Funding rule hovers over Russell Wilson talks

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Apart from the significant gap in the raw dollars between what Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson currently wants and what the team currently is willing to pay, another major issue looms over the negotiations.

Per multiple sources, Wilson is looking for a considerable portion of the contract to be fully guaranteed. While he’s not asking for the entire deal to be fully guaranteed, it’s a larger portion than traditional veteran contracts.

It’s become a stumbling block not because of the guarantee itself but because of the league’s funding rule, which requires almost every penny of any future payments guaranteed for skill, injury, and cap to be paid into escrow upon signing. While Seahawks owner Paul Allen, the richest of the very rich men who control NFL franchises, can afford to put the money aside ahead of time, multiple sources tell PFT he doesn’t want to.

It’s unclear why he doesn’t want to do it, since he can do it with the stroke of a pen. And it invites further speculation that the funding rule, which was created to protect players from owners who lack the future cash to honor guaranteed payments, has become a tool for collusion among NFL teams.

Former NFL player Sean Gilbert made the case while running for the position of NFLPA Executive Director that the funding rule as written and applied results in collusion. The NFLPA apparently has decided not to pursue the issue.

But maybe it should. During the NFLPA campaign, Gilbert made a big deal about keeping the specifics of the collusion claim top secret due to concerns regarding the 90-day limit for filing such claims. The truth may be that he wanted to give incumbent DeMaurice Smith and other candidates less time to debunk Gilbert’s theory; if the violations are continuing, a collusion case arguably could be made within the 90 days after any specific instance of it, past, present, or future.

For any team owned by someone worth billions, there’s no legitimate reason to refuse to fund fully guaranteed veteran contracts, other than to avoid the widespread adoption of fully guaranteed veteran contracts across the NFL. That may be a legitimate business reason on a team-by-team basis, but it also amounts to collusion if multiple independent NFL franchises agree to do it in order to avoid fully-guaranteed contracts becoming the norm in pro football, like it has become the norm in baseball and basketball.

76 responses to “Funding rule hovers over Russell Wilson talks

  1. Or putting 100 million dollars in a low-interest escrow account is a terrible investment and Paul Allen didn’t get to billionaire status being bad with money.

  2. Well, Paul Allen can individually realize his wealth far exceeds other team owners and wouldn’t need to collude to act in the best interest of his less wealthy peers. He may also conclude that unless the player is the Lebron James equivalent to the NFL, he’s not going to break contract negotiation precedent, instead think “who do you think you are?” towards his employee #3.

  3. This is simple. Prove it! Good luck with that, does collusion happen? Probably, but proving it is next to impossible and the NFLPA understands that. Besides, fully guaranteed contracts are ruining baseball, why the hell would we want that to happen in football too?

  4. Not to defend the owners but all Billionaires have loads of liquid cash available. Their wealth is tied up in the businesses they own. While they can come up with money here and there, why would an owner want to sell millions of dollars of their investments, just to have it sit stagnant in a locked account to pay the players in future years?

    There is a time value to money and a liquidity premium. You want your money earning for you, not sitting idel.
    I can see making an exception along the lines of:

    “I’ll pay you less, but I’ll guarantee more.”

  5. Just so you know, net worth is the total sum of all of Allen’s possessions and stocks. It is not a reflection of how much money is in his bank account. If he were to guarantee $80 million of a $110 million contract, he’d need to have about $220 million in his account to pay the players alone, just for this year. I don’t know what he does with his money, but even if he did have $1 billion sitting in his account, I highly doubt that he’s willing to part with %20 of his money.

  6. While Paul Allen has the money to PERSONALLY fund the contract, the team would have to BORROW the money from him.

    the intent of any business is to make a profit. If you invest in a project (i.e. Borrow money), the company expects to earn a rate of return. the truth is borrowing money to fund a contract does not generate extra profit so any reasonable business would not pursue the loan.

    It’s also very possible that league financial rules do not allow exceeding a financial ceiling on borrowing.

  7. For the reason NFL teams balk at fully guaranteed contracts, see the production of one Haynesworth, Albert, after his big contract.
    Does any business group give fully guaranteed contracts? Please give an example of one.

