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SEATTLE– Trade with Russell Wilson … and so what?
For the past 13 months, it’s been the blatant response to persistent speculation that the Seattle Seahawks could move on from their star quarterback, a reason to believe it was a long shot, even with whatever tension there was at from last offseason.
Because if they were to swap Wilson and get rid of the most important player in franchise history, what would the Seahawks – a team that has planned to fight in 2022 – do to the most important position in football?
“So what?” became “what now?” Tuesday, when ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Seattle will send Wilson to the Denver Broncos in one of the biggest trades the NFL has ever seen.
And the answer to that question is even less clear now than it would have been this time last year, when the Seahawks – according to a source – were closer, than many are aware, to a deal that would have sent Wilson to the Chicago Bears . Trading Wilson could then have positioned Seattle to find its potential replacement in a strong 2021 quarterback draft, where five signal calls were taken within the first 15 picks.
Trading Wilson now leaves them with a huge void and just as big a question of who should fill it.
Because unlike last year, this draft is widely considered to lack top-tier quarterback talents. “Yes and yes” is what a talent evaluator from another team told ESPN late last season when asked if this year’s QB class is as unimpressive as analysts have described it.
Indications both before and after last week’s scouting combination have been that the Seahawks have not sold enough on any of this year’s prospects to take them in the first round and get them to replace Wilson immediately.
Also, it’s hard to imagine that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll – who turns 71 in September and has the final say on relocations – would be willing to start over with a raw rookie who would need years to develop. before he could lead the Seahawks. to another Super Bowl. It would also run counter to general manager John Schneider’s often cited credo of wanting to be a “consistent championship-caliber team.”
“It’s almost like dealing with Joe Montana,” an NFL talent evaluator said last season as he wondered if the Seahawks would actually move on from Wilson. “You better have Steve Young in your back pocket.”
Once the deal with Denver is completed, the only quarterbacks on Seattle’s list will be Jacob Eason (a third-year development prospect who has appeared in an NFL game) and Drew Lock, the 2019 pick in the second round that the Broncos send to Seattle. Lock has a Total QBR under 40 in three NFL seasons while playing with a good supporting cast in Denver, so he has not shown near enough to convince anyone that he is a long-term answer.
Geno Smith, who is scheduled to be a free agent, showed during three fill-in starts for Wilson last season that he is not either.
It all seems to point to the likelihood of another QB shoe falling in Seattle.
Perhaps the Seahawks are exploring a deal for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, pending the outcome of the 22 civil cases brought against him by women who have accused him of acts ranging from harassment to sexual assault and the ongoing criminal police investigation by Houston Police . Needless to say, there is no guarantee that Watson will be available by 2022.
Maybe Seattle has its eyes set on another quarterback in the commercial market, such as the Minnesota Vikings’ Kirk Cousins, Las Vegas Raiders’ Derek Carr or the Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa.
But these QBs would represent a massive drop-off from Wilson, who is 33 and should have several best years left, especially considering how dedicated he is to maintaining his body. Wilson resembled himself at the end of last season, suggesting his mid-season games were the result of his finger injury and not a sign of major setbacks.
It’s not like the Seahawks have not had time to prepare for Wilson’s departure. It became clear long before Wilson’s frustrations with the organization bubbled to the surface in February last year that the marriage had hit a hard patch.
But even if Wilson wanted out – it seems he did – would he really have sacrificed his public image and forced Seattle’s hand? If the Seahawks were determined to make it work, they probably could have done it, just as the Green Bay Packers have done with their once-unhappy QB, Aaron Rodgers.
The Seahawks had to have their own motivations to trade with Wilson, and a skyrocketing quarterback market is likely near the top of their list. Wilson has two years left on his current deal, which means he will be queuing up next free season for a massive increase from the $ 35 million average on average in his extension in 2019. His next deal is likely to cost north of $ 50 million a year.
Perhaps the Seahawks considered it unsustainable to continue postponing that kind of money while still having enough left over to put a championship team around them. Before giving Wilson his first megadeal in 2015, they enjoyed the benefits of his virtually no-rookie contract for three seasons. That may have been part of the reason they showed pre-draft interest in Patrick Mahomes in 2017 and Josh Allen a year later, and a team source believes the Seahawks would have taken Mahomes if he had fallen for them.
Between the money and the strained relationship, trading with Wilson never really seemed out of the question for the Seahawks. The surprise is that it is happening now, in a low season, where there is no clear path to a viable replacement.