The next time you hear some old guy rant about how "a contract is a contract" and athletes have no right to renegotiate, try to remember Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who led Seattle to a Super Bowl championship Sunday night in his second season in the NFL.
Wilson is the best bargain in the NFL, and maybe all of sports. Because he was drafted in the third round in 2012, he is finishing the second year of a four-year, $3 million deal. That's tip money for the average starting NFL quarterback. But Wilson is making peanuts because he was a late draft pick and rookies get their contracts slotted by when they're selected.
Next year, Wilson is due to get a hike to $817.302, or less than long snapper Garrison Sanborn made for the Bills last season. Is it his fault that the entire league passed him by twice, because he was supposedly too small to be a starting QB in the league?
Wilson's deal gives Seattle great flexibility to bolster other positions on its team. That's a big deal in a salary cap league. Many teams (Denver, for one) pay huge bucks to the quarterback, which compromises their depth at other positions. That showed in the Bowl when the Broncos were thin on defense and paid for it against an opportunistic Seahawks offense.
If I'm Wilson's agent, I'm asking for a raise. It's only fair. He had no control over his original contract (same as Jairus Byrd). That's the case in pro leagues that have drafts and restrict the ability of players to choose where they play. And that's why it's perfectly reasonable for players to want more money when they've outperformed contracts that were the result of the NFL's inability to judge their real talent.
Go ahead and make the tired argument that a contract is sacred. This isn't the real world. It's sports. If you make that argument, you should also be pushing for the abolition of drafts, too.