I will admit I hadn’t tied the whole Russell Wilson contract negotiations and this baseball sideline thing until I read this article about baseball not being a ‘ploy’.
This is setting up to be an interesting face-off between the Seattle Seahawks and Wilson. Wilson goes into the 2015 season in the last year of his rookie contract – set to be paid a paltry 1.5 million in 2015. He is in renegotiation talks to redo his contract this year, at upwards of 20 million plus per year for several years.
All things being equal, it would make perfect sense for the Seahawks to not renegotiate his contract, make him play at 1.5 million, then franchise him next year for 20+ million, then redo his contract. This would effectively be paying him 10 million a year over two years, at a time where the Seahawks are hot and could spend that money elsewhere to continue their championship run.
Russell Wilson must be able to see this scenario – hence the renewed interest in baseball. If Russell Wilson had a reasonable chance to get called up to play for the Texas Rangers in September, and gets paid say $500,000 – why wouldn’t he do that, and tell the Seahawks he plans to sit out the last year of his contract? The notoriety he would gain from this in endorsements would more than offset any financial loss he would incur. The Rangers would also be incented to bring him to the league, as that would be a great marketing tool to bring fans to the ballpark in September.
So I think this is going to be an interesting story that will unfold in the next few months. Rumor has it that the contract negotiations are at an impasse – I think Russell Wilson is smart to try force the Seahawks to ‘show him the money’ – and I think it will work. This baseball ‘ploy’ may be worth millions for Wilson to play baseball in 2015, and give him the leverage he needs to get his contract rewritten.