  8. as a lifelong hawks fan and huge RW fan i am really surprised that RW is going this rout all his god talk and this is a blessing to be in this position B/S thought he wanted to win championships???? not going to happen if they cant afford to keep a great team around him..come on russ your gonna make plenty of money… how much do you need??? how much does your god need??? starting to think your full of it GO HAWKS…RIGHT

  9. prima donna…make him finish his current contract (either he will or won’t), franchise the following two years and be rid of him…he can be replaced…

  10. It’s his money. If he doesn’t want to, he doesn’t want to. I like Wilson, but he’s not the only reason they win games. Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Manning, even Luck – they carry their teams, win or lose. Wilson is a piece, albeit a very good piece, but he’s not the best QB in the league. He shouldn’t be paid like it. If his ego has grown so much that he doesn’t see reality and his contract expectations are too high, then let him go find success with another team. I would trust Pete Carroll and the system in place over one player.

  11. Looks like the 12th man will go into hiding soon, either they lose Wilson and have no QB or they grossly over pay him and can’t afford anyone else.

  12. Here is some gossip re. Paul Allen may not want to tie up his Billions. I am a BPL fan ( that is where the THFC comes from) earlier in the week I read a rumour/speculation that Totteham Hotspur was in negotiations to be sold. Nike was mentioned as was Paul Allen. Just spreading gossip

  13. I don’t blame the owners. The fully guaranteed contracts are the Bain of MLB and NBA! Amazes me how much dead money those teams carry from bad deals.

  14. “For any team owned by someone worth billions, there’s no legitimate reason to refuse to fund fully guaranteed veteran contracts, other than to avoid the widespread adoption of fully guaranteed veteran contracts across the NFL.”

    Other than the fact that the 50 million sitting in escrow isn’t a money maker, while 50 million that can be doled out over 7 years is a potential investment source?

  15. Question of the day:
    Who likes Russell Wilson more, Seahawks fans, or Russell Wilson?
    Dude, get off your high horse. Your success is due more to a stifling defense and a great run game. You’re an awesome game manager though.
    Now here come the pnw apologists any second. Yes homers, he did ride the back of his defense and run game. His records and accolades are because of the team he’s on more so than the talent he has.

  16. Why should teams hamstring themselves when there is no guarantee that the player is going to play with the team through the entire contract. A lot of teams have dead money issues as it is. The more that the teams are forced to guarantee the worse the cap situations become.

  17. It’s only collusion if team owners are meeting in private to agree to apply rules that aren’t known to the NFLPA. Your argument calls into question the whole free market system. If he doesn’t want to put the money up, then Wilson doesnt have sign an agreement & will become a free agent. Then, a different club MIGHT meet his contract wants. And, they might not. It breaks down to is he worth anything close to what he wants. If the reports of him wanting to be the highest paid QB are true…well, I would let him walk. Because he isnt getting that kind of money ever (because he’s not even in the top 5).

  18. Who does Russell Wilson think he is?? I’m being serious. Dude thinks he’s the 2nd coming of Montana or something. Guess what, Russ? You’re not! Complete a 1 yard slant and then get back to me. Enough of this guy lately….

  19. It is strictly a value-based decision made by individual teams, just as the actual amount of the offers to free agents is. Nothing to do with collusion.

  20. For any team owned by someone worth billions, there’s no legitimate reason to refuse to fund fully guaranteed veteran contracts, other than to avoid the widespread adoption of fully guaranteed veteran contracts across the NFL.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    This statement seems to imply you believe these guys have bank accounts with billions of dollars in cash that can be withdrawn at a moment’s notice. While there is no doubt that he has access to huge sums of cash, most of his net worth is tied to companies, real estate and other assets. It also completely ignores that money tied up in escrow can’t really generate new money like it could in other investment ventures.

  21. Just because Allen is a billionaire, that does not mean that the Seahawks are rolling in money. His personal wealth and the wealth of his business are two separate legal entities. The Seahawks might not actually have that much to put into escrow, and be able to do other things. It may also make them look bad on a balance sheet somewhere. As someone pointed out, Allen could lend the team the money, but he clearly does not want to if at all possible.

