Carroll said he met with Wilson Sunday and that the team hopes to get something done with him contractually before the 2019 season.
If the Seahawks follow what is not only their own protocol but that of the rest of the NFL, then they won’t let Russell Wilson start the 2019 season without a new contract.
Wilson’s contract runs out following the 2019 season and teams typically try to avoid a franchise quarterback entering his free-agent year without a new deal.
And Sunday, as coaches said goodbye to players for the next three months following a season-ending wild-card playoff defeat against Dallas, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll sent the message to Wilson that the team hopes to get something done with him before next fall.
“We talked about all of that, yeah,’’ Carroll said Monday when he held his season-ending news conference. “Russ and I met and we talked about the future. We are talking about where we are going and what we want to get done. And, you know, that’s very much in our plans.”
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It won’t be the first thing the Seahawks do this offseason — there are more urgent needs involving players whose contracts have now run out, such as defensive end Frank Clark.
And it might not be easy — Wilson is likely to want a deal that would match if not surpass the $33.5-million-per-year deal Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers received before the 2018 season.
Carroll indicated the Seahawks won’t let Wilson get away. Carroll signed an extension in December through the 2021 season and then praised the direction of the team under Jody Allen, who has taken over as the owner following the death of her brother, Paul Allen, in October.
Carroll undoubtedly views Wilson as part of the future that he signed on for.
Wilson threw a career-high 35 touchdown passes in 2018 while tying a career-low with seven interceptions and operating an offense in which Carroll said he had more freedom than ever.
“We have a quarterback that you can absolutely count on who doesn’t turn the ball over, makes big plays, throws touchdown passes,’’ Carroll said. “He can control the whole game now. This year Russ really took a step forward. He is in control across the board. He’s able to change plays at the goal line — he did it to score the touchdown. Multiple examples of that big jump forward.’’
Wilson said Sunday he was OK with the idea of playing next season without a new contract but also said he’d like to stay with the Seahawks.
He signed a four-year contract worth $87.5 million when training camp opened in 2015, and at the time said he wanted to get it done before camp and not have to deal with it during the season.
That sort of timeline could be in play again this time with the Seahawks likely spending the spring months getting the 2019 roster set before moving on to extensions in future years.
Here are more highlights of what Carroll said about personnel issues Monday:
— While Carroll said he didn’t want to get into talking about every pending free agent, he said the team would like to keep veteran linebacker K.J. Wright. “We’d love to have K.J. back with us,’’ he said.
— Asked about Earl Thomas, who now is a free agent, Carroll said he had not talked to him recently. When asked if Thomas could stay with the team, Carroll gave a response that does little to dispel the idea that the team doesn’t expect to do anything to bring him back. “Uh, we will see what happens,’’ Carroll said. “I don’t know, yeah, I’d love, Earl’s a great player. I don’t know what that means for contact and all that stuff but it’s one of the issues. We’ve got a bunch of them.’’
— Carroll also said the team hopes to re-sign veteran free-agent offensive linemen D.J. Fluker and J.R. Sweezy. “We’d love to keep those guys with us,’’ he said. “We’d love to do that.”
— Receiver Doug Baldwin has two years left on his contract, but the injuries he battled this season have created at least some intrigue as to whether he will finish out his deal with the Seahawks. Carroll said he is “planning’’ on Baldwin “being right with us’’ in 2019. He also heaped heavy praise on the way Baldwin rallied from the injuries to play all but three games and finish with 50 receptions.
“I thought it was a heroic season for Doug,’’ Carroll said. “I thought it was so hard for him because it was so different. He’s never missed anything, maybe there was a couple of days in practice in years past, but he had to deal with that and he had to find a way and a mode he could get through the weeks and prep. Which I don’t mean to feel sorry for him, but it was a challenge for him. It was a new way of looking at the world and he had to shift gears and all that. I thought he finished in tremendous fashion and made all of the plays. He came through and was huge down the stretch here and was really happy for that so he could recapture the feeling of being a big part of the club and what was going on and being able to factor in like he pictures. He’s an incredible player.”
— Carroll said kicker Sebastian Janikowski likely would not need surgery on the hamstring injury he suffered Saturday. Janikowksi also now is a free agent and given that he’ll be 41 next year the Seahawks could look for other kicking options. “He didn’t think he did something out of the ordinary of a hamstring pull, but it was certainly significant,’’ Carroll said.
— Another player whose contract status could become more clear over the next few months is Kam Chancellor. Chancellor isn’t expected to play again but he is under contract with the Seahawks through the 2020 season. Seattle owes him $5.2 million in 2019 as part of an injury guarantee in the deal he signed before to the 2017 season. But the team could get some significant cap savings by releasing Chancellor (the cap situation was not favorable for releasing Chancellor last year). Seattle would take a dead cap hit of $5 million releasing Chancellor before June 1, but would save $8 million. If he is a post-June 1 cut, Seattle would save $10.5 million while taking a $2.5 million hit. Asked about Chancellor’s role with the team this season — he was a regular attendee of practices and was at the playoff game in Dallas — Carroll said the team hopes to keep him around in some capacity in the future.
“I loved having him around,’’ Carroll said. “Every time he was with us on the road late in the season, I just loved him being with us, because he is a steadying force. He’s one of those guys who helps other people perform better and feel more confident and feel better about themselves. He has a way of doing that, so he was very helpful, and I hope that we can keep him close to the program. He’s got great input.”
— The Seahawks on Monday signed nine of the players who ended the season on their practice squad to “futures” contracts. That means they will become an official part of the team’s roster when the new league year begins March 13. Those nine are: CB Jeremy Boykins, WR Caleb Scott and Keenan Reynolds, CB Simeon Thomas, TE Tyrone Swoopes, S Marwin Evans, LB Justin Currie, and OLs Jordan Roos and Marcus Henry.