In April 2019, Russell Wilson became the highest-paid player in the NFL on an annual basis when he signed a $140 million, four-year extension with the Seattle Seahawks. The deal also included a $65 million signing bonus.
Wilson, whose team made the divisional round of the 2019-2020 playoffs, was the 75th overall pick in the 2012 draft. He immediately took over as the starting quarterback and earned $750,000 his rookie year. While that’s enormous compared to the average American’s salary, it’s relatively cheap for a starting quarterback.
In 2015, he signed his second contract with Seattle, which paid $88 million over four years.
Today, with an average annual salary of $35 million, Wilson is earning more than 40 times his rookie salary.
He has additional income coming in from endorsement deals with Nike, Mercedes, Bose and more. Plus, he’s dipping his toe into the business world: Wilson launched a mobile gaming app called Tally, which is backed by investors like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai, and he started a fashion line called Good Man Brand.
The 31-year-old likes to share his wealth when he can: After signing the $140 million contract in 2019, he gave $156,000 worth of Amazon stock to his 13 offensive linemen (the teammates assigned to block for and protect him on the field).
“You sacrifice your physical and mental well-being to protect me, which in turn allows me to provide care for my family,” Wilson wrote in a letter to his linemen. “Now it is my turn to return the favor.”
He also launched the Why Not You Foundation in 2014, with the mission of motivating and empowering today’s youth.