Ryan Tannehill contract should help Russell Wilson and Seahawks reach deal


The Miami Dolphins and quarterback Ryan Tannehill have signed a massive new contract extension. While normally such a deal by another team would have little effect on the Seattle Seahawks, that isn’t the case here. Tannehill’s deal should provide the framework necessary to the Seahawks and Russell Wilson to finally get a deal completed.

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Tannehill’s extension is for four seasons, but since he had one year remaining on his rookie contract he will be under contract through the 2020 season. Financial terms include $96 million in salary and bonuses, including $45 million guaranteed.

This deal should work as a framework the Seahawks and Wilson to complete a deal of their own. Wilson is likely to get slightly more in terms of money and guarantees. Overall, Tannehill’s deal should decrease the gap between what the Seahawks are offering and what Wilson is expecting.

There is no way that the Seahawks can offer Wilson less than $45 million in guarantees now. If they were offering $35 million in their latest offer, it should now be clear that they must increase their offer in order to match market value.

In the same way, if Wilson’s camp was asking for something outrageous like $80 million guaranteed, Tannehill’s deal will be an obvious sign that they must reduce their asking price. How far they would need to reduce it will be debatable, but anything over $60 million is probably out of line.

It is important to note the Seattle’s success over the last three seasons vs. Miami’s mediocrity will have very little effect on Wilson’s market value. Contrary to what many fans think, statistical production and NFL salaries aren’t particularly well correlated.

There simply isn’t a second tier when it comes to quarterback salaries. All established starters, from Drew Brees to Aaron Rodgers to Andy Dalton and Jay Cutler are all paid very similarly. The complete lack of capable starting NFL quarterbacks forces teams to pay all of them a similar market value despite very different talent levels.

So while Wilson will get more in total money and guarantees than Tannehill received it won’t be excessively more. Tannehill’s deal has set the market, all that’s left is to see how much the Seahawks allow Wilson’s agents to deviate from those numbers.

Ultimately, this is a good thing for Seahawks fans. Hopefully we will now see Russell Wilson locked up to a long-term extension in the near future.

Next: What's next for the Seahawks this offseason?

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