The Seattle Seahawks have been in the news lately for being on the best end of a big trade this off-season when they managed to get Jimmy Graham from the New Orleans Saints for just a few draft picks and pro-bowl center Max Unger. Many people have taken sides in the argument about who got the best deal. However, both teams got something they needed.
Seattle got a target for their quarterback, Russell Wilson, and the Saints got a pro-bowl center in to help protect Drew Brees. In addition to that, they managed to get a few good draft picks that could help them get other targets for Brees. While we cannot expect them to be a good as Graham, there is at least the potential that they can replace him in the draft or in free agency with another tight end.
However, this trade may have done more harm than good for Russell Wilson. Sure, he gets a target he’s going to love. However, that target comes in with some baggage in the form of a big contract with a lot of guaranteed money. Jimmy Graham will be starting the season with a big four-year, $40 million contract that will pay him $10 million this season and has $20.9 million in guaranteed money.
Prior to this, the Seattle Seahawks had $25 million in cap space with $3-4 million set aside for incoming rookies.
Business Insider reports, “Max Unger and the player drafted with the first-round pick would have combined to count as ~$6.9 million against the Seahawks’ salary cap. Meanwhile, Graham will take up $10.2 million of Seattle’s cap space. The difference is not huge (~$3.3 million), but it moves the Seahawks’ cap situation in the wrong direction.”
Unger being moved did help the Seahawks, but it didn’t in the end because now they have Graham to add a cool $10 million. This isn’t even including incoming rookie salaries or other free agents the Seahawks will go after, which brings us to Russell Wilson.
Russell Wilson is at the end of his first contract from his rookie season. He will either get paid by Seattle this year or he will go somewhere else and get paid well. Currently, he is set to make $1.5 million this season. For someone who has been to two Super Bowls and won one of them, that seems like chump change. Very few can say they quarterbacked an NFL team to a Super Bowl and won it, even fewer can say they went to two of them. Russell Wilson has done this in his first few years with the NFL.
That said, Seattle was looking to pay Russell Wilson the highest contract in all of the NFL, according to Business Insider. This made sense with Russell’s resume. However, they cannot do that right now, and they may have an issue with doing it in the future due to the addition of Graham’s contract and guaranteed pay.
Currently, the highest-paid QB in the NFL is Aaron Rodgers, whose first year resulted in a pay of $11.2 million. This is not a bad sum, but the Seahawks would have to surpass this even a little and then have to deal with the increased numbers as the contract goes on. Most of the time, the way teams can sign players to big deals is by having them sign a long term deal for six to seven years. This allows for the money to be stretched in a way that can work for the team.
So we’ll probably see an offer for six to seven years with Russell Wilson. The average annual value that the Seahawks would have to look at yearly is about $22 million, which is by no means easy to come by. There is a thought, according to Business Insider, that they could work the system a bit to help the yearly salary cap.
“Another option would be to forgo a huge signing bonus, give Wilson a ho-hum salary for the 2015 season (say $5 million or so) and then give him gradually larger salaries in the subsequent years that are fully guaranteed.”
Of course, by doing this, they would pretty much be stuck with Wilson, and if they wanted to trade him, it would be almost impossible. No one would want to pick up such a unique deal. While the idea for Seattle is not to trade their franchise QB in Russell Wilson, we do not know how good or bad he will be in the future. We also do not know if he’ll get hurt. The impossibility of knowing the future makes every big contract like this a risky venture.
For now, it is uncertain if Russell Wilson would want to play another year for a fraction of what he is worth. He could very well hold out to get the deal he wants. However, this is a big issue for the Seahawks, as they cannot seemingly afford to pay Wilson what he deserves right now as they surround him with better talent. So the idea might be to get a big deal done when it comes to Wilson’s ideology. However, the team’s concept would be to make the team better. They cannot do that if they sign Wilson to a deal that would break records.
[IMG Credits: thepassacademy.com, carpejuvenis.com, atlantablackstar.com]