The big news today is that Russell Wilson signed a four-year, $87.6 million contract with $60 million in guarantees, ending any speculation that he would be tagged next year or that he was only going to sign for a deal worth more than the five-year, $110 million signed by Aaron Rodgers. Those rumors that went around basically turned a bunch of fans around on their views of Wilson as a "company man" and that he was "greedy."
But Wilson's deal isn't just under a total value of $100 million, it also appears to have low cap hits for at least the next three seasons: $7 million in 2015, $18.5 million in 2016, and $18.8 million in 2017.
That's more than reasonable for a franchise quarterback, especially when you consider these two factors:
- The cap is going to continue to go up
- Other quarterbacks, like Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers, and Eli Manning are about to sign some big ol' contracts of their own.
For all intents and purposes, this seems to me like a team-friendly contract that Wilson almost had no choice but to sign due to the fact that he was risking getting hurt in 2015 or performing poorly and costing himself millions of dollars when he had barely even been paid millions of dollars to begin with. If he was making $8 million this year on a rookie deal, I think there's no way he makes this deal. But a $31 million signing bonus tends to make people second-think if an insurance policy is good enough.
That being said, Wilson still got one of the biggest contracts in the NFL ... in some terms.
According to Jason Fitzgerald at OvertheCap.com, Wilson is making $70.6 million cash over the first three years of his deal. Thanks to the signing bonus, he's making more in Year 0 than Rodgers, more by Year 1 than Rodgers or any other QB, and more by Years 2 and 3. He only starts to make less when you get to the end of the contract.
When I wrote about the contract situation in June, before the Russell Wilson Vow, I presumed he would sign for four years and $90 million. Davis Hsu was a little closer, guessing $88 million. The way to arrive at that is assuming that Wilson would want more cash in the first three years than what Cam Newton received, which was $68 million.
Wilson's first-three-years cash is $200,000 more than what Ben Roethlisberger got this year. He's also got an AAV of $21.9 million, which is $100,000 less than Rodgers and the second-highest in the NFL for quarterbacks.
None of this is a coincidence.
Overall, Wilson's agent and the team managed to find a way to strike a deal where both sides got what they wanted. The Seahawks won't be cap-strapped by the deal, and Wilson is both a very rich man and someone that got a comparable deal to other franchise quarterbacks in the NFL.
You just have to look at it the right way.