Seahawks enter camp with different drama, same goal
RENTON, Wash. — There are no shortage of questions hovering over the Seahawks as they begin training camp today, headlined by the continuing uncertainty over the future of quarterback Russell Wilson.
As an apparent deadline — the beginning of practice today — for Wilson and the Seahawks to agree to a contract extension neared, there was no resolution in sight. The Seahawks also could open camp without safety Kam Chancellor.
Chancellor was the only Seahawk who did not report to camp Thursday and apparently will hold out in hopes of getting the team to re-work his contract.
The team, though, confirmed that every other Seahawk reported Thursday as players took physicals in advance of hitting the field for their first training-camp practice at 10:25 a.m. this morning.
That included defensive end Michael Bennett, who has also said he is unhappy with his contract, and Wilson, who has said he is content to play the 2015 season under the terms of his current contract, which would pay him $1.52 million this season.
Despite some of the lingering issues, one thing remains the same for the Seahawks — high expectations.
Through an offseason filled with stories about the futures of Wilson and others and speculation about how the team will respond to one of the more devastating defeats in sports history — a 28-24 Super Bowl loss to the Patriots — the Seahawks remain among the favorites to reach, and win, the Super Bowl.
The Seahawks are second on the Bovada.com list of favorites to win the Super Bowl, at 13-2 just behind the Packers at 6-1.
It’s a team that despite the offseason of anxiety is considered among the most talented in the NFL. And that helps give coach Pete Carroll confidence that the Seahawks again can reach the highest of goals.
In the spring, Carroll said that instead of obsessing over how the Super Bowl got away, the team would focus on how close it came to making NFL history.
“They know the margin of what just happened. They understand that. They know that,” he said. “What are you going to be like the next step? We should be good. We should be stronger. We should be better in a lot of areas. We are growing. We are still a young team that’s maturing. It couldn’t be more exciting, really. And yeah there’s this story (about the Super Bowl), but that’s already done.”
And then, saying he knows some will conclude that the Seahawks could crumble under the weight of the Super Bowl loss, he noted that Seattle bucked the odds a year ago merely by getting back to the big game a second consecutive year.
“Hopefully we can surprise you again,” he said.
As for Wilson, his agent, Mark Rodgers, was said to have met with Seahawks representatives. But no deal appeared forthcoming as Thursday night closed.
Many impediments remained the same as they have been since February, when the sides began working on an extension for Wilson, who is entering the final season of his initial four-year rookie contract.
Wilson wants a deal that would make him the highest-paid player in the NFL, possibly approaching $25 million a season, and the Seahawks have been countering with a contract in the $21 million to $22 million range that would make him among the top three quarterbacks in the NFL in terms of salary.
Maybe more of an issue than the average per year, though, is the amount of fully guaranteed money. Wilson wants something approaching the $54 million guaranteed to the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers. Seattle has been said to be countering with less, with an initial proposal said to be less than the $31 million in fully guaranteed money that Carolina gave Cam Newton a few months ago.
Wilson’s side is also cognizant that the salary cap will continue to increase and wants a contract that would keep Wilson among the top-paid quarterbacks and players in the NFL through the life of the deal.
Bennett’s decision to report Thursday eased one piece of possible anxiety.
Chancellor decision not to report gave credence to his apparent dissatisfaction with his contract and apparent desire to hold out.
Chancellor signed a five-year, $35 million contract in April 2013, a deal that included $17 million guaranteed.
But with rising cap numbers in the final years of the deal, and no more guaranteed money after this season, Chancellor might be seeking increased security, at the least.
If Chancellor does not show up today, it would be the second consecutive year a big-name player has held out. Last season, running back Marshawn Lynch missed the first week before agreeing to alterations to his contract that guaranteed an additional $1.5 million.
It’s unclear what Chancellor is seeking. The Seahawks’ goal, though, remains the same.