  22. Wilson’s not that good…. Without Lynch that offense would wilt and die.. Wilson simply isn’t good enough to carry the team on his shoulders like a Aaron Rodgers , Peyton Manning or even Drew Brees

  23. Half of you hating on Wilson are idiots. He was the lowest paid starting QB past couple seasons and was even paid less than most back up qbs. So while you sit here and squak about him being greedy put it in perspective that he didn’t get a penny more for leading his teams to two Super Bowls and damn near winning both of not for your coach calling a passing play instead of a read option. Say what you want that he’s good but “not that good”. Fact remains he put performed his contract by a landslide and Hawks don’t sniff a super bowl with the other bum qbs you could’ve chose from. As a bills fan I hope your owner does stiff him because he would get paid what he deserves and see what a real fanbase is all about.

  24. The reality is Seattle can’t afford to tag him anyways. They have to sign him to ease the cap burden. All the talk about franchise tag is not realistic, that’s directly off the cap. If they can’t afford a 9-14 mil cap hit, how could they afford 22? They’d still lose a lot of players AND eventually Wilson on top of it. This contract is a bigger deal than they act like it is.

  25. Sorry Wilson, but you missed your chance at the kind of pay day that you want when you threw that last mindless pick. #WilsonPickit

  26. I hate calling Wilson a “system QB”, but I think the shoe fits here. Don’t get me wrong, RW has a quality skill set and one day may become a very good QB on his own right, but right now I don’t see him being as successful on another team. The Seattle running game and defense make his job much easier (ex. Roethlisberger early in his career).

  27. To all the Seahawk fans and other fans of the NFL that constantly bashed Drew Brees for the sum of his contract, and worshiped the “good guy” Wilson, the shoe is now on the other foot…

  28. The NFL already give out fully guaranteed contracts. Most 1st round draft choice contracts are fully guaranteed. The difference is the size of the contracts, small compared to what Wilson is seeking.

  29. He doesn’t want to set that precedent. Wealthy businessmen can do a lot of things that they choose not to do.

  30. The risk for injury is much greater in football than in baseball and basketball so the owners want the players to assume some of that risk. Kind of like the high deductable we pay for our health insurance

  31. Contract guarantees should be eliminated. Players can take out insurance to protect against injury. This is a business!

  32. “…..You’re bringing up Wilson getting divorced to date celebrities, Mr Pats fan, when Brady dumped his pregnant girlfriend to date a supermodel?”

    You have a reading comprehension problem. The guy is not a Pats fan and constantly whines about the mean ol’ Pats. Note his hashtag for instance.

    And unlike most people, whether not Brady “dumped a pregnant girlfriend” you can be sure he pays massive child support and does so willingly.

  33. No QB has accomplished more in 3 years, period. There has never been a better QB in his first 3 years, period. Please stop comparing him to QB’s who have been in the league 5, 8, 10 years.

  34. “It’s unclear why he doesn’t want to do it, since he can do it with the stroke of a pen”

    Really? It’s not clear to you? Do you think these guys operate in a vacuum? Of course they are putting tremendous pressure on him not to do it.

    As you mention later in the paragraph, it’s called “collusion”. And NFL owners do it constantly.

  35. Ultimately, I think a deal will eventually get done, but Russell’s greed has been surprising and disappointing.
    The Seahawks have reportedly offered him Top 5 QB money and that is very reasonable. I was blown away by his intelligence when he was on Jon Gruden’s QB Camp before the ‘Hawks even drafted him, so I know that he’s smart enough to realize that a Top 5 salary PLUS endorsement money from being on a perennial SB contending team will exceed being the highest paid QB in the NFL on a scrub team that never sniffs the playoffs because his salary prevents them from giving him a quality supporting cast.

    All that said, does he benefit from having a great defense? Absolutely.
    Does he benefit from having the #1 rushing team? Most definitely.
    Would the Seahawks HAVE the #1 rushing team without RW’s 849 rushing yards? Nope.

    He’s a great QB when you consider his triple threat factor: good arm, great legs, and an amazing awareness & ability to throw on the run when a play breaks down. The system & personnel around him in Seattle suits his game perfectly. Anywhere else, I highly doubt that will be the case.

