The Seahawks and Russell Wilson's agent Mark Rodgers agreed to the perimeters of a contract extension at about 11 pm PT Thursday night, literally and figuratively the "11th hour" for their soft deadline of midnight. According to Rodgers, the key point in negotiations was the length of the deal, and when the Seahawks agreed to a four-year extension (as opposed to the standard five-year deal that many quarterbacks get), it was relatively smooth sailing from there.
After it was all said and done, the agreement states that Wilson will receive $87.6 million over four years, a new-money APY of $21.9M, just under that of Aaron Rodgers and just above that of Ben Roethlisberger. Wilson will receive $20M of his $31M signing bonus money in ten days time (the other $10M will be paid out in April of next year), and the deal has $61.3M in guaranteed money. There are no performance bonuses or hidden de-escalators -- this is elite-quarterback money.
Setting the contract at four years was a concession for the Seahawks, and the new-money APY of $21.9M, along with manageable cap hits in each of his next five seasons, was a concession of sorts for Wilson, whose deal will likely look like very moderate two years down the road.
Overall, both sides had to compromise to get the deal done, and that's typically the sign of a good negotiation. Both sides "win" even if both sides feel like they lost. It had been reported that Wilson was looking to become the league's highest paid player and the $25 million per year number had been thrown around quite a bit, so a more reasonable per-year number was reached at the cost of an extra year of control for the team.
Importantly, Wilson's $70.6 million in cash payouts over the first three seasons of his new contract is an NFL record.
"The term was key," Wilson's agent Mark Rodgers told Bob Condotta. "You do a four-year extension so you can look at your client and say ‘look, you are going into the final year of this deal at 30 years old, you are a young man. You look at the other quarterbacks we are talking about today, they are all over 30 years old except for Andrew (Luck). So there is some promise in that."
Wilson will still be in the prime of his career when his deal ends, and he'll be able to negotiate another enormous deal at 30 years old. Waiting another year to sign a four-year extension would've pushed Wilson's third-contract out further, and could've risked his overall earning power. It's likely that Wilson will begin re-negotiating his contract prior to the 2019 season.