Cutler, who shares the same agent as Wilson, signed a deal that reportedly will pay him $54 million over the first three years and be worth $126 million over seven years.
The $54 million in guaranteed money matches Aaron Rodgers' promised payout, which is the highest for an NFL quarterback, and Cutler's $18 million annual average matches Tony Romo's for sixth most among NFL quarterbacks.
The desperate move by the Bears figures to increase the cash the Hawks will have to pay Wilson next year as they try to hammer out an extension with agent Bus Cook.
Wilson already figured to command a $100 million contract with around $40 million guaranteed -- four other quarterbacks have deals promising about $40 million -- but Cutler's deal reset the standard as Cook got the Bears to commit elite money to a barely above-average passer.
Cook probably will try to get Wilson a deal worth $20 million a year and guaranteeing upwards of $60 million. If Cutler's contract is the gauge, Wilson will be worth it.
Wilson is a better quarterback than Cutler in nearly every way. He's 10 times the leader (who isn't?) and has better numbers across the board.
In five seasons with the Bears, Cutler has completed 60.2 percent of his passes, with 101 touchdowns and 75 interceptions (1.35 ratio) and a passer rating of 83.1. He also has missed 13 games.
In two years in Seattle, Wilson has completed 63.6 percent, with 52 TDs and 19 interceptions (2.74 ratio) and a 100.6 rating. He hasn't missed a game. He also provides a threat that Cutler does not: He has rushed for 1,028 yards and five touchdowns.
The Seahawks did themselves a favor by drafting Wilson in the third round and letting him win the QB job in 2012. They have one of the cheapest starting quarterbacks in the league (the average value of his contract is not even in the top 50, per OverTheCap.com) and will get another inexpensive year out of him in 2014.
He actually is signed through 2015, but the Hawks surely will reward him and lock him up long term after next season.
They expect to pay big money, but after Cutler's deal they might have to pay a little bit more than they were planning.