Omission of 17th game check trims new-money average of Russell Wilson deal to $48.52 million

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It’s been a great week for Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson. But just a hair less great than it could have been.

He still has a new seven-year, $296 million contract with the Broncos; that hasn’t changed. However, as it relates to where he lands on the much-ballyhooed new-money average rankings, he’s not quite as close to $50 million per year as believed.

Per a league source, Wilson’s new contract did not reflect the value of the 17th game checks to which he was entitled for the remaining two years of his contract. His base salary of $19 million for 2022 was actually $20,117,647, given that he would have gotten one more game check in the amount of $1,117,647 under his previous deal. In 2023, he would have gotten not $22 million (his adjusted base given an escalator he earned) but $23,294,117.

The 2020 CBA, which expanded the regular season from 16 to 17 games, gives players with pre-existing contract an extra weekly game check, in the amount of 1/17th of their prior salary — since in a 16-game season they received 17 checks (16 games and one bye-week check).

So instead of having old-money in the amount of $41 million in base salaries, Wilson actually had $43,411,764. This reduces the new money under the deal from $245 million to $242,588,236. Which reduces the new-money average from $49 million to $48.517 million.

Again, it doesn’t change the full payout of $296 million over seven years. But it definitely changes the manner in which the highest-paid quarterbacks should be listed by annual new-money average, with the gap between Aaron Rodgers and Wilson nearly $500,000 more per year than it was thought to be.

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