Earlier this week Russell Wilson used a baseball reference/threat to try and show the Seattle Seahawks he has other options. The negotiations regarding his new contract haven’t been going too well.
Wilson has been extremely successful in pretty much every possible measurement through his first three seasons in the league. Not just his win-loss record, the three playoff appearances and the two Super Bowls, including winning one of them. He completed 63.4% of his passes, he hardly throws interceptions (just 1.5% last season) and is one of the best in the league when it comes to rushing the ball, finishing with 849 yards on the ground last season, leading the NFL with 7.2 yards per carry.
But Wilson, a third round pick out of Wisconsin, isn’t paid like a superstar. A rookie contract for a mid-draft pick isn’t too rewarding, making $2 million through his first three seasons. This year it’ll be up to $1.6 million, but still, that’s nothing compared to what franchise quarterbacks make and can make.
But despite his success, many think the key to Seattle’s run over the last three years has more to do with the defense and with the abundance in cap space than Wilson himself. That’s why suddenly paying him around $20 million a season sounds so hard to fathom. He wasn’t a first round quarterback destined for the franchise role. He won it coming from behind, which causes the huge salary rise.
But other players with less to show for than Wilson have gotten huge contracts, so eventually, the Seahawks and him will agree to something. It might not be the $20 million a season Wilson and his agent are aiming for, but it won’t be too far from that.
One issue with all of this is how the Seahawks adjust accordingly. A stacked defense and other high paid players can’t co exist on the same team if Wilson starts making big money from 2016. Just look at teams like the New York Giants and how the Eli Manning deal is suffocating them, ruining their cap flexibility. The same can be said for a lot of other teams with a quarterback eating up so much of the cap space.
There’s also the persona thing. Wilson seems to be working hard to come off as a nice, team-first kind of player. There’s nothing wrong with going out and getting paid like you deserve, but it might rub people, including some of his teammates, the wrong way.