Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson created some news on Friday when asked by Jimmy Fallon whether Wilson anticipates getting the “biggest contract ever.” Here’s the far bigger question: Did that topic come up coincidentally, or deliberately?
With Seahawks coach Pete Carroll telling PFT Live two weeks earlier that talks between the team and Wilson, whose contract expires after 2019, on a long-term deal are “ongoing,” Wilson quite possibly was making it known that the time is now to get it done, and that the goal is a dollar more than the $33.5 million per year paid to quarterback Aaron Rodgers by the Packers.
Last May, PFT reported that Wilson intended at the time to resist signing a long-term deal and playing on a year-to-year basis under the franchise tag. While he’d be carrying the risk of injury, the rules make playing quarterback safer than ever (subject to the ever-present possibility of a fluke injury like the badly broken leg suffered by Alex Smith last season), which makes it far easier to refuse the security of a long-term deal and to activate a process that would result in $30.34 million in 2020 for Wilson, $36.41 million for 2021, and (if the Seahawks tag him a third time) $52.43 million for 2022.
Including the $17 million Russell is due to earn this year, that’s $136.41 million over four years, which equates to $34 million per year over the next four. So why not just offer him $34 million per year over the next four or five years right now?
Whatever it would take to sign Wilson now, it’s only going to get more expensive as he more time goes by. And Fallon’s question, coupled with Wilson’s answer, could be a clear and unmistakable sign to the team that the time has come to make him the highest-paid player in football history.