Russell Wilson is departing Seattle after a decade!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — the NFL offseason, at least this portion of it, is “smokescreen season.” Just because something is said in late February or early March doesn’t mean it will end up being the case when Week 1 arrives.
So when Pete Carroll recently stated the Seahawks had “no intention” of trading veteran star quarterback Russell Wilson, my immediate reaction was “yeah…okay coach, whatever you say” with a hint of an eye-roll.
And what do you know — on Tuesday, one of the biggest trades in NFL history went down. The Seahawks decided to send Wilson and a fourth-round pick to the Denver Broncos. In return, Seattle acquired an eyebrow-raising package that included two first-round picks, two second-round picks, a fifth-round pick, quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant, and defensive lineman Shelby Harris.
Specific picks Denver is trading to Seattle in exchange for Russell Wilson:
Denver’s 2022 first-round pick (No. 9)
Denver’s own 2022 second-round pick (No. 40)
Denver’s 2023 first- and second-round picks.
Denver's 2022 fifth-round round pick for Seattle's 2022 fourth-round pick
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 8, 2022
It’s an absurdly large haul for Russ, but the trade completely makes sense for either team (at least right now).
A new chapter for Seattle
It was clear Seattle needed to move on from its longtime quarterback. The Seahawks missed the playoffs this past year for the first time since 2017 and they didn’t possess any 2022 first-round picks thanks to the horrible Jamal Adams trade.
Going in a new direction was necessary, which explains why they were willing to give up Wilson.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t look to address the quarterback position right away. Now that the organization owns the No. 9 overall pick (which was Denver’s), Seattle could target Liberty quarterback Malik Willis (should he be available).
Or…do the Seahawks go after Deshaun Watson?
If Watson, who’s facing over 20 civil lawsuits for sexual misconduct and will be having his case presented to a grand jury this Friday, has his legal situation cleared, the Seahawks could use their newly-acquired assets (especially the pair of first-round picks) to trade for the current Texans quarterback.
Just because Drew Lock went from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Northwest in the deal doesn’t mean he’ll be the Seahawks’ starter next season. Pete Carroll and co. could still have options at the game’s most important position.
Denver = Win now
The Broncos are sick and tired of being a middle-to-bottom-tier team; they’re sick and tired of finishing toward the basement of the AFC West.
They needed a quarterback.
And after years of dealing with Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, and Drew Lock (the list goes on), Denver might finally have a guy who can take the team to new heights.
The Broncos haven’t sniffed playoff football since Peyton Manning won them Super Bowl 50 back in February 2016 — it was time they made a move.
And yes, they did in fact give up an insane number of assets. But when you feel as if you’re just one missing piece away — and that missing piece is a quarterback — it might be fine to overspend in a trade. If you’re in a division that also includes Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Derek Carr, it’s probably reasonable to give up as much as the Broncos did.
Of course, we can’t truly evaluate the trade until seeing what either team accomplishes over the next five years or so. But at the moment, this seems like a deal that makes sense for either side.
Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY