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Grip on Sports: Russell Wilson works deal in public

Russell Wilson has implied that he has options that don’t include the Seattle Seahawks. (Associated Press)
Russell Wilson has implied that he has options that don’t include the Seattle Seahawks. (Associated Press)
A Grip On Sports Vince Grippi

Friday: You’re thinking of changing jobs. Your boss wants to keep you. How does that play out? Of course you go on the radio and talk with the local newspapers about each other, right? Wrong.

In another example professional sports only occasionally touching base with real life, Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks are negotiating a new contract – in public. Sort of.

Wilson fired the first shot a few days ago when he intimated he’d like to try to play professional baseball again. That’s after hitting .230 for two years of minor league play. But the comment, to HBO’s “Real Sports,” was aimed at the Hawks and general manager John Schneider.

The unspoken part of the statement was: “I have options.”

Wilson, who is set to play the upcoming season on his rookie contract (it will pay him $1.5 million), and the Hawks are trying to put together a long-term deal. No one knows what Wilson is asking for ($20 million a year maybe, much of it guaranteed, the going rate for successful quarterbacks) or what the Hawks are offering ($15 million maybe) or how long the contract will be.

After Wilson let it be known baseball is still a possibility, Schneider made the rounds of the Seattle radio shows. He was with his wife for the most part, promoting a charity event they are involved in, but the Wilson question came up. There was one statement Schneider had, in his interview with KIRO, that really seemed to be a shot across the bow.

“Every negotiation is unique in and of itself and this is no different. (This is the) ultimate team sport, he’s our quarterback, we’d love him to be our quarterback. But the thing is, we need to keep as many of these guys together as we possibly can.”

There’s a he-could-be-replaced quality to that (second) sentence, isn’t there? As in, “I’ve found a Super Bowl-winning quarterback in the third round before, I can do it again.”

 So is this really a warning shot to Wilson and his agent? Are the Hawks really telling him they want him, but at a Tom Brady-like price that allows them to keep winning?

Yes, it is. But that doesn’t mean they are at a take-it-or-leave it stage. Wilson is still their quarterback next year and the year after, when the franchise tag is still affordable. But then it would get interesting as the cost escalates quickly, with built-in percentage increases. All that is known.

What we didn’t need, what the Hawks didn’t need, is this process to become a public spat. It’s on its way to becoming that.

Thursday: Slow starts are one thing. Getting swept in Los Angeles is another. Especially when you lose each of the three games in a demoralizing fashion.

There was a blown lead, another blown lead and then, last night, no lead and a couple of blown plays at third base, including a lapse by Robinson Cano.

In the sixth, with the M’s rallying, Cano decided the bases were loaded with one out. Only they weren’t.

He was on third, Nelson Cruz was on second and first base was empty. When Logan Morrison walked Cano began to saunter toward home. Oops. Yasmani Grandal, the Dodgers catcher, couldn’t believe his luck, but he began to run toward Cano, who turned back and did his best Jackie Robinson imitation trying to get back. But even Jackie wouldn’t have been fast enough this time.

After nine games with three playoff contenders, they are 3-6 and in last place in the American League West.

Not good. 

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