Under Further Review – March 9, 2022 – Douglas Smith with Editor Bill Morphy. We have Instant Analysis as the Seahawks ship Russ to Denver in a shocking franchise-altering deal.
Seismic Shocker – It hit the Seattle sports landscape like a tsunami. The greatest quarterback in franchise history and future Hall of Famer, Russell Wilson, is heading to Denver in a blockbuster deal that netted the Seahawks three players and five draft picks. The trade sends tight end Noah Fant, defensive end Shelby Harris and quarterback Drew Lock plus 2022 and 2023 first-round picks, 2022 and 2023 second-round picks and a fifth-rounder to Seattle for Wilson and a Seattle fourth-rounder. Fant is a serviceable tight end but who is going to throw him the ball? Lock is probably nothing more than a decent back-up. Harris is basically just another Benson Mayowa.
Whether the trade works out or not, it will come down to how the Seahawks maximize the draft capital that arrives as part of the deal. Two firsts, two seconds and a fifth is a significant draft haul. But here’s the problem. The Seahawks have drafted only three players over the past six seasons who have made a Pro Bowl appearance with 52 total draft selections. They have often traded picks or traded out of the first round altogether. The results have not been good. Their own draft hubris has come back to haunt them.
If Wilson really wanted to remain in Seattle, then why didn’t he exercise his no-trade clause? You can criticize the trade all you want but it’s clear Wilson wanted out. If that’s the case, and it appears to be, then what options did the Seahawks really have? Wilson will join new head coach Nathaniel Hackett in Denver. He’ll have some decent offensive weapons to work with including wide receivers Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and KJ Hamler along with tight end Albert Okwuegbunam and running back Javonte Williams. Much like in Seattle, the Broncos offensive line leaves much to be desired.
The Seahawks save $11 million against next season’s cap by dealing Wilson. However, they take on $26 million in dead money that must be accounted for under the cap. I guess you could argue that this is the year to take a massive dead cap hit. The NFL just announced the salary cap is going up from $182.5 million to $208.2 million, a jump of over $25 million.
There’s no doubt the Seahawks may be headed down a dark road. The grass is not greener on the other side when it comes to landing a franchise quarterback. Three NFL teams, the Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos and Washington Commanders have had a different opening-day quarterback in each of the last five seasons. No wonder they suck! The Colts have rolled out Carson Wentz, Philip Rivers, Jacoby Brissett, Andrew Luck and some guy named Scott Tolzien. The Broncos has served up Teddy Bridgewater, Drew Lock, Joe Flacco, Case Keenum and Trevor Siemian. Washington has given us Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dwayne Haskins, Case Keenum, Alex Smith and Kirk Cousins. With Russell Wilson now in Denver, the Broncos will have a new QB for their season opener for the sixth consecutive year. Chances are the same will be happening in Indy and Washington. If this is not a cautionary tale for the Seahawks, we don’t know what is.
It’s time to cue the rebuild. Last night, the Seahawks announced they are releasing veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner who was due to earn over $20 million this season. You simply don’t pay 33-year-old linebackers 20 mil. What’s next? Do you try and unload Jamal Adams? It makes no sense to re-sign free agent safety Quandre Diggs? Being located in the tough NFC West gives weight to the need for a roster makeover. Top to bottom the Seahawks roster ranks fourth in the division. The defense has ranked no better than 13th over the past five seasons. No need to mention the porous offensive line. If this is going to work, the Seahawks needed to go ‘all-in’ on a rebuild and it appears as though that’s the path they have chosen.
Unless the Seahawks convince Tom Brady to come out of retirement or somehow land Deshaun Watson, what option do the Seahawks really have? Blow it up and start over. All of this comes against the backdrop of the Packers signing Aaron Rodgers to a four-year, $200 million dollar extension with $153 million guaranteed. Green Bay found a way to kiss and make up. Pete Carroll and the Seahawks apparently got tired of Wilson telling them how to conduct their business.
With the trade of Wilson and the release of Wagner, it’s the end of an era in Seattle. The Seahawks are scheduled to play a home game against the Broncos next season. It’s going to be weird to see Russ in a Broncos uniform. Who knows where Wagner will land?