Ranking the Most Likely Landing Spots for Russell Wilson If He Requests Trade

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2021

Ranking the Most Likely Landing Spots for Russell Wilson If He Requests Trade

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    Jennifer Stewart/Associated Press

    The budding era of player empowerment in the NFL just potentially kicked into overdrive thanks to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. 

    Fresh on the heels of Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson popping up in endless trade speculation, Wilson's name now does the same after a zero-to-one-hundred development. On Thursday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Wilson has told the Seahawks he wants to stay in town—but that he'd accept trades to the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Las Vegas Raiders and Chicago Bears. 

    It's not every day a future Hall of Famer in his prime could get dealt. Much will hinge on what the Seahawks want to do from a roster-building standpoint, but any move will be costly thanks to the gigantic dead-cap numbers in Wilson's contract. 

    If push comes to shove, do the Seahawks want a treasure trove of picks, a star QB or both? As a reminder, Wilson has a full no-trade clause in his contract too.

    For now, those four aforementioned teams make the most sense, so we'll rank them based on available trade assets and whether Wilson would fit in the new local well. 

4. Las Vegas Raiders

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    Matt Dunham/Associated Press

    The Raiders seem like an outlier of the teams mentioned with Derek Carr under center, as he just had his best statistical year since 2016, completing 67.3 percent of his passes with 27 touchdowns and nine interceptions. 

    For what it's worth, Wilson is plenty familiar with past Seahawks coaches Gus Bradley (defensive coordinator) and Tom Cable (offensive line coach). He should also fit well in Jon Gruden's scheme offensively. 

    The question is whether the Raiders would want to make it happen. Sure, Gruden and Co. haven't been afraid of risky moves (think Antonio Brown, Vontaze Burfict). But coughing up Carr and a bunch of early-round picks wouldn't be a no-brainer.

    While the Raiders should have the assets to get it done, Wilson would also be joining the AFC West, which of course features Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. The 32-year-old Wilson would find easier competition and a better roster elsewhere.

3. Chicago Bears

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Wilson to the Bears seems out of left field, but it's at least interesting.

    The Bears, after all, could have been contenders last year with better QB play. Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles predictably didn't get it done en route to an 8-8 finish, and the idea of Wilson in a Matt Nagy-directed offense is undoubtedly appealing. 

    But Chicago is already in the red cap-wise and doesn't have a quarterback the Seahawks would want in return. They also don't have premium draft assets, picking 20th this year.

    The Bears would have to give up some serious talent and/or perhaps a trio of first-rounders to make a deal happen. Whether that's Kyle Fuller, Roquan Smith and others is hard to say, but any trade would hurt the roster around Wilson. Further, the offensive line was largely a disaster last year.

    Bears general manager Ryan Pace and Co. are desperate for a quarterback and are on hot seats, but trading for Wilson would be difficult for both sides.

2. New Orleans Saints

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    Phelan Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Imagine the Saints going from Drew Brees to Wilson.

    Wild, and maybe it isn't all that outlandish. 

    Much has been written about the Saints' dire cap situation. And it's true on paper, as the team is roughly $66.4 million in the red. But trading for Wilson and his meager $19 million cap charge in 2021 and offloading big contracts in the process—then working out an extension with Wilson to shift the cap hits to later years—could get the Saints close to breaking even. 

    The Saints could get close to even without a trade (by cutting guys such as Kwon Alexander to free up his $13.2 million cap charge). But more interesting is the fact that the Saints could package Taysom Hill, Marshon Lattimore and others, plus draft picks, to put together an appealing package. 

    The Saints have won double-digit games four seasons in a row. They're always in win-now mode. And they have the talent and picks to make a deal appealing to Seattle without gutting the roster.

    Sean Payton would let Wilson run wild, and the Seahawks and Saints have also worked out blockbusters in the past with the Jimmy Graham-Max Unger trade in 2015.

1. Dallas Cowboys

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Jerry Jones backing into Wilson would be wild. 

    The Cowboys have consistently misplayed their hand with Dak Prescott, and if they can't work out a long-term agreement with him, a second franchise tag this offseason would cost them $37.7 million against the cap. An extension would need to come in somewhere near Deshaun Watson's $39 million average annual value.

    By comparison, Wilson is only a $19 million cap hit for his new team in 2021. 

    Could the Cowboys pull it off? Absolutely. A sign- or tag-and-trade with Prescott is an easy sell because he's five years younger than Wilson. The Cowboys can also dangle the 10th overall pick and future assets as appealing trade chips. The Seahawks would have to get creative to make the cap situation work given Wilson's dead-cap number, but Dallas would seem to present by far the most appealing trade packages possible.

    In Seattle, Prescott to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett would be fun, especially if he arrives alongside a Michael Gallup or CeeDee Lamb. In Dallas, Wilson would play behind a better line (when healthy) and whatever elite cast of weapons remains with ownership largely willing to do whatever it takes to go all-in.

    While Prescott holds all the chips in this scenario, it sounds like Wilson would be open to it. It would be a shocker, though the logistics make sense for all parties involved.