Ever since general manager John Schneider alluded to the Seahawks exploring outside-the-box methods for getting Russell Wilson locked up to a new contract extension, one popular theory, explored by cap experts like Joel Corry and Jason Fitzgerald, involves the quarterback landing a fully guaranteed contract. The thinking is that Seattle could save a few million dollars per year on its cap if Wilson were to accept a slightly reduced annual salary in return for having his salary fully guaranteed.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, however, that won’t be the case. Citing Seahawks sources, Rapoport says Wilson’s next long-term contract will include high, but not full, guarantees. The NFL.com insider also added that the team hopes to get something done with its franchise quarterback prior to the start of training camp.
The news doesn’t come as a real surprise, since it was hard to imagine Wilson accepting a salary discounted enough to motivate the Seahawks to fully guarantee the deal. While a full guarantee would be appealing to the significant number of NFL players who typically have little to no chance of playing out their entire contracts, something would have to go catastrophically wrong for the 26-year-old Wilson not to play out his next deal in Seattle. So if he’s looking to maximize his earnings, it makes more sense to pursue a higher per-year salary rather than a higher guarantee.
Although there’s a chance Wilson plays out the 2015 season without a new agreement in place, he’s more likely to sign an extension this year than fellow 2012 draftee Andrew Luck. Because Luck was a first-round pick, the Colts hold a fifth-year option for 2016 on their quarterback, while the Seahawks don’t have the same luxury with Wilson, who is eligible for unrestricted free agency in ’16. Seattle could still use the franchise tag next winter, but presumably the club would rather not let the situation reach that point.
According to Rapoport, the Seahawks will also try to work out a multiyear extension with linebacker Bobby Wagner before the 2015 season gets underway, but locking up Wilson is the team’s priority. The Super Bowl-winning quarterback is expected to become one of the league’s highest-paid players.