Dear Mr. Wilson,
Thank you for your time. As someone known to make the most of every day, my letter was likely not on this morning’s ‘to-read’ list.
Full-disclosure: I am a life-long ‘12’ from way back before we were called anything. My earliest NFL memories are of the ‘76 inaugural season and Zorn to Largent (whose #80 jersey is still the only one I’ve ever owned). My low-level athletic ‘glory days’ were fleeting, mostly ‘undecorated’, and are long past. I’ve never faced the decisions you’re facing, yet we share a common faith and personal trial that penetrates our core being. I’m not a fountain of wisdom, but wisdom can come from the most unexpected places (Num. 22:21-35).
Five Reasons You Should Sign an ‘Uncommon’ Extension in Seattle
- Uncommon Legacy – Life’s value is the ‘sum’ of all your relationships measured in overall quality and depth, not the sum in an offshore bank account. NFL economics dictate ‘stars’, who squeeze every last $ out of a ‘pay anything to win now’ marketplace, emasculate their team at the price of personal gain. The Steelers have not emerged from Ben Roethlisberger’s 2008 contract. Remember these names: Daunte Culpepper and Donovan McNabb? Two poster children for the catastrophic effect of huge ‘star contracts’ resulting in mercurial runs for one or two seasons, and the inevitable flame out to, “I wonder what ever happened to…” You are not about the short-term but a long-term legacy on the field and off.
- Uncommon Perspective – Sustained NFL success requires 53 quality players. Any one ‘overpaid’ position hamstrings the rest. Anyone think the Buccaneers would love to have a ‘do over’ on Michael Koenen’s long-term deal? They’ve won 13 games in the three seasons since overpaying for a punter (7, 4, and 2 respectively). Bordering on ‘Duh?!’: Two million in cap space wisely spent is the difference between making the play-offs and watching them.
- Uncommon Impact – Being the ‘highest paid player’ at any position in any professional league equals two things: Greed and Ego. Respect and humility create winning cultures (as you know). I’ve not been in an NFL locker room but I imagine walking away from a few million potential dollars to create salary-cap flexibility empowering the franchise to ‘up-grade’ the unsung positions throughout the roster for sustained excellence has to rate high on the internal respect scale. Not to mention the platform and opportunities it provides to reach kids, fans, corporations, and limitless others.
- Uncommon Leadership – Leaders do the unexpected. They set a different course, elevating the journey of the whole over the journey of the one. Leaders see not just the decision in front of them but anticipate the ripples that follow. Leaders eat last (but that doesn’t mean they don’t eat).
- Uncommon Wisdom – Your value is not determined by the contract extension you sign with the Seahawks or any other NFL team. Your leadership, your work ethic, and your abilities at your position give your current career choice considerable value – value you should take advantage of. You should get paid and paid well to play quarterback in the NFL. Ultimately though, wisdom sees each $ you leave in the pool elevating those around you as seeds, exponentially increasing opportunities to realize an abundant harvest of what’s of ultimate value.
Clearly, the NFL is about winning. Period. Winning takes Player #1 to #53 and beyond. Winning creates opportunities to earn more money and deliver value. As you know better than anyone, we were one hand-off away from $1B in ‘free’ franchise marketing and sponsorship opportunities for the collective ‘Seahawks’ as repeat ‘Super Bowl Champions’. In a moment, it was gone… the title, the $, and the ‘easy’ opportunities to leverage that victory for life-giving impact (clearly, using defeat as a springboard to growth creates other opportunities for impact, too). Those opportunities are not gone forever, just gone until the next season and every season the Seahawks put a quality 53-man roster on the field – a roster full of ‘diamonds’ created through a culture of competition, work, and mutual sacrifice and mined with skillful manipulation of the league’s salary-cap. Every player’s contract decision impacts the entire roster. This is truer for the ‘stars’. (Another, “Duh?!”)
I’m sure you have trusted advisors surrounding you throughout this journey who have more pedigree. I was just sweeping out my garage the other day, thinking about you and Wisdom. Felt led to share – maybe it’s worth something or maybe I’m just a dumb ‘ass’ (see ref. above).