Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had a reason for the self-imposed April 15 deadline for a new contract, which eventually became a four-year, $140 million deal with $107 million guaranteed to make Wilson the highest-paid player in the league.
The last time Wilson signed an extension came before the 2015 regular season and the deal didn't get done until July 31, just in time for the start of training camp.
Wilson didn't have any desire to go through that again and general manager John Schneider agreed with the approach leading to the NFL-record extension.
"The April 15 deal for us was a good idea," Schneider said Wednesday during a press conference. "The last one, quite frankly, took too long and took a lot of energy away from what we were supposed to be doing. So, we thought it was a good idea on their part and it worked out for both sides because we had to know what was going on to be able to clear our minds and be right."
Wilson echoed Schneider on the deadline.
"For me and for everyone involved -- really, to be honest with you, the whole organization -- it was really more so, 'Hey, let's figure out how we can make sure that we don't have to drag out this whole process,'" Wilson said. "Everybody writing, everybody talking, everybody speculating these thoughts and that thought, and just remain focused on what I really want to do and that's win. And do everything we can to prepare in that way."
Wilson said he received the call Monday from his agent, Mark Rodgers, shortly before midnight that it was done and the deal included a no-trade clause, which turned out to be a key element to finalize the negotiations.
"We talked about the idea of the no-trade part just because we really wanted to be here," Wilson said. "That was the thing we were real excited about, and that's kind of what really sealed the deal for us and was really fired up about."
Wilson hammered home numerous times throughout the news conference that being in Seattle was his preference, saying he wants to "be a Seahawk for life."
The 30-year-old signal-caller also revealed how long he plans to play in the NFL.
"My goal is to play 20 years so I would be 43ish around then," Wilson said. "So, that would be my goal to be honest with you and that's what I'm looking forward to."
With an extension that will keep Wilson in Seattle through the 2023 season, the quarterback has time to continue building on his success with the Seahawks to reach his playing objective.
He has also certainly proven to be worth every penny of his lucrative extension as one of the league's top quarterbacks since entering the league in 2012 as a third-round pick. With Wilson under center, the Seahawks have made the postseason in six of the past seven seasons, including back-to-back Super Bowl appearances (2013-14). The Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII in 2013.
Wilson has also been selected for five Pro Bowl appearances on his career, holding a 75-36-1 record as a starter in the regular season and an 8-5 record in the postseason. He has amassed 25,264 career yards passing and 196 touchdowns with 63 interceptions, while adding 3,651 career yards rushing and 16 touchdowns as one of the NFL's top dual-threat quarterbacks.
But his individual accomplishments and contract aside, Wilson can now shift focus on helping the Seahawks remain in contention every season and, of course, make other teams suffer for passing on him in the 2012 draft.
"I was going to make the 31 other teams regret it and that was my mentality, and still is today," Wilson said. "I've just been fortunate -- been very, very fortunate -- and blessed to be with great teammates, a great culture here, a great organization. There's no better place than here, and obviously a great city with amazing fans. The best fans in the world, so it's a special thing."