The shock regarding the Seahawks’ decision to go with third-round rookie Russell Wilson as the starting quarterback has been exacerbated by the perception that the Seahawks spent a ton of money on presumed starter Matt Flynn.
Here’s the thing. They didn’t.
Flynn received a signing bonus of $6 million and a guaranteed base salary of $2 million in 2012. While not peanuts, it’s less than 50 percent of the top of the market.
Things get interesting in 2013, when Flynn has another fully guaranteed $2 million but a non-guaranteed total salary of $5.25 million.
Still, it’s not an excessive amount to give to a backup, especially since the starter is, by rule, locked in to his rookie contract for at least three full seasons. Wilson received a signing bonus of only $619,472, not much more than 10 percent of Flynn’s signing bonus. And Wilson earn base salaries of $390,000, $526,217, and $662,434 over the next three seasons.
That’s a total of $2.198 million for three years — three years! — as a starter. And Wilson can’t ask for more until after the 2014 season because the Seahawks can’t give him more.
That’s one of the biggest problems with the new rookie wage scale. While it prevents highly-drafted unproven players from being paid too much, it fails to compensate players who are taken lower in the process from being compensated for overachieving their draft slots.
So, as quarterback budgets go, the Seahawks will be paying a lot less than most other teams.
For more about the quarterback decision in Seattle and various other Seahawks-related issues, here’s our chat from PFT Live with Curtis Crabtree of KJR radio.