Some thoughts on Russell Wilson's contract with Oakland's Derek Carr signing a new deal re-setting the QB market on Thursday.
The monster contract signed by Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders on Thursday moved Seattle’s Russell Wilson down a spot in the quarterback salary pecking order to seventh.
Carr signed a reported five-year, $125 million deal with $70 million guaranteed and $40 million guaranteed at signing, a contract that also makes him the NFL’s highest-paid player.
The contract comes less than two years after Wilson signed his deal with Seattle in July 2015, a four-year extension worth $87.6 million overall with $31.7 million guaranteed at signing and $61.5 million in total guarantees.
Wilson’s deal was the NFL’s second-largest at the time in terms of per-year average at $21.9 million just behind the $22 million of Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers.
Most Read Sports Stories
- Julian Strawther's three lifts Gonzaga men past UCLA and into Elite Eight
- Analysis: What to make of Seahawks' selfies with top QB prospects
- James Reimer, other NHL players who decline to wear Pride Night jerseys deserve scrutiny
- WA native Hailey Van Lith returns to Seattle with Louisville women's basketball
- How national media rank the Seahawks' free agency so far
Wilson is now seventh in per-year average with Carr and four others having signed deals since then. Carr’s contract also means there are 14 NFL QBs making $20 million or more per year. The top 15 highest-paid players are QBs. The highest-paid non-QB is Denver end/linebacker Von Miller at $19.08 million per year.
Here’s a look at the QB salary chart (figures from OvertheCap.com). Of those ahead of Wilson, all but Rodgers have signed contracts since Wilson. Of those next on the list, only Brady has signed since Wilson:
1. Derek Carr, Raiders, $25 million APY (average per year).
2. Andrew Luck, Colts, $24.594 million APY.
3. Drew Brees, Saints, $25.250 million APY.
4. Kirk Cousins, Washington, $23.94 million APY. (Cousins currently is playing on a one-year franchise tag for the 2017 season with the team attempting to work out a long-term deal with him.)
5. Joe Flacco, Ravens, $22.133 million APY.
6. Rodgers, Packers, $22 million APY.
7. Wilson, Seahawks, $21.9 million APY.
8. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers, $21.8 million APY.
9. Carson Palmer, Cardinals, $21 million APY.
10. Eli Manning, Giants, $21 million APY.
11. Philip Rivers, Chargers, $20.8 million APY.
12. Cam Newton, Panthers, $20.7 million APY.
13. Matt Ryan, Falcons, $20.7 million APY.
14. Tom Brady, Patriots, $20.5 million APY.
Wilson is likely to fall to eighth, as Detroit’s Matthew Stafford is working on a contract that likely would top Carr’s deal. Wilson also is likely to fall further behind Cousins (who is expected to be tagged for at least $28.73 million next season, sign a new deal with Washington topping that number or move on elsewhere) and possibly Rodgers, who the Packers may have to do something with sooner rather than later.
That the QB market has continued to expand, rising with each year as the salary cap also has risen — it was $143.28 million per team in 2015 and is $167 million in 2017 — is one reason Wilson wanted just a four-year deal at the time he signed instead of the five that the Seahawks had pushed for, which was a key part in the negotiations at the time.
That means Wilson can enter what would be his final season as a Seahawk at age 30 unless he has signed another deal with Seattle before then. Wilson’s contract with the Seahawks runs through the 2019 season, meaning Seattle likely would have to begin talking with Wilson in some manner no later than the the offseason following the 2018 season if it wants to get something with Wilson done before he enters the final year of his contract, which is the team’s usual strategy (though there’s nothing stopping the two sides from doing something earlier).
Recall that Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, said at the time the deal was signed that a turning point in the negotiations was the Seahawks relenting on giving Wilson four years instead of demanding five.
“When we decided that’s what it was going to be, it was going to be four years, we were really able to dig in and get the deal done,’’ Rodgers said. “It puts him in here at 30 years old (Wilson’s birthday is Nov. 29, 1988)), when he is going into the last year of his contract. So it puts you in a situation where he is still a young man and he gets an opportunity maybe to talk about another contract down the road. You don’t do a contract necessarily thinking about the next contract. But I think there is a big difference between doing a four-year extension and a five-year extension — that’s a long year. That’s a bit of a goal and we got there, so we were pleased with that.’’
Like Wilson, Carr signed his contract entering the final year of his initial four-year rookie contract.
Like Wilson, Carr was not taken in the first round — Carr was drafted in the second and Wilson in the third — which allowed both to sign their new deals earlier than QBs taken in the first round, when contracts also come with a team option for a fifth year. Each deal further illustrates why teams like to try to trade up to get a QB in the late first round instead of the second (such as Minnesota’s trade with the Seahawks in 2014 to land Teddy Bridgewater with the 32nd overall pick) to get that option.
Unlike Wilson, Carr has yet to even play in a postseason game, suffering a broken fibula in the second-to-last week after leading the Raiders to the title of the AFC West.
Cousins also has yet to win a playoff game, and Stafford, who will likely soon pass Wilson in salary per year, is 0-3. Flacco is 10-5, Rodgers 9-7, Wilson 9-4, Brees 6-5 and Luck 3-3 in the playoffs.
That Stafford is likely to soon top everyone in pay only further underscores the value of QBs and why there was never a question that the Seahawks would ultimately get a contract done with Wilson two years ago — and why Seattle may be faced with having to work out a new deal with him sooner than you might think.