Russell Wilson entered training camp in 2012 believing what few others did at the time. Third-round pick? Too short? Didn't matter to Wilson; he arrived in Seattle believing not just that he could be an NFL starting quarterback someday, but right away.
Wilson won the starting job in training camp that year, and quickly went about becoming a key player during the best three-year stretch in franchise history, which included the team's first Super Bowl title. And three years after Wilson won the starting job in camp, Wilson opens 2015 training camp knowing he'll be in Seattle long-term having signed a four-year contract extension Friday morning.
Wilson's new deal is just the latest, and given the position he plays, arguably the most important, contract extension handed out by the Seahawks in recent years. When Pete Carroll and John Schneider took over in 2010, they went about building through the draft what would eventually become a championship team. And after loading a roster with talented young players, the next phase became identifying and keeping as much of the core intact as the league's salary cap would allow.
With Wilson's deal done, the Seahawks now have him, Marshawn Lynch, Doug Baldwin, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, K.J. Wright and Jimmy Graham, who was acquired in an offseason trade, under contract through the 2016 season. And all of those players other than Baldwin are under contract through 2017.
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Wilson, who is now locked up through 2019, has already accomplished an extraordinary amount in his first three seasons in Seattle. Not only did he become the first quarterback to start two Super Bowls in his first three seasons, he is also the winningest quarterback through three seasons with 36 regular-season victories and 42 including the postseason.
Wilson, a three-time Pro Bowler, tied Peyton Manning's rookie record with 26 touchdown passes in 2012, and he is the only quarterback to record a 100-plus passer rating in each of his first two seasons. Of course Wilson has done more for the offense than be an effective passer, he has also rushed for 1,877 yards and 11 touchdowns in his career, including 849 yards last season, which was the fifth most by a quarterback in NFL history.
Photos of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson signing a four-year contract extension ahead of the team's first training camp practice of 2015.