Russell Wilson turned down $21 million a year from the Seahawks, and it suggests he wants a game-changing deal

Russell wilson seattle seahawksSteve Dykes/Getty ImagesRussell Wilson is going to get paid big-time, but it might not happen in 2015.

Russell Wilson has set a deadline for later this week to work out a long-term contract with the Seattle Seahawks and now we have more evidence that Wilson is seeking to become the highest-paid player in the NFL.

Wilson has turned down an offer worth “nearly $US21 million per year,” according to what Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has heard through the grapevine. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network appeared to confirm the nature of the offer when he called Florio’s number “essentially accurate.

In the NFL, only four players have a contract with an average annual value greater than $US20.5 million:

  • Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers — $US22.0 million (5 years, $US110.0 million)
  • Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers — $US21.85 million (4 years, $US87.4 million)
  • Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers — $US20.76 million (5 years, $US103.8 million)
  • Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons — $US20.75 million (5 years, $US103.75 million)

Presumably, the Seahawks’ most recent offer to Wilson falls somewhere in the neighbourhood of Newton and Ryan, but almost certainly in the top five ahead of Joe Flacco, whose deal has an average annual value of $US20.1 million.

But this is the NFL and contracts are never this simple. Just as important, and possibly more important, as the average annual value is the amount of guaranteed money and the amount of money the player receives up front. The latter is typically the only “fully guaranteed” portion of an NFL contract, with the rest of the guarantees only coming in to play in the event of an injury.

While Florio’s report says there is “significant guaranteed money” in the offer, according to Rapoport, the Seahawks’ offer to Wilson includes “below $US20 million cash up front” with the rest being injury guarantees.

That is well-below the $US31 million that Newton received up front or the $US30 million that Ryan received up front in fully guaranteed money in the form of first-year salary and bonuses. Rather, the offer appears to be much closer to the $US18.1 million in up-front cash the Bengals gave Andy Dalton in his 6-year, $US96.0 million.

That is nothing to scoff at, but Russell Wilson is not Andy Dalton.

Russell wilsonGregory Payan/APRussell Wilson wants a contract better than Andy Dalton.

Peter King of Sports Illustrated takes it a step further and points out that Rodgers signed his deal in 2013 when the NFL salary cap was $US123 million and his salary represented 17.9% of the cap. The cap is now $US143.3 million and an equivalent percentage would be a salary of $US25.6 million, suggesting Wilson is being low-balled with a $US21 million offer.

Wilson has said he wants a deal in place before the start of training camp, which is later this week, or he will play the 2015 season under his current $US1.5 million salary. Based on what the Seahawks’ most recent offer appears to be, it doesn’t look like a deal is going to get done.

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