Russell Wilson is king on the football field, and there’s no denying his athleticism and unparalleled instinct as a quarterback for the Denver Broncos. That’s why the American professional footballer is among the highest-paid NFL stars, commanding per-season earnings in the tens of millions.
How Much Is NFL Star Russell Wilson Worth?
In April 2012, Russell Carrington Wilson was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks. Despite his height, he was already an accomplished college football player. The then University of Wisconsin quarterback was the 75th pick, selected sixth behind Brandon Weeden, Ryan Tannehill, Robert Griffin III, Brock Osweiler, and Andrew Luck.
Since the average quarterback is 6 feet 3 inches, Wilson’s 5′ 11″ was considered a disadvantage, but he was still signed on a $750,000 contract by the Seahawks. That might sound like a windfall for a rookie, but as a starting quarterback, it was relatively cheap, considering how much he’d make after his resignation.
Besides being among the highest-paid players in the league’s history, Wilson holds multiple records in the NFL. He led the Seahawks to 36 victories in his first three seasons in the super bowl and, before that, had helped the Wisconsin Badgers to a 2012 rose bowl win, besides a big ten title.
In 2019, Russell Wilson signed a four-year contract extension with the Seattle Seahawks for $140 million, and as of June 2023, his net worth is estimated at $175 million. In March 2022, he was traded to the Denver Broncos, after which he signed a $245 million extension, including a guaranteed $165 million.
Russell Wilson’s Early Life and Education
Russell Wilson was born in Cincinnati’s Christ Hospital in Ohio on November 29, 1988, to lawyer father Benjamin Wilson III and Tammy Wilson, a nurse director. He spent his early days in Richmond, Virginia, alongside his two siblings, older brother Harrison IV and younger sister Anna.
Harrison B. Wilson Jr. was Russell’s grandfather, a Kentucky state university football and basketball player. His great-grandfather was enslaved and, after the American civil war, was liberated by a colonel in the Confederate army.
Wilson started playing football at the age of four with his brother and father, and in sixth grade, he participated in his first official game. While that organized match was for his minor club, the Tuckahoe Tomahawks, it was in high school that he distinguished himself as a player.
He finished his four years with all region, district, and state honors, along with a feature in Sports Illustrated during his senior year. Later, he played at a summer football camp for promising players called Manning Passing Academy in high school.
Future quarterback, multiple NFL MVP winner, and Hall of Famer Peyton Manning was the director at the Manning Academy. He recognized Wilson’s talent and remembered him several years later when he arrived at the Broncos to discuss the possibility of playing for Denver, where Manning was a recent signing.
At the Richmond Preparatory Collegiate School, Russell Wilson excelled in other sports like basketball and baseball, for which his abilities were recognized. At this juncture, he had chosen not to follow a football career and turned to college education and baseball.
Russell Wilson’s Sports Career
Right out of high school, Russell Wilson was selected in the first-round draft of Major League Baseball by one of the wealthiest teams, the Baltimore Orioles. He enrolled in North Carolina state university and played football successfully despite missing a chance at accessing the NFL Scouting Combine.
2011 Wilson surprised everyone when he declared his intentions to play professional baseball, reporting to spring training camp with the Colorado Rockies. He played minor league for the next two summers without significant success, and he also changed schools, spending an extra year at Madison University, Wisconsin.
It wasn’t until January 2012 that Wilson stunned his family and friends again by revealing he would begin to prepare for the forthcoming NFL Scout Combine. When he declared for the draft, he was viewed as a middle-round prospect and was selected in the third round as a 75th overall pick by the third round by the Seattle Seahawks.
That same year, Russell Wilson was selected for the Pro Bowl, and as a result, the Seahawks came close to becoming repeat super bowl winners. They were overcome by the New England Patriots and Tom Brady, who beat them in the XLIX Super Bowl, 28-24.
Russell Wilson’s High School, College, and Professional Football Career
The Richmond collegiate school is the preparatory academy where Russell Wilson perfected his football, basketball, and baseball skills. He completed 3009 yards passing 34 touchdowns, 18 touchdowns, 1132 rushing yards, and seven interceptions in his senior year. Wilson won the awards for all-state and all-conference player of the year, besides being class president, and was featured in a sports magazine.
In his first year at college in North Carolina, Russell Wilson was redshirted at the start of the season but spent the next year as a part-time player splitting with quarterbacks Daniel Evans and Harrison Beck. During this time, he threw 186 yards, rushed 46, and made touchdowns in the Papa John’s Bowl.
