On Friday, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson told Jimmy Fallon that there’s “a great potential” for Wilson to eventually become the highest-paid player in NFL history. So when precisely would that Wilson eclipse Aaron Rodgers‘ $33.5 million per year?
Here’s what Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told PFT Live at the Scouting Combine on the question of when contract talks will commence with Wilson, whose current deal expires at the end of the 2019 season: “That effort’s ongoing, now, you know? We have a tremendous relationship with Russ and he’s been an incredible part of our club and like I said, the community, all aspects of the league, all aspects of sports around the country, he’s an extraordinary factor. And we like to celebrate the years that he’s had with us with continuing more years and putting it all together. So that’s ongoing.”
So if it’s ongoing, when does it end? Last year, we explained that Wilson’s mindset at the time was to resist long-term offers and to let things play out on a year-by-year basis. If he were to pursue the Kirk Cousins model, Wilson could force application of the franchise tag for a couple of years before forcing his way to the open market, in turn forcing the Seahawks to compete with others for his services moving forward.
With a cap number of $25.286 million for 2019, Wilson’s franchise tag in 2020 would bump to $30.34 million. In 2021, the franchise tag for Wilson would become $36.41 million. Come 2022, the rule guaranteeing a 44-percent increase would push the cap number all the way to $52.43 million.
Would the Seahawks pay him $52.43 million for another season, or would they let him hit the market? (The other option would be the transition tag, at $43.69 million for 2022, but that would guarantee only a right to match.)
The bigger question is whether the Seahawks would put enough on the table to get Wilson to forgo the Cousins approach, and ultimately whether the guy who has a habit of ending every press conference and interview by saying “go ‘Hawks” would tell the ‘Hawks goodbye.