What a salary cap-based contract could look like for Wilson

Salary cap logoRussell Wilson apparently does indeed want his new contract to be tied to a percentage of the salary cap.

We had thought he just wanted $35 million a year and at least 63 percent guaranteed at signing, based on what insider Jake Heaps said. But he wants all of the above — which is quite a demand.

The Seahawks apparently are willing to hit the APY, but would they guarantee a percentage of the cap — either entirely or for part of the deal?

They could give him a new four-year deal worth $140 million — basically reworking his $17 million for 2019 into a five-year, $157 million contract with a $60 million signing bonus. They could guarantee $108 million of the total, which would be 69 percent. Of that, $91 million (65 percent) would be new money.

That would slot his percentage of new full guarantees at No. 2 in the NFL behind Kirk Cousins’ 100 percent (entire $84 million), but Wilson would be second in guaranteed money per year ($22.75 million, behind Cousins’ $28 million). Of course, Seattle would have to forgo its rolling guarantees and fully promise the second year (2021) at signing.

The 2019 cap hit would remain $25.3 million (just paid out differently) and the cap hits for 2020-23 could be set at $32 million, $35 million, $36 million and $37 million. Assuming the salary cap continues its trajectory through 2023, Wilson’s cap percentages on those salaries would be 16 percent, 16.7 percent, 16.4 percent and 16.1 percent.

Rather than the escalating salary percentages (15-18) proposed by Mike Florio, the Seahawks might be willing to promise salary cap percentages at a flat 16 percent — but no guaranteed money past 2021, except on their usual annual rolling basis (typically guaranteed five days after the Super Bowl).

If this deal were amenable to all, Wilson could be comfortable in knowing he wouldn’t lose any money if the salary cap ballooned beyond its standard $10 million annual raise. Gambling revenue, a renegotiated CBA and new TV deals all figure to impact the cap, likely starting in 2021.

So, if the 2021 cap jumped to $225 million, Wilson’s cap number would be set at $36 million, which would net him an extra $1 million over the standard projection. If the 2022 cap then bumped as high as $250 million, Wilson’s cap hit would accelerate to $40 million — a $4 million raise. And he might get an extra $6.5 million in 2023. If that all happened, his deal could end up worth maybe $152 million ($38 million per year).

Another way to do it would be to simply lock his salaries at 16 percent of the cap, with the first three years fully guaranteed. In the above scenario, that could mean full guarantees of anywhere from $100 million to maybe $108 million. And then the final year (2023) could be worth anything from $36.8 million to perhaps $44 million — the full deal worth at least $140 million and as much as $152 million (or more, if the cap starts to jump by more than the 11 or 12 percent posited above).

The Seahawks probably would never fully guarantee that kind of deal, or even three years of it, due to the nebulous value. But, if they were at least willing to include the cap tie-in on their usual annual rolling guarantee basis, would they consider it? And would Wilson accept it?

We’re about to find out …


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