Russell Wilson is the only man happier than 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo about his new deal. The San Francisco 49ers just made Wilson a very rich man.
Ordinarily, it isn’t big news when another team signs a big contract with a star player. We do talk about the Seahawks here, after all. But in this case, it impacts our star player, Russell Wilson. That’s not even including the impact this contract has on the long rivalry between the two teams.
We’ll get to the on-field impact another time. For now, let’s look at how the contract itself affects the Seahawks. As we just wrote yesterday, Wilson was traded to the New York Yankees. There has been some talk if this a subtle message about other revenue possibilities for Wilson. Personally, I think he just wants to wear pinstripes and swing the bat a few times.
We all knew that Jimmy Garoppolo was going to get a nice fat contract. We just weren’t sure it was going to be with San Francisco. CBS Sports, among many others, reported that the 49ers signed their new quarterback to a five year deal worth $137.5 million. The average salary is a cool half million more than Matthew Stafford’s previous record contract. Oh, there’s more. $74 million of that is guaranteed. That’s $7.4 million per career start, if you were wondering.
I’ll give Garoppolo credit. He took a bad 1-10 team and turned them into the league’s best 6-10 team. The 49ers beat three playoff-bound teams to close the season. They punished two pretty good defenses in the Jaguars and the Rams, too.
So what is Russell Wilson worth?
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Garoppolo is good, no doubt. But he’s “proven” himself over seven career starts. I don’t think he’s going to be the new Scott Mitchell, or Matt Flynn, not at all. But he has a long way to go to be the new Russell Wilson. Garoppolo is 26, and shows a lot of promise. By age 26, Wilson had played in two Super Bowls and won one. His passer ratings in those games were 123 and 110.
Russell Wilson had tossed 72 touchdowns and just 26 interceptions by age 26. He’d thrown for 9,950 yards and run for another 1,877. He’d scored 11 rushing touchdowns as well. All by age 26. Yes, Garoppolo was blocked in New England, so didn’t have the chance to prove what he could do. It doesn’t change the fact that Russell Wilson has proven what he can do year after year.
Last time his contract was up, Wilson said he wanted to be the highest paid player in the league. He almost made it, coming in second only to Aaron Rodgers. There’s no shame in finishing second to that guy in anything. Back in 2015, Wilson signed for four years and $87.6 million, over $61 million of it guaranteed. His next contract will easily double that. Especially when you consider Kirk Cousins hasn’t signed what will almost certainly be the new NFL record-breaking contract.
Wilson has made it clear he wants an extension before he begins the final year of his current contract, which pays him through 2019. I don’t know what it’s going to take to keep Wilson with the Seahawks this time, but I’m afraid it’s going to make that new paperwork in San Francisco look like backup money.