Russell Wilson will earn a modest base salary of just $1.542MM in 2015 if he doesn’t sign an extension with the Seahawks, but the quarterback will protect himself against a potential career-ending injury with an insurance policy worth “millions,” according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.
Such a policy would be expensive for Wilson in the short term, but would provide a safety net if he were to suffer a major injury during the 2015 season. Based on his performance over the first three years of his NFL career, Wilson appears to be a lock to secure a huge, multiyear deal eventually, barring either an unprecedented dropoff in performance or the aforementioned career-threatening injury. An insurance policy would protect him against the latter, but not the former.
Of course, Schefter’s wording doesn’t make it unequivocally clear if Wilson has already taken out this policy, or if he simply intends to do so. With contract negotiations between Wilson’s camp and the Seahawks still expected to take place between now and the start of the regular season, this report provides another another signal that the Pro Bowler is willing to play out the 2015 campaign without a new extension in place, which could prompt the team to renew its efforts to get something done.
If Wilson were to play the 2015 season under his current deal, he wouldn’t necessarily be able to hit free agency in 2016, since the Seahawks would be able to use their franchise tag to retain him. However, the club can only franchise one player, and Wilson isn’t the only key free-agent-to-be the Seahawks will want to lock up — Bobby Wagner is also entering the final year of his contract. Additionally, using the exclusive tag on Wilson would be rather pricey, and would take up a huge chunk of the team’s cap room. Those cap hits could be better managed with a longer-term agreement.