Art of the deal: Mark Rodgers breaks down talks for Russell Wilson’s contract extension with Seahawks

The first issue to get out of the way was the deadline.

How real was the April 15 marker Russell Wilson put in place to reach an agreement on a contract extension with the Seattle Seahawks?

‘We just believed the body of work was complete, it was time to negotiate’

“It was real,” Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, told Zig Fracassi and Bruce Gradkowski on the SiriusXM Blitz about the four-year, $140-million deal that makes the quarterback the highest-paid player in the NFL. “It was hard, because it was when we were going to see some negotiations with the Seahawks. And there’s been a lot speculated, would you ever talk to them again (after the deadline)? I don’t know.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. (SiriusXM NFL Radio Photo)

“I hope people understand that we were at the point, seven years into the league, that we didn’t believe there was anything that Russell was going to do between April 15 and, say, August 15, that was going to change his value. Everybody knew this day was coming for four years, not for the 10 weeks that we gave them as a deadline. And we just believed the body of work was complete, it was time to negotiate.”

‘It was Russell’s deadline’

Rodgers pointed out that the deadline wasn’t something that was only for Wilson’s sake.

“We talked about deadlines and (Wilson) said, ‘I want the first day of offseason workouts. When I step on the field in Seattle, I want this done, I want it behind us. Either the deal’s done or we’re done talking.’”

“In all fairness, we told the Seahawks at that time, ‘Look, if we can’t get something done, and you believe it’s not going to happen at any point, it gives you time to trade him before the draft, it gives you time to make plans. And, frankly, it gives Russell Wilson time to make plans about the rest of his life, (given) the uncertainty of maybe not staying in Seattle,’” Rodgers said. “So it was real because it was practical for us and, truth be told, and this shouldn’t surprise you based on the story I first told you, it was Russell’s deadline. We talked about deadlines and he said, ‘I want the first day of offseason workouts. When I step on the field in Seattle, I want this done, I want it behind us. Either the deal’s done or we’re done talking.’

‘I think he was relieved that, one way or another, it would be done early’

“Interestingly, (Seahawks General Manager) John Schneider was actually very agreeable to it. I think he thought it was a good idea for both sides. I think he was relieved that, one way or another, it would be done early.”

The no-trade clause that Wilson’s side wanted and the Seahawks granted was, according to Rodgers, a late addition to the negotiations.

‘(The no-trade clause) was something that we pounded on at the end to get the deal done’

“Truth be told, I saved it as really the last kicker,” he said. “I saved it for, at the end of the day, knowing we’d probably come up short in some other areas. It was important, it was on our checklist. But it was something that we pounded on at the end to get the deal done. And it’s what extended is past the midnight deadline.

“I think we actually got done about 10 after 12. Because John Schneider had never done one before. And as we all know, John likes to wheel and deal with the draft and he likes to do things. … We knew, in the back of John’s mind, that’s always going to be there and so it was important to Russell. Would the deal have not gotten done without it? Look, I don’t know. I’m glad John agreed to it. I think it was painstaking for John to do it. John never wants handcuffs put on him and that’s what we wanted, to put a handcuff on him. But we were looking to put a ring on him and marry him, not put a handcuff on him. So I think we’re married to the Seahawks for a while.”

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