Russell Wilson’s full guarantee at signing? $31.7 million

In the aftermath of the news that the Seahawks had signed quarterback Russell Wilson to a new deal, many said, “I knew it. The Seahawks won’t never let Wilson get away.” This implies that the Seahawks blinked, making Wilson the highest-paid player in the NFL and/or paying him as if he were already a free agent and/or fully guaranteeing an enormous percentage of the contract.

The Seahawks didn’t blink.

Apart from the fact that the Seahawks will pay Wilson considerably less now than they would have paid Wilson if he had gotten to February healthy and effective (and possibly with another Super Bowl appearance or win), the Seahawks won convincingly on the much-discussed topic of guaranteed money.

Like many big-dollar contracts without big amounts of fully-guaranteed money, initial reports mentioned Wilson’s guaranteed payout of $60 million without specifying how much of it is fully guaranteed at signing, beyond the signing bonus and the first-year base salary. In this case, that’s because none of the amount is fully-guaranteed beyond the signing bonus and the first-year base salary.

Per a source with knowledge of the terms, the $31 million signing bonus and the $700,000 base salary for 2014 are fully guaranteed. The rest of the guaranteed money is guaranteed for injury only.

Which makes it not really “guaranteed.”

On the fifth day of the 2016 waiver period, Wilson’s $12.342 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed. On the fifth day of the 2017 waiver period, Wilson’s $12.6 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed. On the fifth day of the 2018 waiver period, $4.9 million of Wilson’s base salary of $15.5 million becomes fully-guaranteed.

It means that $31.7 million is fully guaranteed at signing, and that another $29.842 million is guaranteed only for injury at signing. It also means that Seahawks owner Paul Allen won’t have to place any portion of the future injury-guaranteed money into escrow.

For Wilson, he swapped a $1.542 million base salary for 2015 and the possibility of getting a lot more later for a fairly large bird in the hand now. Whether it’s viewed as $21.9 million per year in new money or $17.8 million per year in total value, it’s a lot more than Wilson has made in three NFL seasons. And it was the smart and prudent choice to make.

Besides, if he’d decided to finish the rookie contract and push for more in 2016, at some point he would have risked alienating fans who may have perceived him as selfish. Even though players should grab every last dollar they can while they can, it remains a team sport. And if a player is going to work hard (i.e., “Go ‘Hawks!”) to create the impression that he puts the team above himself, it becomes awkward if it appears that he’s putting himself above the team.

As to the guaranteed money, the reality is that franchise quarterbacks typically cash every check of their contracts, regardless of whether the money is fully guaranteed. Barring developments unforeseen and unlikely, Wilson will be with the Seahawks through 2019 — and probably beyond.

59 responses to “Russell Wilson’s full guarantee at signing? $31.7 million

  1. He was certainly paid less by not waiting. Whether to sign the contract next year or get franchised a time or two prior to signing his first big contract, but now he has $31M today.

    If he’s smart, which he seems to be, he can put that money to work… maybe he should call Spencer Strasmore.

  2. I realize these guys are paid fair market value for their services as established by the NFL and there is nothing wrong with getting all you are worth but really, how much money does one need to be happy?

  3. Smart of Wilson to not squeeze them for every penny. It’s going to be hard paying those other guys enough to keep them in Seattle but at least this gives Schneider a fighting chance. Not to mention its only a four year deal and he’s young so he has a very good chance of getting one more deal and by then I fully expect the top QBs to be getting $40 or $50 mil a year at the rate things are going.

  4. Well looks like the Seahawks WILL be able to resign a lot of players.

    Good for you Russ getting paid but leaving enough on the table to keep a competitive team around you.

    Would not have blamed you if you bled the Seahawks for every penny you’re worth.

  5. Good deal for both sides. There’s no way Wilson deserved to be the highest paid QB in the league, but he gets his long term security, and unless he completely falls apart, there’s no chance the Hawks cut him before the start of next year. Good player, good deal. Finding a competent QB is hard and Wilson seems to be just that: a competent QB.

  6. babygaga19 says://////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Ask the owners that question

  7. So after months of comments blasting RW as selfish folks were wrong – Again?

    Time to buy a house Russ….you’re going to be here awhile.

  8. Like I said yesterday, this deal is good for the Seahawks while Wilson makes out. A win win!

    Go Hawks!

    See ya at Superbowl 2016!

  9. The thing I find the funniest about this is it’s almost the exact same deal I heard being discussed months ago. It works well for all parties.

