Russell Wilson may be the Seattle Seahawks’ franchise quarterback for now and into the future, but it seems not everyone believes he should be.
Wilson made big headlines a week ago when he signed a four-year, $140 million contract extension with the Seahawks that ties him to the team through the 2023 season. The extension set new NFL records for average annual salary ($35 million), signing bonus ($65 million) and guaranteed money ($107 million).
That’s a lot of money for one player, given that NFL teams need to fit 53 into their salary caps. But Wilson has proven himself during his seven seasons with the Seahawks, going 83-41-1 as a starter and leading Seattle to two Super Bowls, including one championship.
So the question posed in this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll was this: Is Wilson worth that contract? Here’s what you said:
POLL: Is Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson worth his four-year, $140 million contract extension? Full context, including a closer look at Wilson’s history, the deal’s breakdown, and how it may affect the team, here: https://t.co/C5rj53CXX3
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) April 22, 2019
Add it all up and 58 percent of the responders said Wilson was worth the money, while 42 percent said he wasn’t.
This is interesting. One of the common sayings thrown around in the sports world is that quarterback is the most important position in all of sports, and right now that statement is probably as accurate as it’s ever been given the way the game has changed to emphasize the passing game. There don’t seem to be many championship contenders that don’t have an elite quarterback, and Wilson is one of the elite. Yet close to half of the responders think the Seahawks are paying Wilson too much.
Another interesting observation is that there was a significant split between voters in the Twitter poll and voters in the blog poll. Almost two-thirds of Twitter voters said Wilson was worth the extension, while more than half the blog voters said he wasn’t, representing an 18-percent swing. The blog allows me to flesh out the argument, while Twitter is confined by its 280-character limit, suggesting that the more one breaks down the argument, the more people are inclined to question the contract.
One of the issues I raised on the blog that wasn’t said implicitly on Twitter is that Wilson will be eating up more than 15 percent of Seattle’s salary cap from 2020-23, which could hamper the Seahawks’ ability to build a good team around him, and we may have already seen the effects of this. Defensive end Frank Clark, who led the team with 13 sacks last season, was traded to Kansas City on Tuesday as he and the team were unable to agree to a long-term deal. Was it a case that the Seahawks didn’t think Clark was worth $20 million a year, or was it a case that Seattle couldn’t afford that amount with so much money committed to Wilson, as well as the need to extend the likes of linebacker Bobby Wagner and defensive tackle Jarran Reed?
One of the reasons why Seattle was able to build a Super Bowl team in the 2013 and 2014 seasons was because Seattle had a lot of success in the draft in the years leading up to those years, including finding a quarterback in the third round in 2012 who became elite while making less than $1 million a year, thus allowing the Seahawks to spend big elsewhere. Seattle no longer has that luxury, and with the NFL draft kicking off Thursday evening it means there’s as much onus as ever on the Seahawks drafting players who can make immediate impacts on modest rookie-level contracts.