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After weeks of negotiations, in one of the biggest trades in NFL history, the Denver Broncos have agreed to send a significant package of players and draft picks to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson, sources told ESPN Tuesday. .
The Broncos have agreed to swap quarterback Drew Lock, tight-end Noah Fant, defensive lineman Shelby Harris, two first-round picks (2022 – No. 9 overall – and 2023), two second-round picks (2022 – No. 40 overall – and 2023) and a fifth-round pick in 2022 for the Seahawks for Wilson and a fourth-round pick in 2022, sources said.
The deal gives Denver the quarterback it’s been looking for since Peyton Manning retired, and it gives Seattle a foundation to rebuild without the quarterback who led the Seahawks to their only Super Bowl title.
Wilson agreed to relinquish his non-trading provision and passed his Broncos’ physical Tuesday night, sources told ESPN. These moves pave the way for the Seahawks to send him to Denver, ending his historic 10-season race in Seattle that included nine Pro Bowl picks, a Super Bowl title and more wins than any quarterback has ever posted during his first 10 seasons in league.
IN at tweete WednesdayWilson wrote, “SEATTLE, I Love You. Forever Grateful. # 3.”
The Broncos were Wilson’s preference if traded, sources told ESPN’s Brady Henderson.
The other players involved in the trade must still pass their physique. But the teams will now begin the process with the NFL to confirm the deal, which can not be officially announced until March 16 at. 16 ET, the start of the 2022 league year.
Denver acquires Wilson has nothing to do with Aaron Rodgers’ decision to return to Green Bay. Denver general manager George Paton began trade talks with Seattle for Wilson at least two weeks ago, sources said. But in recent days, as trade talks with Seattle warmed up, it became clear that Wilson was the Broncos’ Plan A. The Broncos and Packers had not discussed an out-of-season Rodgers deal.
The Seahawks listened quietly to offers for Wilson and received calls from several teams. One league source estimated the total number to be over a dozen teams. Wilson sensed he needed to move on, and if he did, he would go to a winning program. Denver, with all its offensive talent and hard defense, is in “win-now” mode.
Denver has been trying to find a suitable quarterback since Manning retired, just as the organization has been trying for years to find a suitable quarterback after John Elway retired. Enter the 33-year-old Wilson.
Wilson will join a Broncos team led by new head coach Nathaniel Hackett. The team’s offense includes wide receivers Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick and KJ Hamler, tight-end Albert Okwuegbunam and running back Javonte Williams.
The Broncos’ odds of winning the Super Bowl improved from 25-1 to 12-1 on Tuesday at Caesars Sportsbook. Only three teams – the Buffalo Bills (15-2), Kansas City Chiefs (8-1) and Packers (10-1) have better odds of winning the Super Bowl than the Broncos in the Caesars Sportsbook. The Seahawks, meanwhile, saw their odds of winning the Super Bowl drop from 40-1 to 75-1 at Caesars.
Wilson beat the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII and will be the first quarterback to start for a team he beat in the Super Bowl, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Wilson was to count $ 37 million against Seattle’s salary cap next season. His trade will save the Seahawks $ 11 million in 2022 cap space. The Seahawks are also releasing All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner, another franchise cornerstone drafted the same day as Wilson in 2012, in a move that will save them $ 16.6 million in cap space.
The Seahawks receive $ 26 million in dead money by trading with Wilson. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, this is the second most dead money a team has ever incurred, after the $ 33.8 million that the Philadelphia Eagles ate in the Carson Wentz trade.
Coach Pete Carroll told reporters at the scouting combination last week that the Seahawks had “no intention” of swapping Wilson, but Carroll again stopped shooting the opportunity all the way down. Carroll said general manager John Schneider’s standard response to teams asking about Wilson is that the Seahawks are not shopping their quarterback, according to The (Tacoma) News Tribune.
Wilson’s deal comes 13 months after his frustrations with the organization bubbled to the surface. He complained publicly in February 2021 about all the hits and kicks he had taken over his career – lobbying for the team to improve his pass protection – and about his perceived lack of influence in personnel matters compared to other top quarterbacks.
Wilson’s comments ranked some in the organization, sources told ESPN. But those tensions seem to have abated over the course of a drama-free 2021 season.
It is not clear if Wilson requested a trade.
Wilson, according to a source, always planned to revisit his concerns after the 2021 season. He spoke on several occasions about his desire to stay in Seattle for the long term and said he wanted to win more Super Bowls with the Seahawks. But Wilson stopped declaring that he would stay, even though his no-trade clause could guarantee it.
Wilson has two years and $ 51 million left of the $ 140 million four-year extension he signed in April 2019. It includes base salaries of $ 19 and $ 22 million, of which $ 5 million in March list bonuses each year make up the rest. Had Wilson remained on Seattle’s list per. March 20, the Seahawks would have owed him his $ 5 million bonus.
Wilson leaves Seattle as the franchise’s career leader in the most relevant passing categories and the only quarterback to have won a Lombardi trophy for the Seahawks.
The Seahawks are scheduled to play a home game against the Broncos next season.
ESPN’s David Purdum contributed to this report.