In a copycat league like the NFL, Ryan Tannehill getting a massive extension from the Miami Dolphins means it has a ripple effect on other negotiations with quarterbacks, including the one between the Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson, not going all too well up to this point.
Tannehill, entering the league in 2012, signed a four-year deal worth $77 million, which $25 million are fully guaranteed and he’ll only have to be on the roster to make it $45 million in guaranteed money. Tannehill is the first of the big four of 2012 quarterbacks (Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson) to get the extension, and it means he sets a certain precedent for the other negotiations.
Luck was going to get the biggest deal possible anyhow. He meants that much to the Colts. Griffin isn’t, and he has this year to prove himself. His rookie season might have been the most impressive, but things have fallen off for him since. And there’s Wilson, a quarterback who has been to the Super Bowl twice (winning it once) but is a third round pick, which means he’s not earning a whole lot of money, and is probably a bit more “hungry” to sign a big deal pretty soon.
Ryan Tannehill’s agent Pat Dye said SEA GM John Schneider called him and said, “Congrats, you just cost me a lot of money.” #RussellWilson
— James Walker (@JamesWalkerNFL) May 19, 2015
The Seahawks know that part of their success is owed due to the fact that they had a franchise quarterback from day 1 but on less than $1 million a season. That enabled them to spread out money and build a team with very few visible weaknesses. The first set of big extensions came last year. Now comes the next wave of big deals, which makes it more and more difficult to keep a very talented group together without someone getting angry about not getting paid.
The negotiations between the Seahawks and Wilson haven’t been going well. He’s looking for the kind of money Tannehill got and probably more. The Seahawks are trying to make this about the team, and convince Wilson that taking a smaller deal will mean having better teammates. They also have the option of using the franchise tag on him for at least one season when that possibility becomes the only way of keeping him.
Tannehill hasn’t taken the Dolphins to the postseason, but they don’t want to go into another limbo period of finding the right guy behind center. The Seahawks know pretty much from day 1 that they nabbed a star for nothing. They get away with it for three years without paying too much, but nothing lasts forever, especially contracts of young players who deserve to be paid a lot more money.