Russell Wilson contract details begin to emerge

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“New money” has become one of the great fictions in the assessment of NFL contracts. But, you know, when in Rome.

For Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, the headline is that he signed a four-year, $87.6 million extension, with a new-money average of $21.9 million. The truth is that the last year of his current contract, at a base salary of $1.542 million, has been ripped up and replaced with a new five-year, $89.1 million deal.

But since the average of the total five-year deal is $17.8 million, it won’t be characterized that way when it comes to deciding whose is bigger.

For Wilson, the details of the five-year, $89.1 million deal have begun to emerge. With one important key metric still missing.

The signing bonus, per multiple reports, is $31 million. The total guarantee, per multiple reports, is $60 million. The amount fully guaranteed of the remaining $29 million in guarantees remains unknown.

It’s a key point because the Seahawks and Wilson’s agent had been squabbling about the portion of the contract that will be fully guaranteed at signing, since future fully-guaranteed payments must be placed into escrow now. (To raise the money, Gantt could have organized a bake sale for owner Paul Allen.)

The Dolphins fully guaranteed $60 million of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh’s contract. For Wilson, the question is whether and to what extent he has fully-guaranteed payments beyond the $31 million signing bonus.

The base salaries are, via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, $700,000 in 2015, $12.34 million in 2016, $12.6 million in 2017, $15.5 million in 2018, and $17 million in 2019.

This makes the cap numbers $6.9 million in 2015 (plus any remaining bonus proration from his rookie deal), $18.54 million in 2016, $18.8 million in 2017, $21.7 million in 2018, and $23.2 million in 2019.

As the salary cap continues to climb, Wilson won’t last long as the second highest-paid player in the NFL. From Eli Manning to Philip Rivers to Andrew Luck to other young quarterbacks who become stars, the bar soon will be pushed to $23 million, $25 million, and beyond.

By 2019, Wilson’s salary of $17 million will be middle-of-the-pack at best. Before then, if he keeps playing like he has, Wilson likely will have another new deal.

60 responses to “Russell Wilson contract details begin to emerge

  1. Fully guaranteed money is still a question, but otherwise this pretty much seems like the deal we thought he would get 6 months ago.

  2. Seahawks got him signed at a VERY good price.
    Absolutely owned Wilson’s agent.

  3. Guess Russ pull his head from his 4-points of contact and took what was given. Also, that is very team friendly so seahawks should be able to keep more of there stars happy.

  4. They needed a low cap hit in 2015 because they are all chips in for 1 more SB.

    They better make it because with a $18MM cap hit in 2016, they not signing Wagner and other FA’s, much less appeasing the upset players under contract.

    It’s all or nothing in 2015 for Seattle. Then they gone.

  5. I’m just glad it’s over… we’re on to football… or Cincinnati… whatever, it’s over and football is here!!!

  6. Sure, Philip Rivers gets 4,000 yards consistently but does he take his team to the playoffs every year? No. But Rivers will eventually make more money per year than Russell Wilson. There you go haters. Wilson’s contract ain’t that big a deal.

  7. Seahawks got him signed at a VERY good price.
    Absolutely owned Wilson’s agent.
    _________________________

    Repost this in 3 years or less when some of the defensive players are cut to Pay this off. The only reason that the hawks could do what they did is to not have a 20 million dollar qb.

  8. “The truth is that the last year of his current contract, at a base salary of $1.542 million, has been ripped up and replaced with a new five-year, $89.1 million deal.”

    No, that’s not the truth. He signed an extension. If he had played out this year and entered into FA and received a 4 year 87.6 million contract it’d be $21.9 million per 4 years. That’s how you need to look at it. He gets $31 million guaranteed just for signing this extension. You clearly don’t know what you think you know about contracts and interjecting your opinion makes you sound dumb. just stop

  9. If you hate the Seahawks and Wilson nothings gonna change your mind. It’s not like I’m gonna like the niners or Kaperchoke. But as a hawks fan I’m really happy with this contract. It’s not as bad as a thought it was gonna be. Great day for hawks fans and as I’ve always thought, they’ll be just fine moving forward and it would be a disappointment barring injury for them to not contend every year of this contract.

  10. The death knell for the Seahawks. Wilson’s credentials are owed to the defense and to Marshawn Lynch. As defensive stars, and Lynch, depart over the next two summers, the Seahawks will be saddled with a slightly above average QB with below average players elsewhere. He’s not Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers, for sure. They simply can’t sustain success with this long-term cap hit.

  11. Look for him to sign a new deal come 2018, for a lot less money. As his cap number goes up and other positions suffer he will be exposed as the average QB that he is. Don’t forget that he is supplied with a very good run game and an even better defense.

  12. I still think trading away Max Unger was a mistake. As good as Graham is, offensive lineman are more important…you know, to protect that guy you just gave $60 million guaranteed.

  13. So it turns out that Wilson is not as greedy as the media made him out to be.

  14. They needed a low cap hit in 2015 because they are all chips in for 1 more SB.

    They better make it because with a $18MM cap hit in 2016, they not signing Wagner and other FA’s, much less appeasing the upset players under contract.

    It’s all or nothing in 2015 for Seattle. Then they gone.
    ——————————————–

    The interweb is pretty cool… did you know you can google team cap space?

    In the 20 seconds it takes to look this up, you’ll find that Seattle has just under $20milllion in space projected for 2016… after RW’s new contract.

    Tell me again how they’re not signing Wagner or other players?

  15. ronfai says: It’s all or nothing in 2015 for Seattle. Then they gone.
    ———–
    Cap casualties happen for every team. The Seahawks will be fine
    ———-
    And cap casualties have and never will let a run-first, defensive team be “fine”

  16. The cap hit is very minor considering the cap number rises substantually every year, most of the defense is already locked up except wagner and the tag is available for him next year if needed, Irvin most likely will not be back next year, regardless and this was already known before this signing, the way this contract breaks down it’s very fair for both sides . Some people out here have so much hate for the hawks, and so much lack of knowledge about the team and whats going on.. They just wanna hate and be negative, about everything

  17. Iknowitall: What an epic misnomer.

    Yesterday, Mike Florio reported that most of the giant red money in the Seattle offer was for injury only. Today, RW gets a check for $30M and a record-setting guarantee. Every player wants his agent to get owned like that.

  18. New money is not a fiction, its a very real understanding that players, in their never ending quest to be more highly paid than the last guy, end up foregoing large amounts of money.

    It’s really very simple, if a player like Russell Wilson (who was making peantus compared to his value on the open market) had played out the end of his rookie deal, and signed a new deal next offseason for 5 years and 100 mil, his “new money” would be 20 mil a year. But if you include the last year of his rookie contract, what he really got paid was 100,700,000 over 6 years, which averages out to roughly 16.8 mil per year. By signing his new deal, he gets 86,300,000 for 5 years, which is an average of 17.26 mil, and he gets to hit free agency a year younger (a big deal for a qb who was relatively old when he was a rookie), AND he avoids the risk of an injury this season preventing him from getting that new contract next offseason.

    When you consider the fact that most players never even manage to play out the full value of their contracts, that contracts in the NFL are never fully guaranteed, and that the signing bonuses often make up 35-50% of the total value of the K, it’s shocking that players care about anything besides the new money. The new money represents the real increase in salary, per year, that the player will end up actually making.

  19. Seahawks got him signed at a VERY good price.
    Absolutely owned Wilson’s agent.
    _________________________

    Repost this in 3 years or less when some of the defensive players are cut to Pay this off. The only reason that the hawks could do what they did is to not have a 20 million dollar qb.
    _________________________

    I take it that you don’t think much of the QB with the highest Approximate Value according to pro-football-reference.com over the last three years. You don’t think much of a QB with the highest passer rating in the history of the game through 3 years and the second highest ANY/A through 3 years. I take it you don’t think much of the QB with career passer rating second only to Aaron Rodgers even though said QB has mostly UDFA receivers and plays against NFC West defenses 6 times/yr. I take it you don’t think much of the QB who has made a mediocre RB who averaged 3.99 YPC (36th among RBs) over his first 5 years in the league into a potential HOF candidate by posting a 4.64 YPC average (4th best over the past 3 years) because defenses have to slow their pursuit or get torched by the QB.

    Pity the fool.

