Seahawks fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Early Tuesday morning, Russell Wilson took to Twitter to announce from his bed at 12:44 AM Seattle time that a deal had been reached. Weeks of trade speculation and Wilson’s desire to stay in Seattle going forward have finally been put to bed.
Wilson still had a year remaining on his deal, the Seahawks were trying to extend him. Had they not, Wilson would’ve played out the 2019 season under the final year of his previous deal. Had an agreement still not been reached, the Seahawks had the right to apply a franchise tag on him.
A franchise tag is effectively a one-year deal that pays the player the average of the top five players at their position. This would’ve cost the Seahawks roughly $31 million in 2020. ~$35 million in 2021 and a whopping ~$52 million in 2022. This wouldn’t have been ideal as Wilson would’ve been able to hold out and may have been traded.
Now that we got that out of the way, what did the Seahawks actually extend him for? It’s a four-year, $140 million in new money extension that includes a $65 million signing bonus. This gives him an annual value of $35 million/year making him the highest paid player in the NFL.
The guarantees are likely where Wilson’s camp and general manager John Schneider got hung up on. They ended up agreeing to a $65 million signing bonus with total guarantees of $107 million and a no-trade clause. In total, this is a five-year, $157 million contract.
“But Stephen! That’s a lot of money!” You’re quite correct, concerned reader and avid Seahawks fan. However, the alternative to paying Wilson was quite bleak. If the Seahawks were to receive a king’s ransom in return for Wilson, a majority of those would’ve been draft picks.
And let’s be clear on draft picks, it is extremely difficult to hit draft picks right. For all the love they’ve received from their 2010-2012 drafts. The Seahawks have had mediocre success with nearly every draft since.
Whether you like it or not, you need a franchise quarterback to win Super Bowls. Aside from Joe Flacco in 2012, every quarterback that has won a Super Bowl since Trent Dilfer in 2000 has been a near-elite talent. While paying Wilson a large percentage of the cap may hinder their ability to fill out the remainder of the roster, Wilson will give them a fighting shot each season.
Most Passing TD in First 7 Seasons
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) April 16, 2019
With Pete Carroll under contract through the 2021 season and Wilson now under contract through 2023, the Seahawks window is as you see it. The most prosperous decade in Seahawks history has left no shortage of euphoria and heartbreak but knowing the Seahawks won’t be rebuilding for at least five more years should give Hawks fans some solace.
While the debate rages on if Carroll and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer are misusing Wilson’s elite skills by being so focused on running the ball, the attention now shifts back to the front office on whether or not they can replenish this depleted roster. Frank Clark, Jarren Reed and Bobby Wagner all have one-year remaining on their deals. Whether or not they are used as trade bait remains to be seen but with just four picks in the 2019 Draft next Thursday, you can bet Schneider isn’t satisfied with that.
But for now, Seattle fans should rejoice. Knowing Wilson will be in Seahawk blue and lime green for the next five seasons is great news. Wilson’s play on the field has rendered him a first ballot Hall of Famer. However, beyond that, Wilson has been a great ambassador for the Seahawks and the NFL.
Stephen and Austyn will be covering the Wilson extension, NFL Schedule release and more on this week’s episode of 3rd & Wrong, stay tuned!
Main image credit:
Embed from Getty Images