Show Him the Money: Russell Wilson’s Above His Pay Grade
What do NFL quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Joe Flacco and Peyton Manning have in common? They’ve all won at least one Super Bowl, and they’re all going to be paid at least 25 million dollars in 2014; Rodgers will earn $40 million, Brady $31 million, Flacco $30 million and Manning $25 million. Of course, there are also plenty of quarterbacks who haven’t won a Super Bowl who will be rewarded handsomely: Matthew Stafford will make $31.5 million in 2014, Matt Ryan $30 million and Tony Romo $26.5 million. As the faces of their franchises, they’re being rewarded appropriately.
Drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft, five spots after a punter, quarterback Russell Wilson wasn’t expected to do a lot in 2012. He wasn’t even expected to start. The Seahawks had spent big money acquiring Matt Flynn from the Green Bay Packers, and everyone thought the job would be his until Wilson was ready, if that even happened. Instead, Wilson won the job outright, making his first start in the first game of 2012. Despite being in contention for Rookie of the Year and leading his team to the playoffs, Wilson was paid like a third round draft pick, and no one batted an eye. Then, in 2013, the 5’11 Wilson led the Seahawks to the Super Bowl, where they thumped the favored Denver Broncos, 43-8.
Wilson was paid $526,217 in 2013.
Deservedly, Wilson will be paid more in 2014. Unfortunately for him, “more” only means $662,434. To put that in perspective, fellow Super Bowl winning quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be paid roughly 60 times that in 2014. Peyton Manning, the guy Wilson beat in the Super Bowl, will earn roughly 37 times more.
But hey, it’s out of Wilson’s hands, and it’s even out of the Seahawks’ hands, right? The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement states that rookie contracts can’t be renegotiated until three seasons have passed, and Wilson’s entering just his third season in the league. Fine – I’m sure Wilson can stomach making less than his Super Bowl winning peers. But what about those quarterbacks who haven’t even seen Super Bowl fireworks?
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has led his team to exactly one playoff appearance and one playoff loss since he was drafted first overall in 2009 will make roughly 47 times more than Wilson in 2014. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will make roughly 45 times more. Do I even need to say how much more Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will make?
But hey, Wilson’s a team player. He recognizes that his low salary allows the Seahawks to stock up on weapons. Weapons like back-up quarterbacks Tarvaris Jackson and Terrell Pryor, who will make $1.25M and $705K in 2014, respectively, while sitting on the bench.