  20. I need to fix my math from the earlier post because i was using 700,000 for RW’s last remaining year on his rookie deal, instead of 1.5 mil, but you come to same result. Wilson will see more money per year and have a chance to get a new contract sooner, by signing now, than if he had waited until next season (unless of course his hypothetical new contract next off-season really did pay him like 25 mil a year, but that was never realistically going to happen).

  21. taintedsaints2009 says:
    Jul 31, 2015 6:27 PM
    …I still think trading away Max Unger was a mistake…

    ——

    In his prime, they would have given up a ton. Unfortunately he’s closer to replacement level than prime at this point. He’s fantastic in his reads and leadership but his body has taken its toll.

  22. Florio, I know you are trying to spin this negative towards the Seahawks, but you as a lawyer who reports on the NFL should know about rookie contracts. You cannot rip up rookie deals as per the last collective bargaining deal, they all have to be extensions. So yes, it is new money and his salary will be as such. Now if this is a guys second contract, yes they can rip those up. See what Brady does to help keep decent players around him.

  23. I think he’s a good quarterback but $21.9 million a year?!?!?

    I believe Rodgers is getting $22 million a year. He should hold out and ask for $25 million.

  24. I find him fake as hell but its hard to argue with what he has done the last two years. Even without great numbers if you watch his games he saves plays in spite of the fact there line has sucked for years

  25. ronfai says:It’s all or nothing in 2015 for Seattle. Then they gone.
    ———–
    Cap casualties happen for every team. The Seahawks will be fine
    ———-
    And cap casualties have and never will let a run-first, defensive team be “fine”
    ——-
    In what world do you live? Red Bryant and Chris Clemons were cap casualties. The Seahawks defensive line is still pretty good without them. The Seahawks have had plenty of cap casualties over the years and the Seahawks are certainly “fine” right now. If the Seahawks lose Bruce Irvin and Michael Bennett, the team will be fine. If the Seahawks lose Russell Okung, the team will fine. Heck, even if Beast Mode retires the Seahawks will find a way to get yards out of Robert Turbin and/or Christine Michael. All those things put Seattle in a better place financially. So, yeah, cap casualties happen, and if/when they do, the Seahawks will be fine.

  26. I was hoping Wilson would get more money, but it looks like his guaranteed cash is going to get in the way of retaining and signing talent. Nothing against the Seahawks, but I hope they tanks so their fans can shut up. Either way, Wilson got way more than he is worth.

  27. I love how hawk fans use the word choke to describe other team’s qbs… the comebacks literally write themselves.

    Jim Zorn could have come out of retirement and been the qb in the Hawks superbowl win. Wilson is good at what he does… let’s leave it at that.

  28. ronfai says:

    They needed a low cap hit in 2015 because they are all chips in for 1 more SB.

    They better make it because with a $18MM cap hit in 2016, they not signing Wagner and other FA’s, much less appeasing the upset players under contract.

    It’s all or nothing in 2015 for Seattle. Then they gone.
    ———————————————————-
    Absolute nonsense. You know nothing about the salary cap. All core players are now signed for the next 3 years. Plenty of room to sign Wagner in the next few weeks. They won’t have to cut a single player they aren’t already planning to replace anyway.

    The Seahawks will be Super Bowl contenders for years to come.

  29. tjohn25 says:

    That offensive line will be a 5-man turnstile by 2016.
    ———————————————————
    Get back to me in 2016 when they blast your guys 7 yards into the backfield like they do every year.

  30. I’m sure the Seahawks will get right on paying Chancellor, Bennet, and all those other players that this team friendly deal helps them keep. Right, parrots?

  31. All these fans that don’t watch football commenting on contracts clearly look foolish.

    Anybody in the know can see Russell Wilson and his back to back Super Bowl appearances isn’t solely on the defense. Matter of fact his rookie year- Wilson had the Falcon beat to go to the NFC Championship game and the defense let Hawks down with less than 30 seconds on the clock.

    This contract is a win-win for Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. As a fan I am excited about the next 4 years because the foundation of this team is locked up all except Bobby Wagner. So much young talent behind it waiting to emerge. Go Hawks!

  32. To the Saints fan, Max Unger hasn’t played a full season in 2 years plus. He was an All Pro when he was healthy and is one of the smartest offensive lineman in football.

