Inside the Russell Wilson deal


On Thursday morning, word emerged of a new contract between the Broncos and quarterback Russell Wilson. The news was unexpected. The details are unexpected, too.

It’s not a fully-guaranteed deal. It doesn’t make Wilson the highest-paid quarterback in the league. It does tie him to the Broncos for seven years, longer than any prior commitment Wilson has made.

Mike Klis of has the details of the contract. Here they are:

1. Signing bonus: $50 million.

2. 2022 option bonus: $5 million, fully guaranteed.

3. 2022 base salary: $2 million, fully guaranteed.

4. 2023 option bonus: $20 million, fully guaranteed.

5. 2023 base salary: $8 million, fully guaranteed.

6. 2024 option bonus: $22 million fully guaranteed.

7. 2024 base salary: $17 million, fully guaranteed.

8. 2025 base salary: $37 million, guaranteed for injury at signing and fully guaranteed as of March 2024.

9. 2026 base salary: $40 million, with “partial” injury guarantees.

10. 2027 roster bonus: $1 million.

11. 2027 base salary: $44 million.

12. 2028 base salary: $50 million.

The deal has $124 million fully guaranteed at signing. The practical guarantee is $161 million over four years, given that the 2025 base salary becomes fully guaranteed in 2024, a full year early.

The cash flow is $57 million through the first year, $85 million through two years, $124 million through three years, and $161 million through four years.

He was due to make $51 million over the next two years. He’ll make $34 million more than that.

The deal has a new-money value of $49 million for the five-year extension. Factoring in the two existing years, it’s $42.2 million over seven years.

That’s seven years. The Broncos hold his rights through 2028. They can, if they so choose, give him a new deal if the market and/or salary cap get out of whack. But they don’t have to.

It’s a great contract, but it’s not as great as it could have been. And it makes it harder for other quarterbacks who hope to raise the bar with fully-guaranteed deals and/or a guaranteed percentage of the salary cap.

19 responses to “Inside the Russell Wilson deal

  1. Almost sounds like it’s very team friendly, nothing like his Seattle deals. This could allow Denver to sped enough to make a deep playoff run for years to come.

  2. As a Wilson fan I am glad he got a solid deal. As a Bronco’s fan I wish it hadn’t been from us..

  3. All contracts should be guaranteed. Why the NFL,the NFLPA and, frankly, fans, can’t grasp that is beyond me. Take that back, I know why the NFL doesn’t want them.

  4. Wow, what a deal by the Broncos.

    $161M guaranteed to a guy soon to turn 34 and now 5’9″

  5. So pretty much a 2 year deal…the broncos would be silly to pay him $37 & 40 mil in 2025 & 2026.

  6. Is there a particular reason why quarterbacks should be raising the bar for themselves – and thereby lowering the bar for everyone else?

  7. “Why won’t they surround me with a SB roster??”

    Russell “25% of the salary cap” Wilson

  8. The NFL has a hard cap, that means that money spent on one player is not available for another player(s).

    I don’t see how this is good for players overall, just good for Wilson.
    He’s also getting old, and there is a risk those last few years will be less productive.

    If QBs “raise the bar” it means they need to shoulder more of the responsibility for team success since there is less money for other players.

  9. By the time the contract is over, the way salaries are rising, it’s going to be team friendly.

  10. “Why won’t they surround me with a SB roster??”

    Russell “25% of the salary cap” Wilson

    We haven’t had a franchise QB since we traded Russ in ’22.

    – Seahawks fan in 2040

  11. All that money and only a $2.0 million base salary for the first year….interesting.

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