Animas credit union, The time following the Super Bowl up until the start of the league year on March 17 is supposed to be the only time the NFL sleeps. But 2021 has so far been a raging slumber party, where nobody gets any rest. High-profile quarterbacks have been traded, Deshaun Watson is desperate to find a new home, and one of the league’s premier free agents, JJ Watt, has already agreed to terms with the Arizona Cardinals.
The biggest plot twist of the NFL offseason might still be on its way. Russell Wilson is reportedly unhappy with the Seahawks, and will maybe, possibly, perhaps be traded to a new team before next season opens depending on who you ask and what reports you believe. It’s all bizarre.
On the surface, everything between the Seahawks and Wilson looked fine, but a lot was brewing. There were reports Wilson was weary of dealing with an offensive line that couldn’t block for him. Then the news that he stormed out of a meeting mid-season over being frustrated that his offensive suggestions weren’t being listened to. Suddenly we were thrust into a situation that seemed unimaginable: That Wilson might actually be traded.
Animas credit union
The reports, no matter how incendiary, stopped short of Wilson outwardly “demanding” a trade, instead, his agent left it to the nebulous concept of having a list of “preferred destinations.” This distinction is largely semantic. It’s the kind of justification used to soften the blow of a player wanting out, hedging bets both ways to keep the fanbase and teammates happy while making it clear a player wants out. At the very least, it’s a shot across the bow that tells the team something has to change in order for Wilson to want to stay, but that “something” is where this all gets a little messy.
Wilson has a tenuous relationship with the organization beyond his most recent issues. There’s lingering disdain from his former teammates reported on in 2018 that remains unresolved, even with some of the key players from the 2012-15 Seahawks gone.
“He protected him,” one Seahawk says. “And we hated that. Any time he f—– up, Pete would never say anything. Not in a team meeting, not publicly, never. If Russ had a terrible game, he would always talk about how resilient he was. We’re like, what the f— are you talking about?”
We’re left with dueling concepts. Some suggest Wilson doesn’t feel listened to, others say he’s been coddled. If it’s the latter then it’s impossible to believe this friction will be resolved.
However damaging or pronounced internal issues internally seems to be, we’ll never know the complete or true story. All we have to go off now is the shortlist of preferred destinations Wilson has, and it’s worth seeing if moving to these teams really makes a difference to their futures. These are his four preferred homes, and how he’d fit in:
There is no question that Dallas would be a better team with Russell Wilson than Dak Prescott. It’s not so much an issue here of Wilson being drastically better than Prescott, and more that there aren’t many quarterbacks in the league better than Wilson. Comparing the two is splitting hairs a little bit.
Still, there are some reasons this would be beneficial for both teams. Dallas has been hesitant to commit to Prescott long term, and there are lingering questions about whether he’ll be back to 100 percent following his season-ending injury. Also, when it comes to the current climate of quarterback contracts, Wilson is on a far more cap-manageable deal than what it might cost the Cowboys to ink Prescott long term.
There’s also an out built into Wilson’s deal following the 2021 season. It gives Dallas a chance to try on the union for a year, then eat a cap hit and move in a different direction. If it works, then Dallas can keep him until 2023 without much issue. This also makes sense in terms of a potential trade, with Prescott being a significant return Seattle would be interested in, and they could do a lot worse than losing Wilson and replacing him with a younger QB who is still excellent in his own right.
New Orleans Saints
While the Saints might be on Wilson’s list, it’s hard to see how this happens because of New Orleans’ cap issues. The team is deep in salary cap hell and will require a ton of work to absorb Wilson’s contract.
It’s doable, sure, but might not be realistic. It would require the Saints sending numerous players to Seattle, and there might not be a lot of interest in these aging stars. Still, if you’re in New Orleans, this would be a dream scenario.
It’s all about keeping the window open for the Saints as long as possible. Drew Brees retiring and getting Russell Wilson is an absolutely tremendous way to jam that window up for a few more years. It’s still causing the team to live on borrowed time, but when the alternative is Taysom Hill, who showed next to nothing when starting in 2020, then it’s a hell of a tantalizing prospect.
I still can’t shake that cap issue though. I don’t see how this happens.
Las Vegas Raiders
This might be the most curious team on Wilson’s list of preferred destinations. It’s putting a lot of faith than the 8-8 Raiders are a lot like the 2019 Buccaneers, and are really a top-flight quarterback away from not only making it deep in the playoffs but potentially pushing for a Super Bowl.
However, there’s a lot difference between the Raiders and the Bucs. This youthful team isn’t being built on past stars the same way Tampa Bay was, and it also potentially takes Wilson out of the NFC West’s frying pan, and into the AFC West’s fire. Facing Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs twice a year isn’t a thrilling prospect on its own, and it’s a matter of time before the Chargers put it all together behind Justin Herbert as well.
Derek Carr, the oft-maligned quarterback of the Raiders, is statistically similar enough to Wilson that it’s hard to imagine Las Vegas giving up players, taking Wilson, and it making a mammoth difference to their fortunes. However, like Dallas, being able to trade Carr back to Seattle in the process lessens the blow a lot, and makes this a possibility.
This is unquestionably the most fascinating potential trade destination for Wilson. In each of the other cases you have teams moving on from already good quarterbacks and getting a slight upgrade, but to Chicago, Russell Wilson represents a mammoth leap.
Nick Foles was terrible. Mitchell Trubisky stat-padded his way to a decent-looking season on paper, but those who saw him play know what really happened.
The Bears have a 1,000 yard running back in David Montgomery, a clear No. 1 receiver in Allen Robinson, and a defense that’s one of the best in the NFL. They’re a team primed to take a major leap with an upgrade at quarterback, and Wilson would give Chicago something the team has lacked in, well, forever — a steady hand.
When you have an elite defense all you need is a guy who won’t turn the ball over and can make plays when needed. This is why Tom Brady won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay, and the same potential is here with Chicago as well. It’s not difficult to imagine Wilson stepping onto the Bears and immediately making a major impact, potentially challenging the Packers to win the NFC North and make a deep push into the playoffs.
The question becomes: What would Seattle want in return? The Bear’s established players are critical to their success, and there isn’t a notable quarterback who can be given up in trade. It would likely take draft picks, and a lot of them to lure Wilson to Chicago — but there’s no price too high for getting a player like this if you think it’ll take you to a championship.
So, where does Russell Wilson end up?
Even money is on him returning to Seattle. Things might not be rosy right now, but fights happen in any relationship. Ultimately I think both sides realize that the grass isn’t greener and patch things up.
However, if Wilson gets traded the Chicago Bears are the best choice. Instead of getting some aging players, or assuming salary risk, the Seahawks would get draft picks and a lot of them. The Bears are close enough to make serious noise that Wilson might be enough to turn the table and get the team to the Super Bowl, and in trading for a player of his caliber, Russ would get a bigger seat at the table to call his own shots.