    Due to age or health decline, he has had erratic snaps at the worst moments. Against stronger guys he wasn’t getting the leverage he once got regularly and worst of all he has missed 10 games last year and the year before he played hurt for 8 games missing about 4.

  33. So, the haters constant drumbeat about how RW was “greedy” and refused to take a “home town discount” were wrong as usual. By NFL standards of multiple SB QB’s Seattle got RW “cheap” – Again.

    Good for you Russ, you deserved to finally get paid! I was saddened to think of you beginning the season being the least paid of all 4 year QB’s.

    Now, lets create a passing game to go with our running game and 3 straight years number 1 NFL Defense.

    Go Hawks!!!

  34. Several of you have commented how any QB could have won that Superbowl for the Seahawks. That’s total nonsense but even if it were semi true, do you have any idea what it took to get to that game? Sure the defense was awesome especially in the NFC Championsip game and the Super Bowl, but there were games that year when Russell Wilson just took over and won games single handedly. Without Russell they probably wouldn’t have even been in those 2 big games. Might have not made the playoffs.

  35. Wilson tilts the field. Nothing breaks the back of a defense faster than a QB that escapes the pocket for a big gain in a critical situation. Wilson does this all the time. He is money and deserves every penny.

  36. Again, as I said earlier, the idiocy of football MORONS on PFT’s comment boards, trying to pretend they are intelligent is HILARIOUS. I especially love comments which say that Wilson is a “game manager” and another “Trent Dilfer.” All those comments prove is, that commenter hasn’t watched much Seahawk football.

  37. He’s Diller with some wheels. Just ask Mike Vick what happens to those wheels when you are older than 25 and the effect of all those hits take there toll. Vick had a better arm too. Runners don’t past in this league, period!

  38. So what happens when he hurts a hammy and has to stay in the pocket? Backyard football cannot last forever… another 2 to 3 years… sure I think so, but over 5 to 8 years, highly unlikely.

  39. “Guaranteed money” is clear as mud to me now.

    From what I understand, $31 million is guaranteed to be paid, and the other 29 mil is simply guaranteed.

    To be what?

  40. Wow, Russell Wilson wins a SuperBowl only because of an outstanding defense and great running back, he is nothing more than a game manager. I’ll take Aaron Rodgers every single time over Wilson.

  41. And without Lynch same can be said, and without defense same can be said.The Seahakws can win a game or two without Wilson at Q.B., But can they win without that stellar Defense, no.

  42. Don’t need to wait til 2019.. As of 2016, Russell Wilson’s 5yr Aug will already be 10th in cap hit.

    Still there’s a part of me that wishes he played the year out at 1.5 and John Schneider picked up the two extra 1st round picks.

    I guess deals all seem win- win when you crush the draft continually.

  43. I see seahawkboymike still knows nothing about the salary cap. Posting such nonsense would embarrass some people, but not mike. I still laugh when he told me they could pay Wilson 25 mill, sign Suh for 30 mill, bring in Peterson for 15 mill, all while extending everyone else to big money deals. Hilarious. Hey, Mike. You do realize the Seahawks cap number just went down for the duration of Wilson’s contract, right? Whatever Wilson gets paid every year comes off of what they are allowed to pay for salary. Get that? LOL Probably not.

  44. Good deal for both sides. In a couple years they’ll probably restructure so they can keep some of their players and he may even see a raise out of it with the growing cap. Now they have a happy QB and no distractions looming this season, they’re in a good place.

  45. Russell has very young legs and has managed to stay healthy his first three years. He is an outstanding QB, as long as his legs keep doing what they’re doing. Russell is extremely elusive and really has a knack for hitting the ground when he needs to. Seattle’s great defense rarely puts Wilson in a position where he is forced to become a sitting duck. Michael Vick and RG3 were both outstanding QBs who also relied on their legs. They lead their teams to a lot of victories, but as we’ve seen, running QBs don’t last long. But like they say, There is always a first time for everything. I hope, for Seattle’s sake, that Russell will be the first running QB to stay healthy.

  46. seahawkboymike says:

    tjohn25 says:

    That offensive line will be a 5-man turnstile by 2016.
    ———————————————————
    Get back to me in 2016 when they blast your guys 7 yards into the backfield like they do every year.
    ———————————————————-

    7 yards into the backfield is exactly where the Online will be.
    _

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