Despite reports early in the offseason that the Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson were close to a $US100+ million contract extension, it is looking more and more like the Super Bowl-winning quarterback will remain one of the most underpaid players in the NFL for one more season.
The latest comes from Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, who reports that Wilson has taken out an insurance policy “worth millions” to protect him from a career-ending injury.
While insurance policies of this nature are not unheard of, Schefter speculates that this might be an indication Wilson is sceptical of being able to get a deal done before the season.
Earlier this offseason, it was reported that Wilson was seeking the richest contract in NFL history, with Jason Cole of Bleacher Report saying that Jay Cutler’s seven-year, $US126.7 million contract with the Bears is “the starting point basically for where Russell Wilson wants to be.”
While Cutler’s deal falls in the class of recent quarterback contracts that include a lot of guaranteed money and security, the Seahawks were reportedly offering something closer to those signed by Colin Kaepernick and Andy Dalton. Those deals have the potential to be huge but are basically year-to-year deals in which the team can get out whenever they want.
The other situation working against Wilson getting his new deal this summer is the salary cap.
The Seahawks have just $US10.8 million in cap space. The two players who recently signed contracts similar to what Wilson is looking for, Cutler and Cam Newton, had salary cap figures of $US13.0 million and $US18.5 million in the first seasons of their new deals, respectively.
It wouldn’t be impossible to fit a $US13-18 million cap figure into the Seahawks’ 2015 payroll, but it would likely mean the Seahawks would have to re-work the deals of other players.
If Wilson does play the 2015 season without a new contract, the Seahawks would likely place the franchise tag on their quarterback for the 2016 season. While that would boost Wilson’s salary from $US1.5 million in 2015 to something north of $US21 million in 2016, the downside is Wilson would still be without long-term security.
At that point, Wilson’s veiled threats of playing baseball may become a reality or at the very least he could use the threat to force a long-term deal.
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