Last year ESPN correspondent Chris Mortensen reported that a representative from Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had contacted the team, “insisting that something had to be done to adjust the bargain rookie contract for the third-round quarterback.”
Wilson denied knowledge of it, and such an adjustment would have been impossible anyway because NFL rookie contracts, by the rules of the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement, can not be renegotiated for the first three years. When Wilson was picked 75th overall in the 2012 draft he signed a $619,472 signing bonus, made $526,217 in 2013 and will get $662,434 for the 2014 season. In 2015 he’ll be eligible to negotiate his $798,651 salary. I’m guessing he will.
If you’re a quarterback and you win the Super Bowl, your (super-ultra-mega) payday is coming. That’s just how it works. Last March Baltimore Ravens Super-Bowl-winning QB Joe Flacco signed a $120.6 million six-year deal with $52 million guaranteed. In April, the 2011 Super bowl champion Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers pulled down a $110 million contract extension with a record $62.5 guaranteed. Two seasons after winning Super Bowl XLIV against the Indianapolis Colts, quarterback Drew Brees inked a $100 million contract.
Russell Wilson did not have a spectacular Super Bowl. He didn’t throw for as many yards as Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. Wilson just quietly did what he had to do to make plays; convert third down, sustain drives and score. He threw for 206 yards on 18 of 25 passing for a %72 completion percentage and two touchdowns, at one point in the second half completing 11 passes in a row. He broke off three runs for 26 yards. Most crucially, he did not turn over the ball.
This is what the Seahawks will be getting when they pony up the nine-figure payday next offseason, and I think in this case it’s safe to say you get what you pay for. Wilson could easily have been (and many think he should have been) the Super Bowl MVP. On the other side, Peyton Manning threw two interceptions (including a pick-six by linebacker Malcom Smith – the actual Super Bowl MVP) and let a snapped ball go through his fingers for a safety.
Russell Wilson is the face of the Seahawks. Everybody in Seattle loves Russell. He’s just flat-out fun to watch. When he rolls out of the pocket, any play could turn into the Catch (Joe Montana to Dwight Clark). His payday will be massive, and have a serious impact on the Seahawks salary cap, and so will the contracts of players like Richard Sherman. That’s just what happens when you stomp the living snot out of every team in front of you, all the way to the Super Bowl. That is why it will be so hard for the Seahawks to repeat as Super Bowl champs. These players deserve their paydays.
A question for Seahawks fans: What was last Sunday like for you? What was the parade like on Wednesday? How did you enjoy the Super Bowl hype when the Hawks were part of it? How do you like being a fan of the most dominating team in the NFL? How do you like being a fan of what may be the next NFL dynasty?
That’s what I thought. Let’s give Russell his payday.
More from George: the party is just beginning.