Community Tailgate: Russell Wilson’s Contract

We’re still a few months away from the start of battles on the NFL gridiron, but there’s no offseason when it comes to debate amongst fans. This week, we’ve launched a new series here at PFR that will be known as the Community Tailgate. What’s the Community Tailgate all about? Well, it’s pretty simple. Every weekday, we’ll highlight one of the top stories going on in the NFL. Then, in the comment section below, we want you to weigh in and let us know what you think.

Of course, while the debate may get spirited, we ask that it all stays respectful. If you need a reminder of our rules, please check out our commenting policy. Basically, we ask that you refrain from inappropriate language, personal insults, and attacks. Speaking of commenting: we’ve made it much easier to leave a comment here at Pro Football Rumors. You are no longer required to be a registered user – simply put in your name, email address, and comment and submit.

Today, we’re taking a look at what has been one of the biggest ongoing stories of the offseason: Russell Wilson‘s future in Seattle. Wilson and the Seahawks have discussed a contract extension as the Pro Bowler enters the final year of his rookie deal, but no agreement is imminent, and there’s a growing sense that Wilson is willing to play out the 2015 season without a new contract in place.

Earlier today, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link) indicated that agent Mark Rodgers is looking to make his client the NFL’s highest-paid player, attempting to surpass the five-year, $110MM deal signed by Aaron Rogers in 2013. According to Cole, Wilson’s agent believes that quarterback contracts will “explode” in the near future, with Andrew Luck, Eli Manning, and Rodgers (again) exceeding $22MM per year on their next contracts as well.

It would be a challenge to make a case that Wilson is a better NFL quarterback than Rodgers, but he doesn’t necessarily have to be better to land a contract that exceeds Rodgers’ deal with Green Bay. After all, the salary cap has risen by nearly $20MM since Rodgers signed his extension, and it’s poised to continue growing next year. When Rodgers landed a $22MM annual salary, that amount represented nearly 18% of the 2013 cap. That same percentage of 2015’s salary cap would work out to a per-year salary of about $25.63MM.

Of course, just because Wilson and his agent believe his value exceeds $22MM annually, that doesn’t mean the Seahawks agree, or that the team has to meet those salary demands. Seattle could hold off on an extension, with the option of using the franchise tag in each of the next two years to keep Wilson off the free agent market.

We want to hear your thoughts on these contract negotiations. Should the Seahawks make Wilson the NFL’s highest-paid player? Or should the team balk at his reported asking price, going year-to-year and perhaps eventually letting him walk instead? Jump into the comment section below to voice your thoughts and opinions. We look forward to hearing what you have to say.

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4 comments on “Community Tailgate: Russell Wilson’s Contract

  1. Luke Adams

    My take: I think the Seahawks are willing to let this season play out if they can’t lock up Wilson at a price they like, and I don’t think there’s much downside for the team if his reported asking price is accurate. Even if Wilson were to take a big step forward and blow away his previous passing numbers (let’s say he throws for 4,000+ yards and 30+ TDs), how much more could his asking price realistically increase? The team’s ability to use the franchise tag means there’s no real urgency yet — the Seahawks still have more leverage than Wilson does, for now.

    Having said that, I do think it could be risky for the Seahawks to wait for the Colts to extend Luck. I think the general consensus is that Luck is the better QB, and should be paid a little more. But if he were to get, for instance, a $24MM annual salary, Wilson’s camp could easily say: “Our guy has taken this team to multiple Super Bowls, has a much better career passer rating and completion percentage than Luck, and he doesn’t turn the ball over. He’s worth more than Luck is.” So if the Seahawks know that Wilson is their guy, they may want to get something done sooner rather than later, recognizing that QB salaries will continue to increase over the next few years.

    • Mike Bara

      Yeah statistically, Wilson is actually far better than Luck. Luck has more yards and TD’s simply because he also has so many more attempts.

      • Luke Adams

        That’s true to a certain extent — Wilson is much more efficient, but I think Luck is asked to do a lot more, since the Colts’ running game and defense isn’t nearly as good as Seattle’s. I’m actually pretty curious about what their stats and resumes would look like if they’d been on opposite teams since coming into the league.

  2. Mike Bara

    This will get done in December, when the Seahawks can split the cap hit between 2015 and 2016, just like they did with Avril and KJ Wright last year. I think they are just stalling.

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