A Closer Look at Russell Wilson’s Massive Contract

The numbers are now in on the Russell Wilson extension thanks to Ian Rapoport and it’s a big one.

Clearly there is some give and take on both sides, which I discussed today at the Sporting News, but now let’s focus on the cash flow of the contract to see just how big this deal is compared to the market.

Wilson will receive a $31 million signing bonus as part of the contract. That is the 3rd largest signing bonus in the NFL behind that of Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers and it is absolutely massive. The signing bonus will bring his first year cash to $31.7 million a raise of over $30 million on the year, a record setting number for a player. Here is the running cash breakdown:

PlayerYear 0Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4

These numbers should jump off the page because while Wilson is not going to be the highest paid quarterback based on the annual value of the deal, he will surpass any other player in every new money metric there is, leading into that fourth season.

His contract prepayment of $30.16 million will eclipse Aaron Rodgers $30.15 million that he received as part of his negotiation in 2013. This allows Wilson to bring that cash total in line with the full (not new) money received by Cam Newton, which was a sticking point in these talks. Considering Cam was starting with over $14 million this was an impressive job by Wilson and his agent.

In year 1 Wilson maintains his position as top earner with $42.5 million compared to the $41.75 million earned by Rodgers. In year 2 he maintains that $750,000 edge with a $55.1 million takehome. Ben Roethlisberger was the standard in three year value and Wilson eclipses that by $200,000.

It is at that point that the contract falls below Rodgers and maintains the small edge over Roethlisberger. Either way it is impressive and should be looked at as the top contract over the important three year period most look at. Given the length of the contract compared to Rodgers multiple year extension, you can make a strong argument that this is the best contract in the NFL.

From a cap perspective this is different (there is $2,000 missing in the report which is likely in this season) because Wilson’s initial contract costs nothing compared to this group of players.

PlayerYear 0Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4

While Seattle did make concessions in that Year 0 salary to match the big deals they avoided falling into this trap of somehow using full salary paid over three years as some new metric which has recently been pushed by some media outlets. It would be near impossible to do.

The lower overall cost does help with the cap charges for Wilson as the team was able to dump about $7 million in charges into this season and then deal with the rest over the next four years. Had they waited until next season to do the deal they wouldn’t have been able to have cap charges as reasonable as they have now, at least on a four year contract.