Hue Jackson: 'I Never Heard' of Browns Trading for Russell Wilson in 2018

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 15, 2020

Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson warms up before an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Former Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson said Friday that the rumor of Cleveland speaking with the Seattle Seahawks about trading for quarterback Russell Wilson in 2018 was news to him.

On Thursday, NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms said such a trade was discussed. According to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, a source with knowledge of the situation said "the Browns contend that the idea was floated conceptually, but that the discussion did indeed happen."

Appearing Friday on CBS Sports Radio's The Zach Gelb Show, Jackson denied ever hearing about such a scenario:

"I've never heard anything so crazy in my life. I'm sure [former Browns GM] John [Dorsey] and [Seahawks GM] John Schneider are really tight. I'm sure if they're having conversations on their own, just jiving around and doing those kind of things—I would think if something was serious about that, we, the executive team and the organization, would have known. I never heard that."

The trade never materialized, as the Browns selected Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft and the Seahawks signed Wilson to a long-term extension.

Jackson said he doesn't believe the trade would have been made even if it was discussed since the Browns were high on Mayfield entering the 2018 draft: "I don't think so. At that particular time, we had identified that Baker was our guy. So I don't hear that. I don't believe that. That wouldn't have been my thought because it never came up."

The Browns started slowly in 2018 after selecting Mayfield, resulting in Jackson getting fired when Cleveland was sitting at 2-5-1. The Browns went on a tear to finish the season, though, and ended up 7-8-1, their best mark since 2007.

A big reason for their late-season success was Mayfield, who finished second in Offensive Rookie of the Year voting after throwing for 3,725 yards, 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

Hopes were high for Mayfield and the Browns entering the 2019 season, but they disappointed. Cleveland finished just 6-10, and Mayfield took a significant step back by throwing for 3,827 yards, 22 touchdowns and 21 picks.

While Mayfield is still just 25 compared to Wilson's 31, Wilson has enjoyed far more success over the past two years and throughout his career. He is a six-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champ who has never missed a start and owns a career regular-season record of 86-41-1.

The Seahawks have never finished with a losing record in Wilson's eight years at the helm, and they have reached the playoffs in seven of eight seasons. By those metrics, he has more than earned the four-year, $140 million extension he signed in 2019.

Perhaps Mayfield will approach Wilson's level one day, but the uneven start to his career suggests the Browns would have been better off with Wilson if trading for him was a possibility.