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Forecasting the Guaranteed Value of Russell Wilson

Forecasting the Guaranteed Value of Russell Wilson
Untitled Document

UPDATED: Contract Forecast: Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson's future finances remain in limbo as reports continue that the two sides are plenty far apart in terms of guaranteed dollars. Wilson has long been the discussion of money, as the 3rd round pick has been hamstrung by the rookie wage scale to date, earning just $2.198 million in Seattle despite a plethora of winning and elite play. We'll assess the current value of Wilson as we near his contract year with the Seahawks, comparing his production to QBs of similar age and skill to produce a forecast for his forthcoming extension.

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 Wilson's current age (26). Here's a look at the new money for each extension signed by each. To determine a more likely starting point for our numbers, we'll perform a linear regression of each contract breakdown listed below.
Player Length Value Avg. Salary Guaranteed Age When Signed
Andy Dalton 6 $96,000,000 $16,000,000 $17,000,000 26
Cam Newton 5 $103,800,000 $20,760,000 $60,000,000 26
Colin Kaepernick 6 $114,000,000 $19,000,000 $61,000,000 26
Aaron Rodgers 5 $110,000,000.00 $22,000,000 $54,000,000 28
Averages 5.5 $105,950,000 $19,440,000 $48,000,000 26.5
At 26 years old, Wilson remains on par with the majority of our variable quarterbacks. We'll adjust the above contracts down 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)
5 $95,450,819 $19,090,163

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.
Player Games/YR Pass YDS/YR Pass YDs/G Pass TDs/G INT/YR Comp %/YR
Andy Dalton (2012-13, CIN) 16 3981 298.8 1.875 1.125 62.1
Cam Newton (2013-14, CAR) 15 3253 216.9 1.4 .83 60.2
Colin Kaepernick (2012-13, SF) 14.5 2506 172.8 1.13 0.38 59.8
Aaron Rodgers (2011-12, GB) 15.5 4469 288.3 2.7 0.45 67.6
AVERAGES 15.25 3552 244.2 1.77 .69 62.4
Russell Wilson (2013-14, SEA) 16 3416 217.2 1.43 .5 63.1
% Change 4.92% -3.84% -11.06% -19.49% 28.19% 1.08%
Average PRIME PErcentage: -.03%
Wilson nearly averages out here in terms of comparative production to our variable QBs. His yardage is a bit below the bar - but something to be expected as he picks up the slack with his ability to run with the ball, combined with the heavy workload given to RB MarShawn Lynch.

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.
Andy Dalton (2012-13, CIN) 54 152 2.81 3
Cam Newton (2013-14, CAR) 107 562 5.3 5.5
Colin Kaepernick (2012-13, SF) 78 470 6.02 4.5
Aaron Rodgers (2011-12, GB) 57 306 5.36 3.5
AVERAGES 74 372.5 4.88 4.125
Russell Wilson (2013-14, SEA) 107 694 6.5 3.5
% Change 44.59% 86.31% 33.26% -15.15%
Average PRIME PErcentage: 37.25%

As expected, Wilson is a step above the class - even surpassing Cam Newton in most statistical categories.


Length of the Contract
At 26 years old, and further instantiating himself as the long-term franchise quarterback solution in Seattle, length of contract should not be an issue here. It's somewhat prevelant for the current Seahawks front office to limit major extensions to 4 years. However in order to make the numbers fit in a manageable fashion, it seems likely that Wilson will add on 5 new years to his current 2015 season when all is said and done.

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 + 10.72% Median Prime Percentage, and an +11.16% Average Prime Percantage. Our initial base contract provided an average salary of more than $19M per year, a figure that would place him 8th among active quarterbacks. When factoring this with our Prime Figures:

Low Value (Hometown Discount)
Utilizing our Average Prime Percentage (10.72%), we're provided with a fairly modest value in terms of overall dollars and annual average:
5 years, $109,500,000 | $21,900,000 per year | $60,225,000 guaranteed
High Value
Utilizing our Average Prime Percentage (19.22%), we've given a slightly bigger forecast:
5 years, $110,020,000 | $22,004,000 per year | $61,611,200 guaranteed

Final Thoughts
The Seahawks are likely struggling with Wilson's (assumed) request for two things:

1) To surpass the $60M guaranteed mark

2) To surpass Cam Newton's $67M 3-year cash mark.

This isn't easily done in a shorter extension like Seattle generally pushes for, especially when pro-rated bonuses are involved. The 49ers were able to succeed in making Colin Kaepernick happy because of their "pay-to-play" guaranteed structure, and the heavy de-escalators based on merit. It's not likely Wilson will settle for either of these devices as he's proven durability and success in his 3 year span with the Seahawks.

When averaging our two values, we're given the following forecast for Russell Wilson's potential extension:

Spotrac's Prediction: 5 years, $109,760,000
Average annual salary $21,950,000, estimated $61,460,000 guaranteed

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