Seattle Seahawks: Russell Wilson clearly among NFL’s elite quarterbacks

To those who question Russell Wilson’s value, he is an elite quarterback in the NFL and is an irreplaceable asset for the Seattle Seahawks.

Russell Wilson recently signed an extension that will make him the highest paid player in the NFL, surpassing Aaron Rodgers. The knee-jerk reaction by many people was that the Seattle Seahawks paid Wilson too much to stay and that the eighth-year quarterback is not worth his four-year, $140 million extension.

The NFL is currently full of future Hall of Fame quarterbacks, and that has built up a stacked field atop the positional hierarchy. Still, Wilson has a place among those great players and is just as deserving of his new deal as anyone. Now, this isn’t a ranking of quarterbacks, but rather just proof that Wilson belongs among the top tier.

The best quarterbacks in the NFL clearly include Rodgers, Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady. Three of those four are in or close to being included in the top 10 quarterbacks of all time and Mahomes is the reigning MVP after putting together one of the most entertaining seasons by a quarterback in history.

Once you get past those four, though, things are a lot less clear and Wilson could be argued as highly as the fifth best in the NFL. His greatest competition for that spot includes players like Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers and Carson Wentz. Those names are in alphabetical order, by the way. However, these three quarterbacks are very close to Wilson in skill and have also proven they belong among an elite class of players.

Luck’s comeback story has been one of the best in football, but that doesn’t mean he’ll elevate above Wilson. The two quarterbacks were both members of the 2012 draft class, but the Seahawks quarterback has outshone Luck so far.

Wilson has posted a quarterback rating of over 100 in four of his seven seasons, while Luck has never reached that mark and his career rating is 89.5 as opposed to Wilson’s 100.3. Despite Luck missing half of 2015 and all of 2017, he’s thrown 83 interceptions while Wilson has only thrown 63. Wilson also has a higher career completion percentage (64.2) than Luck (60.8).

Wentz would have won the MVP in 2017 if he didn’t get hurt late in the season. However, the third-year quarterback has missed eight games over the last two years while Wilson has not missed a game in his entire career. While Wentz might be able to pass Wilson eventually, he has not proven that he can consistently be available, and the Eagles have relied on Nick Foles at the end of the last two years.

If Wentz returns to MVP form, then he’ll jump Wilson in the standings, but he has not been able to match Wilson’s rare availability. In the meantime, Wilson has averaged over 500 rushing yards per season and still has a clean bill of health.

Rivers was a dark horse MVP candidate in 2018, just like Wilson was in 2017. While Rivers has been up and down at points throughout his career, his numbers over the last three seasons compare favorably to Wilson’s over the same span.

Rivers completion percentage (63.6), touchdowns (93), rating (96.1) and yards per game (275.2) all stack up well to Wilson’s completion percentage (63.7), touchdowns (90), rating (98.7) and yards per game (242.7). However, the Seattle Seahawks have won more consistently, and Wilson still got his team to the postseason in 2018-19, despite not having the wealth of offensive weapons that Rivers does.

Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan are both veterans capable of putting up big numbers, but both were on middle-of-the-road teams last season. The Seahawks have routinely been a playoff team under Wilson, who has more wins through the first seven years of his career than any other quarterback in history.

While Ryan had a horribly under-appreciated campaign last season and Roethlisberger led the league in yards, Wilson has found a consistent winning formula. At the end of the day, that’s worth more than flashy stats.

The Seattle Seahawks have one of the best quarterbacks in the game right now and the Seahawks from office made the right move when it opened its wallet to pay Wilson and secure him for the long-term. Wilson is somewhere between being the fifth to the seventh best quarterback in the league, but he’s only ever missed the playoffs once.

That’s the kind of success the Seahawks hope he’ll have for the rest of his career.