    The Seahawks get Wilson’s services until the end of the 2019 season. While they paid a lot, by the end of the contract, with increases in cap space, it will probably be mid-pack as far as QBs go.

    Wilson is currently the second-highest paid QB in the NFL (which will not last), and will be able to negotiate a new deal at the age of 31. If he builds on the career path he’s started, he’ll get another huge payday.

    Plus, it’s being reported that Nike and UnderArmour are bidding competitively for an exclusive advertising relationship.

    Bottom line: It’s good to be Russell Wilson. And the Seattle Seahawks.

  10. Why should he care if fans think he’s greedy? These guys can have short careers if they get injured. He should get as much money as he can.

    Owners don’t care what fans think when they raise prices and seek handouts for new stadiums. They’ll take it if they can get it.

  11. Can somebody please paint me scenario where Seattle cuts Wilson before the 5th day of the 2016 league year?

    I guess if he was arrested for murder or rape, but short of that, his 2016 salary is guaranteed as well as his 2017 salary.

  12. Paul Allen had that money wired and didn’t even blink. His money makes him money daily

  13. Wilson is making just a bit less than $18M per year for the next five years. That is not even close to being the 2nd highest paid QB.

    His new money may be the 2nd highest, but who cares, you still need to count the current year to get the true average over the life of the contract.

  14. Unreal. What kind of crazy makes a QB who isn’t even a Top 10 one the highest paid player in the league?

    Now that the Hawks can’t pay to keep all the players that carried Wilson, he will be exposed for what he is. About the 12th ranked QB in the NFL at best.

  15. The need for someone to have loss and for someone to have won, is a very juvenile view of the settlement. As in every successful negotiation, each team comes away feeling like they compromised and that they can live with what they didn’t get and are somewhat satisfied with what they did get.

    It’s not necessary for us to paint either party as having blinked. But I guess if it’s important to feel like you’re invested in this contract because you resent Russell Wilson getting treated like every other QB in the NFL, so be it.

    Both parties seem to view this as a win-win. No need to spin.

  16. A third round pick gets $31 mill guaranteed!!?? And people are questioning who made out great!!?? RW won hands down. Look at his draft position and his career numbers. Name me another player (maybe Brady), but Brady got paid after he put up great numbers, that has come up this sweet? He just got a $15+million raise.

  17. Both parties seem to view this as a win-win. No need to spin.

    Not if you’re the Seahawks. The big reason for the success was the team built AROUND Wilson to carry him. Now that he takes up the most salary cap space on the team, he will have to carry the team which he’s not capable of doing.

    Let’s be real here….this isn’t Rodgers, Brady or even Rivers for that matter.

  18. Thank you for pointing out the difference between fully-guaranteed and injury-guaranteed. Many news sources simply say “guaranteed,” which is misleading and even disingenuous.

  19. Even today, Russell Wilson is being penalized for being 3 inches shorter than the “experts” think a pro football franchise QB should be. On the surface, he got less than what Cam Newton got and very similar money to what Miami gave Ryan Tanneyhill. I didn’t hear anyone complain about Cam being a greedy guy whose salary would destroy his team.

    Do you think Miami would trade Tanneyhill for Wilson? I think they would send a private plane in about 2 minutes for that deal. The Seahawks got off easy and Russell’s agent, for all the hype about him coming over from baseball wanting to change how deals are done, folded like a cheap t-shirt.

  20. my neighbor’s sister makes $83 /hour on the computer . She has been without a job for five months but last month her payment was $13937 just working on the computer for a few hours.

  21. This is the start of the downfall of the Seahawks. They pay a QB who barely averages more than 200 yards/game a ridiculous sum of money and end up losing their star players on defense. The Seahawks are know for the running game and their defense, yet they pour this much money into their average QB.

  22. I really do not get it. We can’t be watching the same guy. Russell Wilson is not that good. Just look at the Super Bowl what did he have 2 completed passes in the first half. The only thing that kept the Hawks in the game was the defense. After they would get the ball back Wilson proceeded to give it right back to the Patriots. He stunk up the field and then the info mas pass at the end was TERRIBLE well the hole play was poorly executed but the pass went right to the defender.
    he should be a team player and have taken a fair salary. The players are going to respect him even less now than they already did.
    This team will win MAYBE 50% of their games this year. thanks Wilson!

  23. Still people in here spouting the same spew as yesterday like they are incapable of reading. It is a much better deal for the Hawks than previously reported.

