Some players lead their teams by producing on the field. Others lead by example. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had always delivered on the field. On Sunday, he used the closing moments of an NFL Week 17 game to remind fans of the leadership that explains why teammates love playing alongside him.
Wilson improvised late in Seattle’s 26-23 victory over the San Francisco 49ers to make sure teammate David Moore banked a $100,000 bonus.
David Moore is a seventh-round success story
Thanks to compensatory picks, there were 35 selections in the seventh and final round of the 2017 NFL draft. Credit the Seattle Seahawks with making the most of it, especially since only 13 of the 35 were still in the league as of the start of the season.
Picking 249thoverall, Seattle nabbed Oklahoma State running back Chris Carson, who produced 1,000-yard seasons in 2018 and ‘19. Carson ran for 681 yards in 12 games this season, but he matched his career high with 37 catches and finished with a total of nine touchdowns.
Twenty-three picks earlier, the Seahawks found receiver David Moore of East Central University, a Division II program in Ada, Oklahoma. Moore was active for only one game in his first season with Seattle, but he has been an under-the-radar contributor since. The past weekend marked his 14th start in three seasons, and he began the day with 77 career catches and 13 touchdowns.
He has also been a reliable punt returner, so keeping him wasn’t a tough decision for coach Pete Carroll when Moore’s $645,000 deal expired after last season.
Not everyone makes Russell Wilson money
While keeping David Moore may have been an easy decision for the Seattle Seahawks, paying him was more complicated. A handful of players at the top always pull down the big money, the next tier gets good money, and the guys at the end of the roster must settle for what’s left under the salary cap.
When Russell Wilson is working under the first year of a four-year, $140 million extension, someone (or several someones) must come in at the low end of the pay scale to make the budget work.
Moore arrived in camp after signing a $2.13 million, non-guaranteed tender as a restricted free agent. As cutdown day approached, the Seahawks came to him with a proposed restructuring that would reduce his money to a $75,000 bonus and an $825,000 salary. It was considerably below the tender but still a nice bump over the previous season.
Sweetening the deal, the Seahawks threw in a $100,000 incentive if Moore made 35 receptions. It was a little bit of a reach since his career high was 26, but the number seemed attainable.
Russell Wilson gives David Moore a $100,000 gift
Fourth-year receiver David Moore played all 16 games for the Seattle Seahawks this season. He caught at least one pass in each of the first 15 contests except the Week 5 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. The end of the Week 17 game would prove to be a nail-biter, and not just because the San Francisco 49ers had pulled within 26-23 with 23 seconds to play.
One second ticked off the clock as the Seahawks recovered the onside kick, but David Moore was in a terrible spot. He needed one catch to reach 35 for the season, which would trigger his $100,000 incentive. But Seattle could just kneel out the remaining time on the clock on its way to the playoffs.
Enter Russell Wilson, who was looking out for his teammate. Rather than go into victory formation, Wilson called Moore’s number on a jet sweep pass. It added five yards to Russell’s passing stats and $100,000 to Moore’s bank account.
“It’s a blessing to be able to help his family and his daughter and all that stuff,” Wilson said, according to the Seattle Times. “It was part of the game, we wanted to get him that catch and so we were able to dial that up for him that last play.’’
The impetus came from a discussion between Wilson and quarterbacks coach Austin Davis on the sideline before the series.
“Austin actually said, ‘Hey, let’s get it done; let’s get it done,’’’ Wilson said. “… So when we ended up calling it and I said, ‘Dave you’re going to get the ball right here, here we go,’ (and) kind of winked at him.’’
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.