    I’m guessing if there wasn’t a salary cap in the NFL, Paul Allen & the Seahawks would have NO problem making Russell the highest paid player in the game (until the next mega contract is signed). He has earned that by taking them to 2 Super Bowls while playing for (relative) peanuts of a 3rd round rookie contract. But they’re smart enough to know that with the cap, breaking the bank for him will put them back in the middle of the pack within 3 years.

    Come on, Russell. Be smart about this.

  36. I love all the angst and hate when a player plays hardball like teams do. This is a business. Every year when players hold out in the middle of contracts there is always a chorus of people saying honor your contact and you shouldn’t have signed it if you didn’t like the terms.

    Wilson came into a situation that due to a CBA he wasn’t a part of forced him into a contract that he has vastly out played.

    If I’m in his shoes I’m through giving team discounts. The team had 4 years of the greatest discount in the NFL in a superbowls winning QB playing for less than 40 other QBs in the league.

    Now he wants every penny the market is willing to pay. Don’t get mad at him for finally being able to use his leverage.

    If he plays out his contract this year he will be looking at $22 million franchised and the possibility some other team gives up 2 first round choices and sign him to his price.

    This is business and too many of you are making this personal.

  37. Question of the day:
    Who likes Russell Wilson more, Seahawks fans, or Russell Wilson?
    Dude, get off your high horse. Your success is due more to a stifling defense and a great run game. You’re an awesome game manager though.
    Now here come the pnw apologists any second. Yes homers, he did ride the back of his defense and run game. His records and accolades are because of the team he’s on more so than the talent he has.

    ———————————————————————
    They used to say the exact same thing about Tom Brady. Wilson has a lifetime QB rating of 98.6 and a completion percentage of 63.4. Those are elite QB numbers. In comparison Brady has a QB rating of 95.9 and completion percentage of 63.5. Brady has sustained his over a longer period of time.

  38. As a Seahawk fan I like RW, a lot, but his cynical obsession for the almighty $$$ is getting really annoying. He’s forgetting how important the rest of the team is to his career stats and health. Without them he’s nothing and if he takes all the $$$ there’s nothing left for those who also contribute to that, as well as protect him. Not smart IMO, football is a team sport, or so I thought.

    I’m awaiting him flashing the Johnny Football money sign any time now.

  39. In short Wilson is not worth it. No collusion here folks This is like chasing a rabbit down a hole

    Steven Ross just did it for Suh and Tannehill. So no collusion here folks Allen did not become a billionaire by being stupid or being played.

  40. All this talk about him wanting to be the highest paid QB are BS. From what I read, he wants a 5 years, $110 M deal like A Rodgers. But the Shehawks only want to pay him 4 years, $80M. That’s less than Tannehill contract. If I were R Wilson, I would NOT accept a 4 year/$80M contract either. It’d be an INSULT. 5-yeats/$110M with $65M guaranteed would be more appropriate for his accomplishments. Instead of jerking him around, the STINGY, CLASSLESS SheHawks should release him so he can be paid accordingly by other teams.

  41. Cutting his own throat if he is in it to win championships and not just to get max dollars.
    I am not a hawks fan but have always liked Wilson.

    He is not an elite level QB that can carry a team like Rodgers and the rest. He wins because he is on great teams and he is so skilled that he rarely hurts them. If he soaks up all the money its going to really cut back on the amount of highly skilled players they can out around him and he is not a elite enough of a QB to make up for that difference.

  42. paul allen got his money the same way every other .001 percenter did ..and the same way every other nfl owner did…He INHERRITTED IT!!! stop acting like these guys are business magicians…

  43. All players play through rookie contracts… When done, every player, no matter the position, gets 5 million a year fully guaranteed. Nothing more nothing less. What happened to playing “for the love of the game?” Let the owners be greedy… F them – Now, can we just play football! geeze.. (I know, not reality) I’m just venting

