I was tooling around Twitter last week when I came across this:
5 years, $35 million a year. Around $105M guaranteed. https://t.co/ivWVRXNgxI
— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) November 24, 2018
It’s referring to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and what it will cost to sign him to a contract extension.
Wilson is currently in the midst of a four-year, $87.6 million contract extension he signed in 2015 that runs through the 2019 season. That means at the end of the season he’ll have one year remaining on his contract, the point at which the Seahawks usually are willing to begin negotiations on a new deal.
What Jason Fitzgerald, OverTheCap.com’s founder, is saying in the above tweet is that it’s going to take a big wad of cash for the Seahawks to lock down Wilson.
Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers set the market when he signed a four-year, $134 million extension earlier this year, which averages $33.5 million a year and includes $78.7 million guaranteed.
Wilson currently makes $21.9 million a year, which ranks him 11th in the league among quarterbacks, behind the likes of Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins ($28 million), San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo ($27.5 million) and Oakland’s Derek Carr ($25 million).
Wilson is far more proven than some of those ahead of him in the salary rankings, considering he’s won a Super Bowl, taken the Seahawks to another one, and ranks second on the all-time career passer rating list at 100.1 (behind Rodgers’ 103.6). Considering Wilson hasn’t turned 30 yet — his 30th birthday is Thursday — it’s understandable why Wilson is likely to be the new market setter.
But does it make sense to sign Wilson to a contract that large? Yes, Wilson is the Seahawks’ most important player, something he proved again Sunday in Seattle’s 30-27 comeback victory over Carolina. But $35 million is a big drain on the salary cap. This year Wilson’s contract has a salary-cap hit of $23.786 million, and with this year’s salary cap at $177.2 million Wilson is taking up 13.4 percent of the cap. At $35 million, and with the cap estimated to be at about $187 million next season, Wilson would be taking up 18.7 percent of the cap.
That’s a big percentage, and it can be difficult to construct a complete roster when so much money is tied up in one player. One of the main reasons the Seahawks were able to build such strong teams in 2013 and 2014 — they reached the Super Bowl both years — is that they had a franchise quarterback playing on a rookie contract that took up just 0.6 percent of the cap.
Wilson is so important to the Seahawks, and in today’s NFL it seems a team needs a franchise quarterback if it wants to be a legitimate contender. But even now there are those who don’t believe Wilson is an upper-echelon QB. There’s the option of trying to negotiate the deal down, or even applying the franchise tag, but those risk creating friction between the team and it’s star player, and recent examples suggest that can be a problem.
So what do you think the Seahawks should do? Voice your opinion here: