Ciara, his daughter and son-in-law.
"It's a great day for us to look to the future, based on the great story we had to play, coach and work together, knowing that we will have another full episode for our fans, for the organization and for Russell and his family as well, "says Carroll. "It's a really exciting day for us, we're very proud of it and it's great to be here."
Wilson has never had this type of celebration after either one of his first two contracts with the Seahawks. Training camp logistics was a hindrance when he signed his previous contract in 2015, and he did not have the opportunity to arrive in Seattle as a third-round pick in 2012.
There was no guarantee that there would even be an agreement to celebrate this time.
Wilson gave the Seahawks an unconventional deadline of April 15, wishing the situation to be resolved early in the off-season training program, after the 2015 negotiations continued until late in the summer.
"For me, and for all the people involved, really – all the organization – it was really more:" Hey, let's make sure we do not have to drag this whole process ", said Wilson. "Everyone is writing, everyone is talking, everyone is speculating. These thoughts and this thought. Let's stay focused on what I really want: to win. Let's do everything we can to prepare ourselves that way. "
Schneider said the deadline made sense to both parties – even if it meant that he had to commute between the preliminary meetings and the bargaining table for four consecutive days, once the agent Wilson's Mark Rodgers would have arrived on Friday.
"Long weekend, yes," said Schneider. "I mean, as Russ said, the April 15 agreement was a good idea, the last one, quite frankly, took too much time and took a lot of energy out of it." we were supposed to do it.We thought it was a good idea on their part and developed for both sides because we needed to know what was going on, be able to clear our minds and to to be right.
"Our [scouts] are all on the floor right now. We are preparing meeting plans. We did this all weekend. Mark was there. He came on Friday. We spent time with him on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and we are just jumping into meetings. But yes, I think clarity was the biggest deal for everyone. "
According to Rodgers, the delay was real.
"Many people have called it artificial," he told ESPN during a phone interview Wednesday. "For us it was real because it was real for Russell, it was important for Russell, and the Seahawks were really cooperative."
But as in 2015, there was still no agreement from 23h. on the night of the deadline.
"What's funny is that I called Mark at 11:15," Wilson said. "I say," Hey, I think I'm going to bed. I trained in the morning. But if you call me, I hope my phone will be strong enough to wake me up. "Whatever it is, I get a call around 11:50 am and it's Mark." He said, "Hey, we have an agreement."
Wilson then announced this to the world in a video he had posted while lying near Ciara, which was imitated the next day by teammates Tyler Lockett and D.J. Fluker. Lockett played the role of a naked and groggy Wilson, while he was repeating the now famous phrase: "Hey Seattle, we have an agreement." Fluker, the right guard of the team weighing 350 pounds, then revealed his face under the sheets and said, "Come on, crazy!
"Oh, I thought it was hilarious," Wilson said. "We came here to work the next morning and we are in the offensive meeting and [coordinator Brian] Schottenheimer reviews all the plays and everything we install and he says, "Hey, I have one thing that I want to show you very quickly, guys."
Before joking and celebrating, there was an agreement to be finalized which, according to Rodgers, compelled both parties to make concessions. To name two: the Seahawks gave Wilson the huge signing bonus as a way to maintain the club's precedent for total unsecured funds beyond the first year of a contract; and Wilson got the no-trade clause.
"This was widely reported, but the no-trade clause was something that John had never done before," Rodgers said. "I knew it, but it was important to my client, because if you want to dedicate the best years of your life to a franchise and a city, you want to make sure that the club also commits to it. And you can say that they have committed a lot of money, so they are engaged, but that does not stop anyone who is maybe a team rebuilding themselves, can -being that at some point on the road is rebuilding or decides to go in a different direction, to exchange you and suddenly what you signed, you no longer have the opportunity to do. "
"I thought it was important for Russell to have it," Rodgers continued. "Understand too, he has business, he has interests, he is for friends, he has business associates, he has people who work for him, they all live [in], job [in] and like Seattle. All of a sudden, maybe it would come out from under you would be difficult. John was open minded about this, but it took a long time and he had to talk to some people about it. But in the end, there were concessions from both sides, and it was a concession they were making to really make the deal real. "
The extension ties Wilson to Seattle through his 35-year season, which would be his 12th in the NFL. He said his goal was to play 20 seasons, which Carroll said, "Me too".
"I know that there were a lot of rumors about what we were asking for and what we wanted to do," Rodgers said. "At the end of the day – and sometimes we lose the notion of that, I think, just in general in sports – but sometimes you look at the player in the eye and [ask], & # 39; What do you really want? & # 39; And it was pretty obvious soon enough that his first choice and strong preference was to remain a Seahawk.
"He talked about Derek Jeter today, I know what Derek Jeter means to him, I was there when he met Derek Jeter for the first time." Derek is somebody who is not there. he admires because Derek was a Yankee for life.The idea of being a Seahawk because life would be an honor for him, and I think he treated it that way . "