  44. I agree with : 6thsense10. The chorus has gotten insane about RW being the “bad guy” and the reality is that he “did” exactly what he was expected to do with the CBA. The whole point in “changing” the old CBA was that rookies were coming into the league and getting paid a king’s ransom without having EVER played a single game. (BTW, JaMarcus Russell thanks the former CBA for allowing him to get paid prior to his historic “Bust !”) Therefore, if an incoming player wanted to make serious NFL money then he had to “EARN” it, “THEN” get paid !!! RW did just that, now quit crying and either pay the man or let some other team do it ! The funny thing is that as successful as Paul Allen is, i’m pretty sure he took into consideration all the risks/rewards of making an investment into an NFL team prior to buying the Seahawks. Another thing, you have to look at the “finished product” on the field. If your team “sucks” and can’t win games due to having a lousy QB on the field then who’s going to pay good money to watch you play? There are several teams in search of a skilled QB that have solid defenses and special teams that with that “one” new component could win substantially more games. So if Paul and the Seahawks don’t want to “escrow” the cash for a QB that has earned his payday then someone else will. RW is a “solid” investment to some other owner and time will only tell who steps to the plate. ridiculous………..

  45. And who knows. Maybe the 12th man will talk about him like he is Trent Dilfer if he leaves. It’s sort of refreshing seeing their fan base come back to earth and rehash what nearly everyone else has been saying for the past three years. Russell Wilson is a damn fine quarterback, but he is not and likely will never be the type of QB worth being paid as the highest paid player in the league.

  46. 6thsense10 says:
    Jun 27, 2015 12:28 PM
    “I love all the angst and hate when a player plays hardball like teams do…This is business and too many of you are making this personal”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I understand your point but the difference is when a player does it (when the demands are ridiculous) it’s selfish but when the teams do it it is usually because they want the ability to make the team competitive. It does the team and fans no good if they pay the QB a huge amount of money and then are forced to play backups in most other positions because the rest of the good players leave for better money. I think the team should be in the ballpark of market value but if any player wants to be “the highest paid player” in any form and makes that the foundation of their negotiating strategy then they are in no way a team player. In those cases it is better to find a suitable alternative and move on. Granted, that is much harder to do when it comes to a proven QB.

  47. Fully-guaranteed contracts are insane, and have nothing to do with “collusion” or having lots of money. 7-Up is a $1.38 at local Walmart…in the same aisle is a Lemon-Lime brand for 68-cents. 7-Up isn’t twice as good as Lemon-Lime and certainly not worth twice as much. This is a team sport, and Wilson isn’t worth more than Rodgers or even Newton. Get your two 1rsts for Wilson and let him go…sounds like he’d be better off playing baseball.

  48. It’s pretty obvious that any individual owner would want to invest that money to get interest or gains on it until it is due to the player.

  49. Why don’t the Shehawks release him if they don’t want to pay him what he’s worth? He fits perfectly in a Chip Kelly offense. He can also take teams with great D but without a QB like the Bills to the SB. I’m sure the Bills would take him in a heartbeat and pay what he wants.

  50. Looks like the 12th man will go into hiding soon, either they lose Wilson and have no QB or they grossly over pay him and can’t afford anyone else.

    ____________________________________

    Wrong, the 12s are going nowhere no matter what happens with Wilson. Go HAWKS

  51. @ sensualmeatball, not sure what Paul Allen you are talking about but the Paul Allen who owns the Hawks did not inherit his money. He is the co-founder of a little successful company that goes by the name Microsoft.

  52. Lol!

    It’s either you pay him or some other team will.

    Cleveland has been looking for a QB every other year,
    So are
    The Raiders, Jaguars, Bills, Texans and so on.

    Once Seattle starts to lose a few games, the fan would wish the owner would have signed him at any cost.

    Ask the Dolphins about Brees.

  53. His agent says he’s the best, so……and he wants a new house in the Hamptons.

    Allen is just making intelligent business decisions. I think even he, as a football fan, recognizes that Russell, an excellent qb, benefitted from having Marshawn Lynch and the best defense in the league.

    His agent doesn’t care too much but risking letting him play this year for $1.5 million is crazy. An injury could cost him $80 million.

  54. Well like you said Paul Allen is one of the richest men in the country. That said you don’t get rich by being stupid.

