Wilson Becomes NFL's Highest Paid Player

NFL
Russell Wilson

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has reached a new an agreement with the franchise on a new four-year contract extension that will make him the highest paid player in the NFL. The extension, which includes a $65 million signing bonus, is worth $140 million and keeps Wilson in Seattle through 2023. 

Wilson's new deal breaks all sorts of records and surpasses Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers in both average annual salary and signing bonus. Rodgers was the NFL leader in both categories with an average annual salary of $33.5 million and a signing bonus of $57.5 million, respectively. Wilson's new contract will pay him an average of $35 million per season.

Wilson, 30, was entering the final season of his contract he signed in 2015 with the Seahawks and was slated to make $17 million in 2019. The five-time Pro Bowler had given the Seahawks until midnight on Monday, April 15, to get an extension done. Wilson was not planning to negotiate again until after the 2019 season. 

The deal locks in one of the league's best who just happened to enjoy his best season as a pro in 2018. Wilson posted career-bests in touchdowns with 35 and passer rating at 110.9. He threw for 3,448 yards on just 427 attempts, the fewest of his career since 2013. The only quarterbacks with higher passer ratings in the NFL in 2018 were Patrick Mahomes and Drew Brees.

Prior to the new contract extension getting done, Wilson averaged $21.9 per season. At the time of Wilson's signing his previous deal in 2015, he was the second-highest paid quarterback in the league behind Rodgers. By 2018, Wilson had fallen all the way to 12th on that list.

With their quarterback signed, the Seahawks can now address some of their other problems like how to deal with Frank Clark and Bobby Wagner. Clark was given the franchise tag by Seattle and has not yet signed his $17.128 million tender. He recorded 14 sacks last season, sixth-best in the NFL. Wagner had 138 tackles, 11 pass break ups, and returned his only interception 98 yards for a touchdown.

Wilson's new contract extension may complicate things with Clark and Wagner. Wagner is a free agent who made $10.5 million last season. Both he and Clark will be near the top of the market at their respective positions. The Seahawks went 10-6 last season earning the NFC's first wild card berth. They were eliminated in the postseason by Dallas.