Aaron Rodgers is back atop the financial heap among NFL quarterbacks, but Russell Wilson is in line to reset that curve again pretty soon.
Matthew Stafford. Derek Carr. Andrew Luck. Jimmy Garoppolo. Kirk Cousins. Matt Ryan. Aaron Rodgers (again) now. Is Russell Wilson next?
The seven quarterbacks named above have been the highest-paid quarterback (and player) in the NFL at some point over the last couple years, with Ryan reaching the $30 million per year threshold that Rodgers just surpassed.
Next up for a new contract is Wilson, who like Rodgers has two years left on his current deal.
Wilson will make $32.5 million over the next two seasons and he has said he plans to play it out. That would put him in line to be franchise-tagged, perhaps twice like Cousins did before hitting the market this offseason.
A cap number of $25.286 million for 2019, a bump of over $2 million via a restructuring by the Seahawks (h/t to Joel Corry of CBS Sports), makes Wilson’s franchise tag number (under the 20-percent raise rule) $30.34 million for 2020.
In 2021, the franchise tag value for Wilson would go to $36.41 million. A third franchise tag would bring a 44 percent raise, and a one year cost of $52.43 million for 2022. Suffice to say, that third tag is unlikely and Wilson would then hit the open market at age 33.
But over the next five years, two years of his contract and three hypothetical franchise tags, Wilson could make $151.68 million, or $30.36 million yer year. That would usurp Rodgers’ average of $29.3 million over the next six years.
If the Seahawks decided not to tag Wilson at any point from 2020-22, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk laid out, he would hit the open market and surely be in line for a deal worth more than roughly $151.7 million over the following five years. Talk about a win-win situation.
Any contract offer the Seahawks would come to Wilson with over the next year or two would have to be rich enough to take away the appeal of going year-to-year a couple times, like Cousins did when the Redskins wouldn’t pony up on a long-term deal.
But unlike Cousins’ situation in Washington, it’s hard to see Wilson being publicly painted as a greedy player by the Seahawks’ organization.
Based on talent, Rodgers deserves to be the highest-paid player in the NFL. But it’s only been around 24 hours since news of his new deal came out and the market is already zeroing in on the next in line.
Wilson can bet on himself and play things out on franchise tags, or not, and still reset the financial curve.