Jeremiah Short, Feature Columnist
Russell Wilson is a true franchise quarterback. He’s a marketable. He’s a leader. And he’s winner.
Wilson’s intangibles have translated on the field. He’s been selected to two Pro Bowls (2012 and 2013), and the Seahawks have made two appearances in the Super Bowl (winning one). With all the diminutive quarterback has accomplished, he’s done so under a standard rookie contract (4-years, $2.99 million).
He’s earned a raise…just not the raise he’s wants.
According to most sources, Wilson and his agent, Mark Rodgers, are seeking a deal in excess of the five-year, 110 million dollar range. Or to put it plainly, they want Wilson to make more than the league’s current highest-paid quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, who has made four Pro Bowls, thrown for 28,000-plus yards in his career and led his team to a Lombardi Trophy.
As valuable as Wilson is to the Seattle Seahawks, he’s not Aaron Rodgers valuable. Of course, it’s not always what you’re worth but what you negotiate or what your team needs from you to make the numbers work.
Case in point: Tom Brady is scheduled to make $11 million in 2015, and Cam Newton is scheduled to make 20.76 million. It’d be fair to say that Brady is a bit more valuable than Newton.
So, an NFL quarterback’s worth is very relative.
Seahawks General Manager, John Schneider, doesn’t plan to cave to the growing trend of overpaying young, franchise quarterbacks.
“He knows. He gets it. He wants to win for a long time,” Schneider said during ESPN 710’s Brock and Salk show back in February. “I’m not going to get into specifics of contract negotiations or anything like that other than to say that we’re going to do what’s best for this organization moving forward, first and foremost. And that does not mean that you do exactly what everybody else has done around the league.”
Schneider’s comments were made around the time when rumors were flying that Wilson would get a fully guaranteed contract as long as he took a “hometown discount”, which would have upset the entire NFL contract structure. Those rumors have since been dispelled.
Wilson, to his credit, has never threatened to hold out or made any public contract demands, although he’s coyly toyed with the idea of playing baseball and cryptically tweeted: “reciprocity” with no further commentary. It can be reasonably surmised that the tweet was referring to his contract negotiations and getting a deal commiserate to what he’s worth.
But what is he worth?
The fourth-year quarterback isn’t worth the $22 million a season that Rodgers is receiving. But he’s worth more than the $16.25 million that Eli Manning, the league’s 15th highest-paid quarterback, is scheduled to make next season.
The logical answer would be for Wilson to make the average of those contract figures…roughly around $19 million per season, which is where it would get tricky. He would be the eighth highest-paid quarterback alongside Colin Kaepernick, who, in my opinion, is a superior quarterback.
But Russell won a Super Bowl and Kap hasn’t, though.
Correct. But Kap is asked to do more for his team and has more upside. He has more arm talent and is a more explosive runner than Russell.
Their numbers are comparable. Wilson, in his first three years, has 72 touchdowns through the air with only 26 touchdowns. Kaepernick, over the past three years, has thrown for 50 touchdowns with only 21 interceptions. It should be noted that Kaepernick didn’t become the San Francisco 49ers starter until the middle of the 2012 season. Otherwise, his touchdown numbers would be more on par with Wilson’s.
Even if I don’t feel Wilson is better than Kaepernick, he isn’t worth much less than him. So, what’s a fair number?
$17.5 million. $18 million. $18.5 million.
I’ll settle for $18.5 million, which would make Wilson the league’s ninth highest-paid quarterback, slightly in front of Jay Cutler, who makes $18.1 million.
Based on the fact Wilson is one the safer franchise quarterbacks, on and off the field, the Seahawks should give him a six-year deal. That would bring his total number to six-years, $111 million. It would only fair to have at least half of the contract guaranteed.
One thing’s for sure: Nothing will change Wilson’s approach to the game and his preparation for next season.
“It’ll work out how it’s supposed to,” Wilson said recently on the final day of Seahawks minicamp. “Does it wear on me? No. I’ve been through so much. I just take one day at a time as I always have, whether I’m fortunate enough to receive a lot of money for a lot of hard work or if I’m still working for it. That’s never going to change for me. I’m just going to do as much as I can to be successful.”
The sides will eventually come to an agreement. I just hope the NFL’s most underpaid quarterback doesn’t become its most overpaid.
Catch me on the “SportsKrib” on Wednesday’s 8-9 Central and Thursday’s 8-10 Central. Follow me on social media @DaRealJShort or check out my facebook page JShortJournalist or my Google Plus page J.Short- Journalist.