Mark Rodgers: A MLBPA Agent Negotiating QB Russell Wilson’s Contract
Russell Wilson has made quite the name for himself on and off of the football field in his NFL career thus far. After being drafted in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Wisconsin, he won the starting QB job for the Seattle Seahawks before the season started. Prior to signing his rookie contract in 2012 (4-years for about $2.2 million), he signed a professional contract for another sport – baseball. Wilson played college baseball (as well as football) at NC State from 2008-2010 before transferring to Wisconsin for the 2011 football season. He was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the fourth round (140th overall) of the 2010 MLB Draft, and began his professional baseball career.
Why all the background information on the face of the Seahawks franchise? Because his rookie contract expires after this season, and with his ongoing contract negotiations to supposedly make him the highest paid player in the NFL, he seems to be the most undervalued player in the league based on performance.
According to by Andrew Brandt for The Monday Morning Quarterback, Wilson’s contract negotiation is being handled by Mark Rodgers, who is primarily known as a baseball agent. Rodgers is listed as number 48 on the MMQB Most Influential People for the 2015 Season.
Based on the 2011 CBA, which slashed first-round bonuses, there is a provision for the majority of drafted players that requires a three-year waiting period to renegotiate contracts beyond the rookie deal. With Wilson entering his fourth year in the league, this restriction was lifted this offseason. He is scheduled to earn $1.54 million for the 2015 season, which is about 14% of what Jameis Winston (another dual sport athlete, who is also represented by baseball agents will earn as a rookie this year. In fact, Wilson will earn less than most backups in the league, according to Brandt.
Mark Rodgers met Wilson when he was a baseball advisor when Wilson was at NC State, and brought in football agent Bus Cook to negotiate his rookie deal in 2012. Rodgers was a NFLPA-certified agent from 1987 to 2012 before becoming re-certified when Wilson requested his services. Rodgers has negotiated free agent deals for baseball players such as Cliff Lee, Mike Hampton, A.J. Burnett and free-agent-to-be Jeff Samardzija.
With the market value for free agent quarterbacks reaching annual salaries of close to $20 million a year, and $55-60 million guaranteed, Russell Wilson is in line for a huge pay day.