The long summer saga that is Russell Wilson's contract situation is over. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora confirms Wilson and the Seahawks agreed to a four-year extension worth $87.6 million. The news was first reported by Peter King of TheMMQB.com and also confirmed by Wilson himself.
Wilson was set to make $1.5 million in base salary in the final year of his rookie contract and then become an unrestricted free agent; there's been roughly four million barbs back and forth between Seattle and Wilson's camp about the type of money he wants.
Here's five things to know about Wilson's contract.
1. Average Per Year: Wilson will have the second-highest average per year of all quarterbacks in the NFL at $21.9 million per year, just a hair under Aaron Rodgers contract with the Packers ($22 million). Assuming, of course, you only count the extension. Add in Russell's current $1.5 million 2015 season and Wilson is getting paid $17.82 million per year. That addition moves him from sitting in between Rodgers and Roethlisberger to sitting in between Romo and Stafford. Which is kind of funny because of where people would place Wilson among the hierarchy of quarterbacks.
2. Guaranteed Money: Wilson's agent, Mark Rodgers, is a baseball guy. He's used to dealing in all guaranteed money and made it clear he wanted his client to get a large percentage guaranteed. Per King that's exactly the case, with $60 million guaranteed in Wilson's contract and a $31 million signing bonus. $60 million guaranteed out of $87.6 million total (and we have to assume it's basically fully guaranteed) means Wilson is going to get 68.5 percent of his contract guaranteed. That's really good for an NFL deal. By comparison: Rodgers (49.1 percent), Roethlisberger (35.5), Cam Newton (39.5) and Matt Ryan (40.5) are all much lower.
3. Next Big Deal: Wilson's deal is tacked onto his 2015 contract, which means he will enter the final year of this contract (2019) at the age of 30. That gives him a very good chance to land another significant contract. If Wilson develops into a consistent, in-pocket passer -- and there's reason to believe he will, given his success at a young age -- he'll stand to make another massive payday.
4. Seahawks Should Be Happy: Wilson's deal isn't "team friendly" or anything like that, but Seattle should be thrilled about hammering out this contract. It avoids a year (or two) of controversy about whether the Seahawks and Wilson are going to work out a deal. It removes the scrutiny of contract talks during and after 2015. Here's the big thing for me: it gives the Seahawks full control over Wilson through his prime. If he gets to 30 and hasn't developed as a passer or hasn't matured into one of the top quarterbacks in the game (a possibility, however unlikely) they can cut bait. They're hitched to Wilson for the next five years but that's something Seattle should be thrilled about. He's an emerging young quarterback with 36 wins in his first three years, two Super Bowl appearances and one title. He put Seattle over the top and now he can help them try to stay there.
5. Deadlines/Quarterbacks/Etc: Wilson's camp had imposed a deadline of sorts to work out a deal with the Seahawks, wanting something done before 1 p.m. Friday, when the Seahawks begin training camp. They snuck in under the deadline, which is how this stuff always works. Especially when we're talking about a franchise quarterback.
People can scream and yell and get red in the face arguing about where Wilson ranks in terms of top-10 and top-15 quarterbacks. But the reality is he's a franchise guy. You never, ever, ever-ever-ever let a franchise guy walk into the market at his age. You pay him and you keep him in the fold even if it means giving him more money than he might technically deserve. John Schneider knows this and he figured out a way to make it done.
6. Andrew Luck Benchmarks: The Wilson contract sets up the Colts to make a move with Andrew Luck. It's likely that Luck's camp will want to see what Philip Rivers and Eli Manning get from the Chargers and Giants, respectively, before actually signing. Luck is emerging as one of the best quarterbacks in the game and probably wants to break all the benchmarks sitting there. But the Wilson deal gives him the absolute freedom to blow away what we've seen from young quarterbacks in terms of average per year and guaranteed money. It's going to be a whopper and he can thank Wilson for helping him set it up.