    This could be nothing more than Paul Allen looking at the situation from the reverse of your position and saying “well what agents are collectively doing is slow walking the guaranteed money one QB deal at a time closer and closer to fully gaunrented”.

    Once you get there with the QB deals your only one CBA away from all contracts going the same route.

    He may just feel like he can’t control what goes on with other teams, but he isn’t about to be part of a process that one day makes every NFL contract fully guaranteed.

    I mean from an owners perspective when you have a 50/50 chance even in the first round that a player is going to be a bust why not just go to Vegas with your money and pick red or black all day long at the Roulette table?

    Same odds, only difference is the owner today may get some of that bet back if he cuts the player before the end of a bad contract!

    In any event it’s all just speculation without any real proof. The irony being claiming someone is breaking the law without proof actually has more legal consequences (slander and liable) than screaming collusion.

  55. Russell Wilson is a great QB and a smart man, but there is such a thing as shooting yourself in the foot. I think Wilson’s needs a new agent.

  56. Wilson knew he was a first round quality player but because of the “talent scouts” who did a lazy job of doing the evaluations he was drafted in the 3rd round. Wilson was not surprised at his success in the NFL (He could have been in THREE consecutive Super Bowls if the LOB had not given up that field goal to the Falcons after Wilson brought them back to take the lead in that game in Atlanta.) Now Wilson wants to get paid for the millions his talents deserved when he was drafted as well as for his production at quarterback these last 3 years. He has beaten all of the “elite” quarterbacks people keep measuring him against Brady, Manning, Breese, Rodgers …. and his agent would be beside himself if Russell would all of a sudden act like some kind of a wus. It might be true that the Seahawks don’t need a “Russell Wilson” quarterback but it is very true that Russell Wilson does not NEED the Seahawks.

  57. Perhaps it is a rule that once in practice, has caused teams to tie up more of their liquid cash, which limits opportunities for other investments. Teams are effectively paying for performance in advance to some degree on any guarantee in every contract. There is going to be a limit to how much of that stuff any team can actually do. The irony is that a rule designed to protect players’ guarantees is going to limit the actual guarantees.

  58. paul allen got his money the same way every other .001 percenter did ..and the same way every other nfl owner did…He INHERRITTED IT!!! stop acting like these guys are business magicians…

    ________________

    Yikes! This is the level of knowledge around here. Take EVERYTHING you read here (and everywhere else on the internet) with a grain of salt.

    People say things like this as definitive fact when dead wrong. Then some other knucklehead believes it and repeats it.

    Paul Allen and bill Gates got their money together the same way. They founded MICROSOFT together…perhaps you have heard of bill gates?

    BTW Paul Allen owns many many companies through Vulcan enterprises. Forget escrow if I am trusting anyone with my money it is Paul allen. He wants to use that money to make more.

  59. Russell Wilson has won a grand total of 1 playoff game on the road, and he was trailing in that game until RGIII hurt his knee and had to leave the game. Is he the best qb in the league? If he gets what he is demanding, then the Sea Squawks would have to keep letting players leave as free agents and replace them with undrafted players. I heard that Bruce Irvin may be the next one to be let go, after they let Malcolm Smith and Byron Maxell go this offseason.

  60. Watch the video of the Superbowl and his idiotic,,conversation with Carroll after “the play”,,he has the mental acumen of a high school player. He is NOT an elite QB,,his scrambling and having a superb RB covers up his shortcomings. His chuck it and hope works every now and again, but his % and numbers stink.

  61. he should get every thin dime he can ….that is what the owners do at every opportunity . He must, to be understood & respected speak to them in their own language.
    He was drafted 2 rounds after tannehill and RGknee and has lost out on millions of $ that he can never recover through no fault of his own . That lost money was due to the ignorant CBA that was signed by his union mates prior to his arrival in the league. I generally disdain guys saying gimme gimme gimme more more more but he has earned it and if he doesn’t insist he will not get top $.
    Brady was system qb initially and he gets his $ , manning installed his own system with which to annually choke away postseason games nad he gets his $ , now it is the kids turn to get paid . I do hope the seahawks stand their ground on a mega guarantee for the good of the overall health of the game but I hope the kid rings the bell loud come payday.

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