The Seattle Seahawks have a huge issue to deal with this offseason in the form of quarterback Russell Wilson. The Seahawks drafted Wilson in 2012, which means this offseason is the first time they are allowed to negotiate a contract extension. Any extension is going to involve sizable dollars, but the Seahawks might come up with a unique option to save some space. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, sources have suggested the team could give Wilson a fully guaranteed contract in exchange for him taking a little less overall money.
We often hear reports of how big a given NFL player contract is, but in reality, they are never as big as they seem. NFL contracts include very few guarantees, at least as compared to contracts in other sports. A $100 million contract is never really that much because 1) it is not fully guaranteed, and 2) it is a virtual certainty that the contract will be restructured multiple times over the life of it.
Players recognize this, but we rarely see significant guarantees in exchange for less money. But this is also something that teams are not overly inclined to do. Injury concerns are one reason, but there is also the fact that it can hurt cash flow. If a player signs a deal that includes future base salaries or bonuses that are guaranteed for skill, that money has to be placed in an escrow account when the deal is signed. The most recent example where this came up was Tom Brady's contract. He had $24 million guaranteed for skill or injury, and that $24 million was placed in an escrow account. However, in December, he agreed to remove the skill guarantee, and that freed up that money from the escrow account. It had no impact on the New England Patriots salary cap, but did have a sizable impact on cash flow.
Every team has their budgeted cash flow, but it's safe to say the Seahawks would be willing to take some chances when it comes to Wilson. Paul Allen is among the richest people in the world. I don't imagine he is unloading much of his personal fortune into the Seahawks, but cash flow is not going to be an issue for the team anytime soon. If the Seahawks and Wilson can agree on a lower overall contract, but load up on guaranteed money, it makes a lot of sense. There is always the concern about Wilson getting hurt, but they view him as their franchise quarterback.
This is merely based on Rapoport's recent report, so this does not mean a fully guaranteed deal will happen. Field Gulls took a look at another option, which involved Wilson playing out his rookie deal, and then the Seahawks using the franchise tag in 2016 and 2017. There was discussion of that as an option for Colin Kaepernick when he was up for a new contract. I would be surprised if the Seahawks and Wilson were unable to get a deal done.