Why Russ Wilson is worth the money

Don’t call Russell Wilson just a running quarterback, writes Ben Stockwell. Here is why he’s worth his mega-contract extension.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

(AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

Why Russ Wilson is worth the money

The protracted contract negotiations between Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks finally came to a conclusion last Friday, with the Seahawks doing what they had to: paying the going price for a good quarterback. We have seen inferior quarterbacks to Wilson get bigger deals than this (Wilson’s four-year, $87.6 million deal leaves him outside the “$100 million quarterback” club), but on a per-year basis Wilson will be making nearly as much as Aaron Rodgers.

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone willing to make the argument that Wilson is as good as Rodgers, and if so, that person wouldn’t want to cite our numbers. Rodgers is the No. 1 QB in the NFL in terms of our PFF rating heading into 2015, while Wilson ranks ninth.

But the commonly used argument that Wilson is someone who merely benefits from the talented Seahawks roster around him isn’t true, either. The truth is that it is a mutually beneficial relationship, and Wilson has been very productive since his rookie season in 2012.

Wilson’s production on the ground has been well-documented, but he also uses his legs to open up the passing game when his offensive line lets him down (which happens all too often). No quarterback was forced to scramble more often than Wilson last season (115) and he collected 569 passing yards on 70 attempts on scrambles.

And while Wilson is not a conventional quarterback in the traditional NFL mold, he has finished inside the top 10 in PFF’s adjusted QB rating in each of his seasons in the NFL, and was a top 10 passer in PFF grade until last season when he ranked 19th.

Wilson may not be Rodgers, but he doesn’t have to be in order to make this a good deal for Seattle. The team made the right move in locking him up for the long term.

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

  • Ryan Crinnigan

    Skeptical of this new tilt toward multiple mini-paragraph chunks of “analysis” (aka Internet content). Just keep pumping out those numbers.

    • nonono

      I completely agree

  • King Pelé

    People needs to stop underestimate Wilson just because he plays with a great defense. Big Ben played with a great defense almost his entire career and i’ve never seen anyone questioning his talent, and some other players also had great defenses at their sides but played total s*it like Rex Grossman. Wilson is a good player and he deserves this contract.

    • http://www.ColtsAcademy.com/ Josh Boeke

      I think it’s a combination of the talent on his defense, the dominance of Lynch and the fact that Wilson just doesn’t throw very much (23rd in YPG last season). He’s very efficient when he does, but until people see him throwing as many times as Ben does (or any other top tier QB) while still maintaining that efficiency, people will remain skeptical. Obviously he’s also a very effective runner, which is underrated by many, but QB play is still judged primarily by passing numbers, fairly or unfairly.

      • mikeakrish

        Thank you for regurgitating a national narrative

        But, fact is, since 2012, when passing deep (15+ yds in air) Russell Wilson's Seahawks rank 2nd in yds/att & 1stDwn%. pic.twitter.com/jvGOXYHTiQ— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball)

        In the 15 games Russell Wilson has thrown 30+ times, he is 321/473 67.8% 260 YPG 24TD/6INT 98.5 QB Rating. Also: 706 yards rushing, 4TD.— Brett Wise (@thebrettwise) August 5, 2015

      • Taylor Christian Vance

        Reminds me of an early career Big Ben, in terms of the load these two QB’s had to carry in their early years.

  • Gordon Paesani

    Let’s wait and see if this RB can lead a less talented team.