With former Jaguars and Raiders coach Jack Del Rio throwing a foreign object into the punch receptacle regarding Russell Wilson‘s tenure with the Seahawks, an obvious question arises: If Seattle would consider trading Wilson, who should be calling?
Although a trade would make more sense in 2020, when Wilson’s salary spikes from $17 million under the last year of his current contract to $30.34 million under the franchise tag, the fact that Del Rio has heard scuttlebutt about a possible trade means that it’s worth making a phone call to G.M. John Schneider, if a team needs a quarterback and potentially wants Wilson.
But here’s the problem. The Seahawks, who would like to increase their slate of 2019 draft picks from four, will want a lot for one of the best three or four quarterbacks in football. And Wilson will still expect to emerge from the transaction as the highest-paid player in NFL history, with the franchise-tag dance providing his ultimate leverage against whichever team has him under contract this year.
So who should at least explore the situation?
The Giants currently make the most sense. Even though a $5 million roster bonus already has been paid to Eli Manning, New York could send perhaps the sixth overall pick in 2019 and either No. 17 or next year’s first-round pick for a 30-year-old quarterback who would, contract permitting, be their guy for at least a decade. (Wilson told me in December 2017 that he intends to play until 45.) Maybe he wouldn’t push so hard contractually, given the sponsorship and media opportunities that would generate much more money for him during and after his NFL career.
As a TV personality, former Giant Michael Strahan has become everything former Giant Tiki Barber wanted to be, and then some. Wilson would be a candidate to pull off that same feat.
Other teams that should at least consider making a call to the Seahawks include the Chargers (who also have a quarterback under contract through 2019 but could desperately use Wilson’s star power in the “Fight for L.A.”), the Dolphins (who seem to be more inclined to position themselves via the natural unfolding of events in 2019 to draft a quarterback early in 2020, which is a fancy way of saying “tanking”), and maybe the Titans (they could offer Marcus Mariota plus a first-round pick, and with Wilson the Titans instantly would become a national brand).
Here’s another intriguing possibility: The first overall pick from Arizona, for Wilson. It’s an interesting philosophical question. If the Cardinals are thinking about drafting Kyler Murray with that No. 1 pick, does it make more sense to essentially draft Wilson with that same pick? He’s 30, but he’s proven. He’s also far more expensive than Murray would be.
After talking it all through earlier today on PFT Live and PFTOT, Simms and I decided that a possible trade makes much more sense in 2020 — unless Wilson is signed to a long-term deal.
And it makes sense to expect a long-term deal, even if it comes after the Wilson-imposed April 15 deadline. Last year, the Seahawks essentially reconfigured the team around Wilson. The team was aware of his contractual situation at the time, and the 2018 plan for proceeding with the construction of the roster surely included a plan for making it all work financially in 2019 and beyond.