A contract extension for Ryan Tannehill could impact Seattle's efforts to sign Russell Wilson to a similar extension.
News out of Miami Monday of a contract extension for Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill could have an impact three time zones away as the Seahawks continue to work on their own hoped-for extension for quarterback Russell Wilson.
Tannehill’s overall deal is reported as a six-year extension worth $96 million. But that includes the 2015 and 2016 seasons for which he was already under contract. According to multiple reports, Tannehill is getting $77 million over four more years on the deal, from 2017-2020, which in NFL terms is called “new money.”
One salary cap expert says that new money average of $19.25 million per year (sixth among all QBs) and the fact that Tannehill is also getting $45 million guaranteed ($21.5 million fully guaranteed at the time of signing), are the real keys to the deal that could impact Seattle’s attempts to extend Wilson.
“If that (the reported salary and guarantee) is accurate, then Seattle should have gotten a deal done before this one,” said Joel Corry, a former agent who now writes for CBSSports.com. “If I’m Russell Wilson’s agent and Ryan Tannehill is getting close to $20 million in new money and almost half of it is guaranteed, then I’m not budging that I want to be the highest-paid player in football. If he’s coming in at $19 (plus) million a year, then Wilson is coming in at more than $20 million a year, easy.”
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OvertheCap.com’s analysis of the deal also concluded that it could make life a little tougher for the Seahawks, stating: “(Andrew) Luck and Wilson are considered infinitely better than Tannehill and this contract should only increase their demands.”
Further details of Tannehill’s contract that became revealed later Monday night from Jason La Confora, however, indicated that it may not have much of an impact on negotiations for deals of other quarterbacks. As La Confora noted, Tannehill’s contract is backloaded, with $57 million set to be earned in the final three seasons. But the Dolphins could walk away from the contract after the second or third seasons, mitigating the risk. Ultimately, La Confora concluded, Tannehill’s contract won’t “have any real ramifications on the kinds of deals those men are seeking.”
Tannehill is the first of several high-profile QBs from the draft class of 2012 to sign new deals, a group that also includes Wilson and Luck. All can now get extensions with three years complete of their original four-year rookie contracts. Miami had already exercised an option on Tannehill for the 2016 season (something Seattle could not do for Wilson since he was not a first-round pick. Tannehill was taken No. 8 overall in 2012).
Seattle is believed to have initially offered to Wilson is reported to be a four-year extension for roughly $80 million, a deal that would start after the 2015 season, when Wilson is due $1.5 million on the final season of his rookie contract.
Still, while it was debatable if the contract will have much of a factor on the Wilson negotiations, some viewed the contract as at least setting a baseline for what Wilson will want, especially considering the difference in what the two quarterbacks have achieved (Wilson having won a Super Bowl and Tannehill yet to lead a team to the playoffs).
Some have theorized Wilson could play out the 2015 season and at the least force the Seahawks to use an Exclusive Rights Franchise Tag in 2016.
Corry said he thinks the Tannehill deal could only increase the odds that Wilson might go that route.
“I know he won’t want to play for $1.542 million, but this is a guy who got run out of North Carolina State (eventually transferring to Wisconsin for his senior season) so he has been through worse,” Corry said.
Corry says the Exclusive Rights Tag, which would bind Wilson to the Seahawks in 2016, would likely come in around $24 million. Seattle could put additional tags on Wilson in 2017 and 2018, which would increase by 20 and 44 percent each year.
“You’re talking basically $53 million for the 2016-17 seasons to play 0n the franchise tag,” he said. “You don’t want to do it for a third year at 44 (percent raise from the 2017 number). So if you’re going to pay him $53 million over those two years, average, you can make a case they should sign him to a long-term deal of $23-25 million (per year).”
Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay is the highest-paid player in the NFL on a per-year basis at $22 million. His guaranteed money of $54 million is also the most among quarterbacks.