Commentary: A contract…is a contract…is a contract
SEATTLE — We start with two football players – Player “A” and Player “B” – both seeking new contracts.
Player A’s contract is up soon. Player “B” is in the middle of his current deal.
It might seem overly cut and dry, but I will always side with Player “A.” I will never side with Player “B.”
Simple as it sounds, that’s my general opinion regarding the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson and Michael Bennett.
I obviously want both players to be in Seattle as long as possible. And in Wilson’s case, it’s a little disconcerting to hear reports that both sides are somewhat far off in current negotiations on an extension. But until that new contract is signed, I will support Wilson wholeheartedly to pursue a new deal that pays him as much as he wants – be it $20 million, $25 million or even $30 million a year. I even support his desire to play out his current deal and test the free agent waters after this season – because ultimately, he has to do what’s best for himself.
In fact, I used the same rationale for Michael Bennett last offseason, when he was a free agent. And while I was delighted that he returned to the Hawks, I understood that he might be lured by the opportunity to make more money and or play with his brother in Chicago.
My problem comes when players become unhappy with their contract a year or two after they’ve signed that brand new deal.
Bennett signed a four-year extension worth $28.5 million with the Hawks just last year. And while the Seattle Times has reported that Bennett has asked the team to renegotiate his current deal, CBS Sports reports that Bennett and his agent have made it clear he’d rather not be back in Seattle this season. Whether he deserves more money is not the issue. It’s the fact that he deliberately put pen to paper on a contract –he was not forced or coerced – and it’s now his responsibility to honor that deal. The same goes for K.J. Wright and Cliff Avril, who agreed on extensions late last year, and any other Seahawks player who’s recently agreed to a brand new deal.
Last year, Doug Baldwin came on the show and gave an outstanding commentary about the players’ right to explore free agency – to find the best deal for themselves. Despite my loyalties as a fan of the Seahawks, I couldn’t agree more.
Again, I will always support the athlete before they sign a contract. But once that contract is signed, I’m always on the side of the team.
We all know that Russell Wilson deserved more than what he was paid the past three years. We all know he deserves more than $1.5 million this upcoming season. And because he hasn’t yet agreed on a new deal, I support his efforts to get as favorable a deal as possible, whether it’s in Seattle or – as much as it pains me to say – anywhere else.
But when and if he signs that deal, he’s beholden to that franchise for the remainder of that contract. And, in my opinion, it’s no different for anyone else.