2008 and 2010 saw Wilson becoming the first freshman to be named quarterback of the pre-season all-AAC, beating the record of 325 without inception passing yards held by Andre Woodson. He was runner-up for the all-AAC award and was named all-AAC player for the second team before graduating college with a communication degree in the fall semester.
In September 2012, Russell Wilson debuted in the game against the Arizona Cardinals with 18 completions, one passing touchdown, and an interception. However, the match ended in a 20-16 loss, but he had a stellar week 10 performance against the New York Giants, which was a victory.
In 2014, he won his lone super bowl championship when his team, the Seattle Seahawks, beat the Denver Broncos 43-8 in super bowl XLVII.
Russell Wilson’s Professional Football Career with the Seattle Seahawks
Playing for the Seahawks proved the right choice for Wilson as he won numerous awards, including the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year, and countless passing touchdowns.
Along with Matt Hasselbeck, Marcus Trufant, and Bobby Wagner, he ended up one of the team’s most outstanding players. He was ranked 10th in the NFL top 100 by the end of the 2016 season and scored the highest passing ratings for the Seattle team. Wilson broke several records for passing with the Seahawks, including the most touchdowns and passing yards.
Russell Wilson is one of only two quarterbacks to have an over 100 career passer rating in the history of the NFL, and the Seahawks regarded him as royalty. He was made captain for the 2018 season and, despite player setbacks, led his team valiantly. Through seven seasons, he holds the current record for most quarterback wins and signing the league’s most expensive contract ever.
For How Much Did the Seahawks Trade Russell Wilson to the Broncos?
The Seattle Seahawks signed Wilson on a four-year contract in 2019 for $140 million, including a $65 million signing bonus. Since $107 million was guaranteed as a payout on transfer, he carried over the contract when the Broncos acquired him at the beginning of the 2022 campaign.
That means he was to complete the remaining two years of his contract in Denver at $24 million for the 2022 season and $27 million for 2023. The Broncos then announced in September 2022 that they’d agreed on an extension to five years, bringing the total to $245 million.
If Russell Wilson ticks all the boxes needed to get the total payout of his Broncos extension, he will earn $475.6 million on the field as career earnings. It was a huge bet for the Denver team as the agreement came a couple of weeks after the finalization of its $4.65 billion purchase by the Walton-Penner family.
Russell Wilson’s Salary and Endorsements
After the $140 million contract extension with the Seattle Seahawks on April 15, 2019, Russell Wilson became the highest-paid athlete in the NFL. He earned a $65 million signing bonus for that deal and took home a $48.5 million annual salary for all the matches played that season.
The Seahawks contract earned Wilson an approximate $107 million guaranteed income, and he received a signing bonus when he was traded to the Broncos. By the time his $245 million contract expires in Denver, his 5-year extension will see him earn at least $161 million.
In 2022, Russell Wilson earned an annual salary of $49 million, which places him in front of Kyler Murray at $46.1 million and behind Aaron Rodgers at $50.3 million. A finger injury saw him placed on reserve for the 2023 season, which means he may miss at least three games, affecting his total earnings for this year.
Russell Wilson has also appeared in multiple endorsements for reputable brands, including Duracell, Boardroom, Amazon, Alaska Air Group, Aerobie, Good Man, and American Family Insurance. He’s also clinched endorsement deals with Wilson sporting goods, Mercedes Benz, United Way, Levi’s, and Braun.
Other endorsement endeavors include Nike, Bose, Microsoft, Reliant Recovery Water, and Luvo, a frozen fast food company for which Wilson earns approximately $14 million.
Besides these lucrative endorsements, Wilson became NFL FLAG’s chairman in 2020, an organization that recruits young athletes across the globe. The 34-year-old is also an ambassador for the Charles Ray III Diabetes Association.
Russell Wilson’s Business Investments and Other Income Sources
Besides his prowess on the football field and the multitudes of multi-million dollar endorsements following Russell Wilson, he’s an astute businessman and an expert in personal investments. In the sports scene, he has invested in a project to promote an Oregon Minor League Baseball team called the Portland Diamond Project.
Wilson partnered with Erik and Pete Nordstrom, NBA player Wally Walker and hedge fund manager Chris Hansen to develop a sports arena in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood. The project, which aims to provide a venue for future NHL and NBA teams, was announced in 2014.
