With all the talk about Aaron Rodgers‘ looming mega-deal, there’s another quarterback who, like Rodgers, has two years left on his current contract. Unlike Rodgers, there’s no momentum toward adjusting the other quarterback’s deal.
The other quarterback is Russell Wilson, and his contract situation eventually could get messy.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the current expectation from Wilson’s perspective is that he’ll finish his current deal and receive the franchise tag in 2020. Based on his 2019 cap number of $25.286 million, it will cost the Seahawks $30.34 million to keep him for another season after the expiration of his current deal.
The next question becomes whether Wilson will go year to year at that point, like Kirk Cousins did in Washington. Under that scenario, Wilson would make $36.41 million (a 20-percent raise) in 2021. Come 2022, the Seahawks would have to decide whether to tag him again, at a 44-percent raise, or let him enter free agency.
The tag in 2022 would equate to $52.43 million for one year.
It’s unclear whether Wilson would opt for one-year deals once his contract expires. He’s currently 29, with a 30th birthday looming in November. But 30 is spry when it comes to quarterbacks, and Wilson told PFT Live during the season that he hopes to play until he’s 45. (He also said he hopes to stay with one team for his entire career.)
The last time around, Wilson did a four-year extension after three NFL seasons, at a new-money average of $21.9 million. With Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan now at $30 million per year (presumably in new money) and with Rodgers surely hoping to push the bar higher (presumably in new money), what will Wilson want?
Perhaps more importantly, what does he deserve?
Regardless of what he wants or what he deserves, the franchise-tag dance puts him at $119.18 million over three years — an average of nearly $40 million per year. If the Seahawks don’t tag him for a third time, Wilson would hit the open market (a la Cousins) in 2022, at the age of 33.
As long as Wilson stays healthy and effective, a willingness to wait gives him more leverage than any quarterback will have ever had. Which means that he’ll either get a record-setting deal at some point to stay in Seattle. Or he’ll get that record-setting deal as an unrestricted free agent.