NFL

NFL: Does Russell Wilson’s Record Contract Still Undervalue His Worth?

It seems that virtually every time a quarterback signs a new contract or extension now, he sets a new record for the highest-paid player in the NFL. One of the latest beneficiaries of the trend is Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, who inked an extension with the team in April that made him the league’s top-paid player.

Even with the distinction of being paid more than any of his peers in the league, the former third-round draft pick may still be undervalued due to the MVP-caliber season he is having in 2019. Let’s explore his performance so far this season and his value to the Seahawks.

The details of Russell Wilson’s contract extension

Wilson signed his new deal with the Seahawks on April 15. It is a four-year extension that keeps him committed to the team through the 2024 season, though there is an opt-out after the 2023 campaign.

Russell Wilson’s contract also contains a full no-trade clause. The total value of the deal is $140 million, and half of that was guaranteed at signing — a $65 million signing bonus and this year’s $5 million salary. The total guarantee for the deal is $107 million, and the contract has an average annual value (AAV) of $35 million.

That AAV is the highest in the league, ahead of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, who is at $34 million per year. The players behind Wilson in the top five are all within $3 million of his AAV.

An MVP-caliber season

Taking a look at his numbers through Week 9, it’s easy to see why many people have Wilson as the favorite to win the MVP a little more than halfway through the season. He is on pace to set career highs in many offensive categories, and he is at or near the top of the league in most passing stats.

Wilson has completed 68.3% of his passes, and he has thrown for 2,505 yards and a league-high 22 touchdowns. He has thrown just one interception in the nine games, giving him an NFL-best interception percentage of just 0.3%.

His passer rating is also the best in the league, sitting at 118.2; if you prefer QBR, his 78.6 in that category also leads the league. Wilson also has three rushing touchdowns on 44 carries. With Wilson playing the way he has, the Seahawks have one of the best records in the NFL, so he has put the team in a strong position to make the playoffs come January.

How undervalued is Russell Wilson?

So how undervalued is Russell Wilson based on what he’s making in salary? Very. According to Spotrac’s value rankings — which measure players based on a mathematical comparison of their current average salary against their cumulative “production points,” based on major stat categories relative to position — Russell has a true value of 86.41, which is the highest among all quarterbacks in the league, who have played at least 60% of their team’s stats.

And the rest of the quarterbacks aren’t even close to him. Lions QB Matthew Stafford is ranked second at the position, and Spotrac calculates his true value as 68.51 — a sizable gap between Nos. 1 and 2, especially considering No. 3 — Patriots QB Tom Brady — is at 67.66, less than one point behind Stafford.

The fact that Wilson is No. 1 on the list, and the rest of the quarterbacks aren’t even close, shows that even though he’s the highest-paid player in the league he is still performing far better than anyone else at his position and the Seahawks are getting good value out of him.