The first two quarterback trades of the NFL offseason might be peanuts compared to what’s next.
Russell Wilson’s confidence in the Seahawks has deteriorated to the point where those close to him have broached the idea of a trade with the front office, according to The Athletic. The report notes “some people around the league think a trade could happen, if not this offseason then sometime in the near future.”
A subsequent ESPN report, citing Wilson’s agent Mark Rodgers, said that Wilson has not requested a trade, so it’s not quite the same as the Texans’ pickle with Deshaun Watson. Wilson has a no-trade clause and told the Seahawks “he wants to play in Seattle, but, if a trade were considered, the only teams he would go to are the Cowboys, Saints, Raiders, Bears,” per ESPN. CBSSports and The Athletic identified the Raiders, Saints, Dolphins and Jets as possible trade destinations for Wilson.
The Matthew Stafford-for-Jared Goff-and-draft-picks trade was a rare swap of starting quarterback for starting quarterback by the Rams and Lions. And the disgruntled Carson Wentz forced his way off the Eagles and to a reunion with Colts coach Frank Reich.
But none of those three quarterbacks are as accomplished as the 32-year-old Wilson, a seven-time Pro Bowler who has never missed a start, never had a losing record and is 1-1 in Super Bowls. Watson – who could command a trade package with more than just three first-round picks – hasn’t matched Wilson’s top play, though he is seven years younger.
Wilson was the favorite to win NFL MVP for the first half of the season before his turnovers mounted and his play declined. The Seahawks were bounced in the first round of the playoffs and Wilson attended the Super Bowl as a guest of commissioner Roger Goodell after winning the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
Late-season tensions ran high over Seahawks coach Pete Carroll’s favored strategy to run the ball, limit turnovers and play great defense – a successful strategy when Wilson was a young game-manager – and Wilson’s desire to become an all-time great passer, according to The Athletic. The report says Wilson “stormed out of the room” when he realized his suggestions were ignored and he didn’t have the influence in the organization he has craved for some time.
Against that backdrop, Wilson’s complaints on “The Dan Patrick Show” earlier this month about the Seahawks’ inability to build an offensive line around him sound like laying the groundwork for a blockbuster trade.
Wilson is signed through 2023 on a four-year extension that paid him $140 million in new money, but his salary-cap chargers would be a relative bargain for a new team: $19 million in 2021, $24 million in 2022 and $27 million in 2023. The Seahawks would take a NFL-record $39 million dead cap charge for trading Wilson, which would drive up the asking price.