Last week, Chris Simms unwittingly lit a slow-burning fuse while he and I tried to identify during an installment of PFTOT the universe of NFL players who currently are untradable.
Patrick Mahomes? Check. Lamar Jackson? Check. Aaron Donald? Check. Aaron Rodgers, given the crippling cap hit that would apply if traded now? Check.
So how about Russell Wilson?
He has a no-trade clause in his current contract, and there’s a reason for it. As Simms said during the conversation, the Seahawks talked to the Browns about a potential trade that would have sent Wilson to Cleveland for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Browns contend that the idea was “floated” conceptually, but that the discussion did indeed happen. At the time, the Seahawks were staring at another extension for Wilson, one that would result a year later in a contract with a new-money value of $35 million per year. And the placement of a no-trade clause in the latest contract was indeed influenced by chatter regarding the potential trade to Cleveland, we’re told.
That said, some who are close enough to the situation to know what may happen believe that Wilson eventually will be traded. Intriguing potential destinations would include, in our view, the Cowboys, Raiders, and Saints. (Or, as Simms says, any team “that doesn’t try to establish the run for three quarters and then ask him to save them in the fourth.”)
Timing becomes a very real question. In 2021, the Seahawks would absorb a $39 million cap charge by trading Wilson, $7 million more than his $32 million cap number if he’s on the team. (He’s due to earn $19 million in 2021.) By 2022, the cap charge falls to $26 million, $11 million less than the cap charge if he’s still on the team.
In 2023, the last year of his current deal, Wilson has a $39 million cap number and a $13 million cap charge if traded.
Still only 31 and determined to play until he’s 45, Wilson may not have to wait until his fifth decade (like Tom Brady) to land in a new place. Some think it’s just a matter of time before he’s traded by a team that talked about trading him just two years ago.