    The defense is already locked up longterm…

    Anytime you haters want to come up with some new, clever material it would be greatly appreciated. Same old same old is getting so…..old.

    When you do come up with something new and good expect everyone else to say it for the next few years so don’t think you own it or anything. Most people need other people’s material.

  24. He couldn’t get a $100 million contract. What a rip off. Darelle Revis got a $70 million contract with $37 million guaranteed, and he’s only a cornerback. Wilson should have held out for more.

  25. So useless to compare RW3 to other quarterbacks or to compare stats. What more proof is needed that the Seahawks have found their guy? What you dolts clearly don’t understand is that the sports culture in Seattle is very different than other cities. It is all about a family experience, and due to that, RW’s value is substantially higher to the Seahawks. Seattle sports fans also love outliers, ie big mouths with big games like Sherm and Gary Payton before him, Ichiro with his wacky yet efficient hitting style, Jay Buhner, Big Unit, Big Smooth Sam Perkins…and now, the diminutive qb who mixes scrambling with a pretty good deep ball to simply win games. Of course he doesnt win them all, nobody does, but he has been the winningest qb since he joined the NFL. So keep enjoying stats and “classic” qbs, hawks fans will have to make do with enjoying deep playoff runs for a decade, woe are they

  26. It was a compromise on both sides.

    On the FO side:
    The 4 year extension means RW can get to the next contract ahead of the other QBs and the large Signing Bonus takes a noticeable chunk out of the Salary Cap for the next few years as a result.

    On RW’s side:
    Rumor has it Rodgers started out wanting $30 million/year and only came down to wanting $25 million/year a few days ago. The Seahawks held the line and managed to bring it in under $22 million/year (which I predicted would be a savings).

    In 2 years, this will look like a bargain, which it most likely will be. A year after that, they’ll begin talks again.

  27. This is the kind of deal that gets ironed out when both sides know that the guy isn’t worth that kind of money.

  28. Yeah.

    The Seahawks did blink.

    They don’t give anyone that much money upfront. Most of the time folk play for their salaries of the last year of their contracts, get small signing bonuses and the rest of the money doesn’t show up ’til 3rd day of league year.

    Hawks are paying Wilson 43 million dollars by Feb. Unless you tell me they are going to cut him before the draft happens?

    Same with the 2017 salary – are they going to cut him before the draft? He’d have to pull an Aaron Hernandez or Jay Cutler for that to happen.

    It’s like Newton’s contract. Everyone saying only 31 mill guaranteed – but come Jan. 2016 that 10 million option is was just deferred compensation (the way the contract is worded).

    Owners don’t want to put all that money in Escrow. Folk don’t want to deal with a Cutler situation – so the compromise between the parties is to give a significant signing or roster bonus and then front load the contracts where their clients see their money with in the first 2-3 years (Newton Making 54 million in the first two years – Wilson 55 million in first 2 years).

    The money is guaranteed in all but name only.

  29. And it’s an extension. Counting the last year of his previous contract as part of the AAV is fuzzy math.

    It’s a 4 year extension. You can’t add in the final year of a previous contract and then say – oh it’s only 17 million a year – no it’s a four year 88 million dollar contract.

    Come on folk. Simple math here.

  30. This is the kind of deal that gets ironed out when both sides know that the guy isn’t worth that kind of money.



    His contract is 87 mil. He’s gonna see close to 50% of that by February. And it’s only 4 years.

    If that’s what folk are paying guys who aren’t “worth that kind of money” well that are a slew of mediocre QBS ready to cash in.

  31. Reality is the Seahawks will now be paying tens of millions for a guy they’ve been fortunate to have for hundreds of thousands. They then are paying top money to a TE. They lost critical Olinemen. They have a great RB naturally teaching the end of what a human body can take given age and carries. And they have a string of defensive players who all want to be paid for the past.

    As Wagner tweeted the other day…you can’t pay them all.

    It was a good run that may continue this year, but that’s it. They’ll be in rebuild mode with a huge TE and QB contract, with a QB that is 32nd, 31st and then 32nd again in pass attempts, who bases his game around a strong OLine, a good running game, scrambling ability (which fades with age and hits) and a defense that scored and gave good field position.

  32. Congrats to RW, his agent and the Seahawks. This is how you define “class act” by all involved. Everyone was treated with dignity, trust and respect. Neither side tried to push the other off a cliff.

    It is this kind of situation that makes players want to come to Seattle. Because they know going in they are going to be treated with respect, by a first class organization, with first class facilities, where every single employee is expected and allowed to be as good as they can be.

