Does Russell Wilson want to be traded?! Well, let’s be real, who does not wish to be traded at some point in their lives? He has already delivered a ransom note to the Seahawks with his no-trade clause at the forefront as leverage.
The rumored destinations all have market size in common and it is apparent that Wilson is ready to shred his image as one of the more boring QBs in the league. Time to run through the potential destinations.
New Orleans Saints (11% Chance)
It is easy to see why the Saints would be high on Wilson’s list. Between a respected coach in Sean Payton, offensive options like Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, and a proven formula for team success, the pieces add up. Completing the package is Willie Mae’s fabled Mac and Cheese, a favorite of Wilson’s.
However, a deal between these teams is tricky. The Saints have one of the worst cap situations in the league, presenting a significant obstacle to an agreement. The draft situation presents another hurdle, with the Saints only owning three picks in the 2021 draft. Lastly, the issue of competition. Unless Pete Caroll is considering early retirement, it would be in the franchise’s best interest to send Wilson to the AFC. File this under unlikely.
Las Vegas Raiders (32% Chance)
John Gruden has had a long-time love affair with Russell Wilson as one of the few at ESPN who praised the pick back in 2012. The Raiders featured an offensive scheme that finished both top 10 in passing yards and protecting the QB in terms of sacks allowed. The Raiders also feature a loaded young offensive skill corps with Darren Waller, Josh Jacobs, and Henry Ruggs. Given Nevada’s love for his wife Ciara, it becomes clear why Wilson would choose to trade in tight end Greg Olsen for offensive coordinator Greg Olson.
Derek Carr’s deal is easy to move from a trade standpoint; his contract would count for $2.5 mil in dead cap space and clear out $19.625 mil. Carr stands out among these teams as the most interesting “win now” QB replacement if Caroll and the Seahawks were looking towards maintaining immediate contention. There was a slight kerfuffle between Carrol and Carr when Marshawn Lynch announced his return; in a press conference, Carr declared, “There’s no—we’ll be on the 1-yard line and I won’t give it to Marshawn, I’ll throw it. None of that stuff. I don’t care about the stats.” The Raiders a full draft worth of picks, though 17 as the highest does present missing an elite asset.
Chicago Bears (23% chance)
From Wilson’s standpoint, a team that made the playoffs with a strong defense likely invokes memories of his early career Seahawks teams. Riding a defense and a controlled offense delivered his Super Bowl ring, and a significant media market holds appeal. When it comes to what the Bears could offer, the playoff appearance left their highest pick at number 20. Add in no quarterback replacement to send the other direction and a precarious cap situation; it would be shocking to see Wilson move to Chicago.
New York Jets (17% chance) / Miami Dolphins (17% chance)
Much like the ongoing DeShaun Watson trade drama, it isn’t easy to separate these two teams in terms of a trade package. Both teams possess multiple first-round picks. The Jets and Dolphins have highly drafted young quarterbacks to include. Both teams would be bringing Wilson into a situation looking to rebuild the surrounding offensive talent.
Regarding the Jets’ standpoint, Russell Wilson has been terrorized first hand by new coach Robert Saleh’s defense for the past four seasons. The Jets’ cap situation is very favorable – with the 2nd most available cap space in the league – they could accommodate Wilson’s salary and still be significant players in the loaded crop of free agent wide receivers. New York’s appeal is clear and ignited rumors last offseason as Colin Cowherd speculated Wilson’s wife was pushing for a deal with the Giants. Tales such as this always come with complicated dynamics.
From the Dolphins’ standpoint, they offer perhaps the most straightforward path to contention. Coach Brian Flores’ defense led the league in takeaways, and the team just finished outside of the playoffs. The Wilson family ties to the Southeast, and Miami has proven itself a destination city for professional athletes. The team has a favorable cap situation, allowing them to accommodate Wilson’s contract and setting themselves up to make a run at some of the high-profile free agent talents.
When deciding between the Jets and the Dolphins, the choice may be which quarterback Carroll favors among Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, Tua Tagovailoa, and Sam Darnold. There are worse situations for a team with a quarterback whispering about a desire to move on who may be facing a rebuild in the short term. There does exist a massive caveat in the form of Watson. The Jets and Dolphins are both rumored to be involved in that chase; given his age, he almost surely would take precedence. This situation would behoove Seattle to wait out as whatever teams miss out will potentially bring a bigger package to the table to not miss twice. At this point, all we have is rumors and speculation, but the quarterback movement we have already seen between Matthew Stafford and Carson Wentz has opened the floodgates for follow-up moves.