On Monday, Russell Wilson suggested – well, sort of – that he would like to make $25 million a year, which would make him the highest-paid quarterback in football.
Is Wilson expecting to be the highest-paid quarterback in football, or did he simply throw out that number as a starting point knowing that it’s unlikely to become reality?
“I don’t think the 25 itself was a calculated number he threw out, but it’s been known for quite a while that he would like to be the highest-paid quarterback,” Seattle Times Seahawks writer Bob Condotta said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I don’t think that’s really been in dispute. And if you want to be the highest-paid quarterback, you’re going to be the highest-paid player. I think there’s a couple things at play there. Aaron Rodgers signed his deal a couple years ago. The salary cap is larger now. This is something people haven’t talked about a whole lot, but I know it’s something that the Wilson camp is paying attention to. By percentage of salary cap of what you get, even if you get paid more than Aaron Rodgers, he could still be getting less as a percentage of the team’s overall salary cap than Rodgers is. It’s sort of like there’s an inflationary thing here. If he signs this year, then Andrew Luck signs next year and Eli Manning signs later, they could pass him really easily. It’s sort of about trying to get a contract that, if you sign a deal for four or five years, keeps you in a spot where you don’t necessarily move real quickly down the latter of what you feel like you deserve. So there’s sort of some subtle things like that at play here as well, I think.”
It’ll be interesting to see what the Seahawks elect to do with Wilson in the coming months. On the one hand, he’s led them to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. On the other hand, the Seahawks have arguably the best defense and the best rushing offense in football.
Do the Seahawks believe they can win without Wilson?
“I do think they believe that the team as a whole is bigger than any one player,” Condotta said. “I don’t know that they’ve gotten to that point of necessarily (thinking) we can do this without Russell. They tried really hard to get a quarterback before they got Russell. People sort of forget that one of the first moves they made was making a pretty heavy investment in Charlie Whitehurst. They then signed Tarvaris Jackson with the full thought that ‘Well, maybe that’s the guy.’ And then they signed Matt Flynn to a $10 million deal right before they drafted Russell.
“So they know what it’s like to not have a quarterback that can’t do the things Russell can,” Condotta continued. “I don’t think any of this is about any sort of lack of faith in what Russell can do. I just think the Seahawks have been a very cutthroat (team from a business standpoint).”
A couple of weeks after winning the Super Bowl, for example, the Seahawks cut Red Bryant, their defensive captain and arguably the most popular player in the locker room.
“But it was something they had to do for salary-cap reasons,” Condotta said, “and then they moved on and just sort of were like ‘That’s life in the NFL.’ I think that’s sort of how it is with Russell. While he is a vastly important part of the team, it’s still like you’ve got to try to do what’s best for the team and the organization as a whole. And again, because I think they feel there’s still some time to get this done, I think they’re going to continue to try and play a pretty hardline stance on that until it gets to a moment where (you have to make a choice). They’re not to the moment yet where there’s some compelling reasons to have to step down from what you believe.”