  33. “That is 32nd, 31st and then 32nd again in pass attempt”

    Um since when is that a metric used to determine how good or bad a QB is?

    He doesn’t pass the ball much ’cause they are a run first team. Volume stats don’t mean anything.

    Stafford passes the ball all the damn time. How’s that working for the lions?

  34. considering he isn’t a good enough QB to win 6 games with an average team, he’s getting plenty. He knew better than to go to another team and test it out. The guy tossed FIVE ints and his team beat the packers and then he throws a game ending int and his team loses to the Pats? and we are supposed to be impressed? THE NFL IS DOOMED.

  35. Instead of continually comparing Russell to Rodgers, Brady, Brees, etc. why not compare him to a HOF QB who’s game stylistically is a better match, Steve Young. Here’s Young’s only 3 complete seasons in the NFL, his 8th, 9th, and 10th:
    8) passing 402 att 3465 yds 25 td 7 int rushing 76 att 537 yds 4 td
    9) passing 462 att 4023 yds 29 td 16 int rushing 69 att 407 yds 2 td
    10) passing 461 att 3969 yds 35 td 10 int rushing 58 att 293 yds 7 td
    Russell Wilson’s first 3 seasons:
    1) passing 393 att 3118 yds 26 td 10 int rushing 94 att 489 yds 4 td
    2) passing 407 att 3357 yds 26 td 9 int rushing 96 att 539 yds 1 td
    3) passing 452 att 3475 yds 20 td 7 int rushing 118 att 849 yds 6 td
    Total yards from scrimmage:
    SY: 12694
    RW: 11827
    Total TD:
    SY: 102
    RW: 83
    Total INT:
    SY: 33
    RW: 26
    These numbers are pretty similar between a HOF QB in his only 3 complete seasons and a 3rd round QB in the first 3 seasons of his career. Lets not forget who Steve Young had to catch his passes as opposed to the UDFAs Russ has had to catch his. Russell Wilson is still improving and worth every penny of this deal.

  36. Rex ryan had some great defenses with the jets but couldnt reach the super bowl. Why, because he didnt have a qb. Saying wilson is only successful because of a great d and running game is idiotic. This is a team game but u need a qb to win. Im extremely happy to have wilson as my qb for years to come. Management will find a way to keep this team together. Its easy to pay players, Its hard to find players. Pete and john have found alot of good players, im not worried.

  37. unkleruckus says:
    Aug 1, 2015 1:12 PM

    A third round pick gets $31 mill guaranteed!!?? And people are questioning who made out great!!?? RW won hands down. Look at his draft position and his career numbers. Name me another player (maybe Brady), but Brady got paid after he put up great numbers, that has come up this sweet? He just got a $15+million raise.

    In their first three years Wilson >>> Tammy Brady.

    Stats don’t lie.

    But dumb people continue being dumb.

    RW is the best QB IN NFL HISTORY through first three years.

  38. RW is the best QB IN NFL HISTORY through first three years.

    Weird. I just looked up Rodgers first 3 years as a starter and Wilson isn’t even close to him.

  39. No QBs in his first three years were as good as Wilson (re: Wins) including Rodgers, Brady, Manning brothers, Brees, Montana, Elway, Young, Marino … He should have been the highest paid QB if he had had an experienced football agent working for him.

  40. Good signing, and he wasn’t really looking to play anywhere else anyway. The guy deserves it and there’s very few proven winners in the league like him. He doesn’t shrink when the moment gets big–yes, I’m one of the people that doesn’t think he blew it on the last play of the Super Bowl–that one play won’t end up being the definition of his career.

    This team is poised for a nice run at it for the next few years at least.

  41. I love how you talk about how much money is guaranteed.

    Wilson will get every penny of the deal. Every penny. The Seahawks won’t cut him and Wilson won’t suck so he’ll see the end of this contract and then some.

    In fact, before this deal is up he’ll be paid again even more money.

    Count on it just like Wilson is.

  42. When you have a great QB with no defense and running game, people say the team didn’t put good people around him. When you have a great QB with a great defense and great running game, people say he only won because of running game and defense. Geesh, make up your mind, you can’t have it both ways. RW is a great young QB that has out shined the other big named QBs that came to the league around the same time he did. Newton, Tannehill and Luck, have not even sniffed a Super Bowl, let alone been to two and won one. When those three can get there, then come and talk to me. Until then, you can watch the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, just like your team does.

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