Contract Forecast: Russell Wilson

Contract Forecast: Russell Wilson
Untitled Document

Contract Forecast: Russell Wilson

At just 25 years of age, Seahawks' quarterback Russell Wilson is already on top of the world. The former third round selection in the 2012 draft is the face of his franchise, the toast of his town, and a Super Bowl champion, all in a matter of 2 years. Now five weeks into the 2014 season, Wilson is showing no signs of slowing down, as he and the Seahawks sit tied for 1st in the NFC West at 3-1. The only apparent piece left in his young career's puzzle, is the big contract.

Wilson will become extension-eligible after the 2014 season, a notion that would normally have a franchise on pins and needles. But the character and overall general attitude shown from the young leader has most thinking the process to negotiate a long-term, well-built contract will be swift and painless. There's really little room to argue if you're the Seahawks. Wilson is the complete package, having carried the team with his arm, his legs, his brain, and in the press room as well. He's the ultimate competitor mixed with the ultimate face of the team - a modern day Tom Brady.

With this being said, we've put Wilson through our forecast formula, pressing him up against four variable quarterbacks of similar skill and age to compare his statistical production both in the passing and rushing game over the past two seasons. In terms of Wilson, we'll use his statistics from the 2012 & 2013 season, while also projecting out his current 2014 figures for a full 16 games. The result will be a large, but doable forecast for Russell Wilson's next contract in Seattle.

Comparable Quarterbacks
To generate a prediction the Spotrac team determined that the following quarterbacks were viable targets to use in comparing with Wilson. The key was to locate players with similar numbers, who signed their second contract around the age of 26, the age Wilson will be come the offseason. To determine a more likely starting point for our numbers, we'll perform a linear regression of each contract listed below.
Player Length Value Avg. Salary Guaranteed Age When Signed
Aaron Rodgers 4 $110,000,000.00 $20,000,000 $20,000,000.00 30
Colin Kaepernick 6 $114,000,000 $19,000,000 $61,000,000 26
Alex Smith 4 $68,000,000 $17,000,000 $45,000,000 30
Andy Dalton 6 $96,000,000 $16,000,00 $17,000,000 26
Averages 5.25 $97,000,000 $18,500,000.00 $44,250,000.00 27
At 26 years old, Wilson should sign this deal at the same age that Kaepernick and Dalton did. However Rodgers and Smith were both older at the time of their deals. We'll adjust their contracts up to reflect each as if it were signed at the age of 26 to provide a better scope for our base prediction.

Related:  View the list of Top Average Paid Quarterbacks in the NFL
Length Value Avg. Salary (slope)
6 $112,680,000 $18,780,000

Passing Statistical Comparisons
We'll first assess Wilson as a Passing QB only, comparing him to our variable QBs in terms of Games Played, Passing Yards per Season, Passing Yards per Game, Passing Touchdowns per Seasons, Interceptions per Season, and Completion % per Season.
  Passing Statistics
Player G/YR YDS/YR YDs/G TDs/YR INT/YR Comp %/YR
Andy Dalton (2012-13, CIN) 16 3981 298.8 30 318 62.1
Alex Smith (2012-13, KC) 12.5 2525 202 18 6 63.5
Colin Kaepernick (2012-13, SF) 14.5 2506 172.8 16.5 5.5 59.8
Aaron Rodgers (2011-12, GB) 15.5 4469 288.3 42 7 67.6
AVERAGES 14.625 3370.25 240.4 26.625 9.125 63.25
Russell Wilson (2012-14, SEA) 16 3294 205.8 28 7.6 64.4
% Change 9.40% -2.26% -14.42% 5.16% 16.71% 1.82%
Average PRIME PErcentage: 2.74%
It shouldn't shock anyone that Wilson holds up remarkably well in terms of passing statistics. While his yards per game and season are slightly lower than our combined variables, he finds the endzone through the air just as much - and turns the ball over much less. We'll factor both of these figures into our work below.

RushingStatistical Comparisons
Now let's take a look at how these quarterbacks rate in terms of rushing statistics. We'll compare Rushing Attempts per Season, Rushing Yards per Season, Rushing Yards per Attempt, and Rushing Touchdowns per Season.
  Rushing Statistics
Andy Dalton (2012-13, CIN) 54 152 2.81 3
Alex Smith (2012-13, KC) 53.5 282 5.27 .5
Colin Kaepernick (2012-13, SF) 78 470 6.02 4.5
Aaron Rodgers (2011-12, GB) 57 306 5.36 3.5
AVERAGES 60.625 302.5 4.87 2.875
Russell Wilson (2012-14, SEA) 102 621 4.99 3
% Change 68.25% 105.29% 2.46% 4.35%
Average PRIME PErcentage: 45.09%

As expected, Wilson absolutely dominates this comparison. He attempts 40% more rushes, accounting for more than double the yardage with the ball in his hands. While he's fairly inline with our variable quarterbacks in the passing game, he's FAR ahead of them in terms of these statistics


Length of the Contract
At 26 years old, and having already instantiated himself as the long-term franchise quarterback solution in Seattle, it's perfectly likely the the Seahawks will choose to extend Wilson through the year 2021. As most of the recent quarterback extensions are adding 6 new years on, we'll follow suit here.

Value of the Contract
In terms of mathematics, and in the general role of the quarterback position across the league, it doesn't make sense to weigh the passing analysis and the rushing analysis evenly. With that being said, we'll apply our prime pecentages at a 70/30 ratio between the two categories respectively. This means we'll assess Wilson at a + 13.3 Median Prime Percentage, and a +15.45 Average Prime Percentage. Our initial base contract provided an average salary of nearly $18.8M per year, a figure that would place him 7th among active quarterbacks.

Final Thoughts
The Seahawks have done will in not waiting too long to lock in their prime players, at prime positions. While many feel they reached a bit with Percy Harvin's $64M contract, they're overpaying for a position of need - and in his case a multi-tool weapon. The same should be said for Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas - who quarterback the secondary of the defense. The x-factor heading into the 2015 season will be the contract of Marshawn Lynch. While the bruising back is still producing at a top level, the soon to be 29 year old may be too rich for the cap at $8.5M. While the Seahawks aren't currently in cap trouble for 2015 (40 players allocated to $110M), they may need to get creative to keep the current team intact.

When factoring in and averaging out our two Prime Percentages, we're given the following forecast for Russell Wilson's extension:

Spotrac's Prediction: 6 years, $129,000,000
Average annual salary $21,500,000, estimated $64,000,000 guaranteed

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