Due for a new contract with the Seahawks after this season, the NFL world is buzzing about what might happen with a Russell Wilson extension, especially when it comes to speculation about what might happen if it doesn't happen.
But neither side seems to be panicking about the eventuality of this deal getting done, even with the looming April 15 deadline Wilson and his camp reportedly gave the Seahawks back in January.
Even as national media throws a party trying to create unrealistic trade fodder, there's no chance Wilson won't be back in Seattle. And he's certainly not going to be replaced by Jacoby Brissett.
Sorry, Andy Benoit.
So what will the deal have to look like for the Seahawks and Russell Wilson to come away happy with the quarterback's future firmly planted in Seattle?
Let's start with the benchmark deal to beat. Aaron Rodgers signed a historic four-year, $134 million deal with the Packers last August, including $98.2 million guaranteed. Rodgers' annual average salary is $33.5 million, a number Wilson most certainly wants to beat.
If Wilson only wants fair market value and not some outside-the-box, baseball-type deal as reported, that's the contract Seattle has to beat, It's as simple as that, or at least it should be.
First off, Rodgers was nearing his 35th birthday when he signed his deal and Wilson won't be 31 until well after 2019 season starts. As a result, the Seahawks should feel comfortable giving Wilson at least one more year than Rodgers. He's younger and has proven throughout his career he's more durable than Rodgers.
Wilson should get at least five years and should get more money than Rodgers to establish a new benchmark. As is customary when a top player at a position is up for an extension, he'll will be able to "set the market." With Rodgers getting $33.5 million per year, Wilson's range will likely be around $35 million per year or more, which would be the largest contract per year in NFL history.
If Wilson were to get a five-year contract worth $35 million a year, the deal would be worth a combined $175 million.
Surely, Wilson will also want a boatload of guaranteed money at signing, as the Packers gave Rodgers' whopping $57.5 million guaranteed right off the bat.
Seattle doesn't typically go beyond year one for fully-guaranteed money, which has been a sticking point in negotiations to this stage, but Wilson is not your typical player or even star quarterback. He has been one of the most reliable athletes in all of sports and should be rewarded as such.
Consequently, the Seahawks should offer an even $60 million due at signing to sweeten the deal, with another $40 million or more guaranteed on the way, bringing the grand total of guarantees to a nice, round number of $100 million, slightly beating Rodgers' $98.2 million and equaling Falcons star Matt Ryan.
The Seahawks could also wiggle free a little more cap space if they guarantee the money up front and lower his cap hit from the $25.3 million for 2019.
There's no guarantee Wilson and his camp would accept the offer. Perhaps there are things behind closed doors being said and done to suggest otherwise, but this offer should at least be on the table. Even if it serves as little more than a spark for negotiations, that's a large stepping stone with time quickly running out to make a deal.