In 2015, Russell Wilson invested $7 million in VICIS, a football helmet manufacturing company, and mattress maker Molecule, which he has endorsed since 2018. Wilson and his wife, musician, and model Ciara, took joint ownership of the Seattle Sounders FC, a major league soccer club, in 2019.
Besides these collaborated investments, Wilson has ventured on his own, such as West2East Empire, a brand management firm overseeing two production companies. He launched Good Man Brand, his Seattle-based clothing line, in 2016 and partnered with Juice Press to launch its first franchise.
In 2017, Russell Wilson founded a platform where fans can connect with celebrities called TraceMe. It features an app and boasts Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Alibaba’s Joe Tsai, and YouTube’s Chad Hurley among its investors.
Russell Wilson’s Private and Public Personas
Away from the football field and business endeavors, Russell Wilson is a Christian and often mentions his faith whenever given a chance. He has a robust social media presence with over 5 million Instagram and Twitter followers and a Facebook profile followed by 2.3 million people.
Relationship-wise, Wilson has been blessed with two steady relationships that have ended in marriages, albeit the one divorce. He met Ashton Meem in high school in Richmond, Virginia, a star athlete who enrolled at the University of Georgia while at North Carolina State.
Ashton followed Russell Wilson to Wisconsin when he moved there in 2010, and the couple got married in January 2012. However, they divorced in April 2014 and have maintained an amicable relationship.
Wilson began dating singer, songwriter, and model Ciara in 2015, and they pledged to remain celibate until they married. In mid-march 2016, they announced their engagement and had a wedding at a castle in Cheshire, England, in July of that year.
Ciara and Wilson welcomed their daughter, Sienna Princess Wilson, on April 29, 2017, besides Ciara’s son from a previous relationship with rapper Future, named Future Zahir Wilburn. The couple announced they were expecting their second child together in January 2020, and on July 23, Win Harrison Wilson was born.
Despite Wilson and his wife Ciara being superstars in their respective fields, they’ve kept their relationship and marriage strong for the last seven years. Their union is just as celebrated are
Russell Wilson’s Philanthropy and Notable Purchases
In the Seattle philanthropic community, Russell Wilson is quite active, and he takes time during the NFL season by visiting the Seattle Children’s Hospital every week. In 2016, his ‘Why Not You’ Foundation presented an over $1 million check to the hospital towards its Strong Against Cancer Program.
Wilson and his wife Ciara partnered with Food Lifeline to donate one million meals to needy people during the pandemic. They wrote a children’s book titled Why Not You to help kids pursue their dreams and donated $500,000 to Colorado nonprofits in 2022.
In 2012 Wilson donated the proceeds from the youth club to the Charles Ray III Diabetes Association, for which he is the national ambassador. He also co-hosts a charity golf tournament annually at the Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum, Washington, east of Seattle, with Kasey Kahne, a NASCAR driver.
When he breaks off-season, Wilson puts on the Russell Wilson Passing Academy for young players and visits a local military base. Some of Wilson’s notable purchases include houses that he’s bought by himself and with his wife Ciara and his car collection.
In 2015 he purchased a Bellevue, Washington waterfront mansion that had been on the market since 2010, worth $6.7 million, and located on Lake Washington. However, he put the house back on the market in 2022 for $28 million as he wanted a change of scenery and instead bought a $25 million property in Denver.
While he and his family lived in it, the Seattle house featured a walk-in pantry, a well-stocked wine cellar with the world’s most expensive wines, and five fireplaces. It has seven bedrooms and six bathrooms and sits on two-thirds of an acre with vistas of Lake Washington.
The Denver property set the record for the most expensive home sold in Colorado. The 20,000-square-foot house has four bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, a game room, an indoor pool, a basketball court, and a home theater.
Russell Wilson Fun Facts and Trivia
Russell Wilson was drafted into the NFL by the Colorado Rockies and is obsessed with gospel music. He is the senior editor of the magazine Players Tribune and a fan of Entourage, even making a cameo in 2015.
Wilson’s on-field nicknames are Mr. Unlimited, DangeRuss, and the Professor, and the 34-year-old has an extensive car collection that includes a Mercedes Benz G63 AMG, a Tesla, Audi, and range rover. His wife Ciara released her debut music album in 2004 and was signed by a modeling agency in 2016, and her net worth is estimated at $25 million.
Russell Carrington Wilson is a force to reckon with, on the football field, in business, in investment, and personal and charitable life. The 34-year-old Cincinnati, Ohio, native plays for the Denver Broncos and has a net worth estimated at $175 million as of 2023.