The End of an Era…
When the trade was initially announced, a large amount of the football world was stunned, shocked, surprised, confused, thunderstruck…you get the idea. The thing that makes this trade especially interesting to me is that there are a TON of underlying impacts of the trade that may be hard to see without some research.
First, I am going to analyze the trade, and what it means for the teams that it directly affects– the Seahawks and the Broncos. Then I’ll move to my harder-to-notice points.
Russel Wilson Trade Details
2022 First Round Pick (9)
2023 First Round Pick
2022 Second Round Pick (40)
2023 Second Round Pick
2022 Fifth Round Pick (151)
QB Drew Lock
TE Noah Fant
DL Shelby Harris
2022 Fourth Round Pick
I’d like to start this section off by saying to Seahawks fans, I am sorry for your loss.
Let’s step into the shoes of the Seattle front office for a moment. There is some tension with your 8x Pro Bowl, Super Bowl Champion, yearly MVP candidate, franchise QB Russell Wilson. Your efforts to help the cause are ineffective. While the defense is a couple of steps away from a great point, your offense is a potential powerhouse and is at a Super Bowl level.
Trade rumors are going around but your veteran head coach and executive vice president Pete Carroll says that the team has “no intention” of trading Wilson. Just about a week later, the news breaks. You just traded away Russell Wilson. The only good explanation Seattle’s formerly proud fans could come up with is that you accidentally clicked accept on your computer. Your QB is gone, you cut your perennial All-Pro LB Bobby Wagner, you disappointed your entire fanbase, and only one question remains. A question that teams all over the league do not ask themselves enough.
What’s Next for Seattle?
Now let’s step out of those shoes. I feel like teams are constantly making big decisions without a plan for what comes afterward. You had a team that is just a couple of steps away from a Super Bowl and just cut its two best players. It is extremely hard to get better than Wilson or Wagner through the draft. There is no free agent or draft prospect I can see anytime soon who could possibly be better than those two players.
Russell Wilson is irreplaceable if you have any intention of going to the Super Bowl, let alone the playoffs. Bobby Wagner was the only good thing on that defense and he was just thrown away. This makes me question the integrity of the league and how much teams, especially the Seahawks, want to go to the championship because, in my eyes, Seattle just set themselves back at least five years. Seattle fans were panicking because they just had their first losing season in several years. I have another message for them. Buckle in cause you’re gonna have a lot of ‘em real soon.
Tuesday was an emotional rollercoaster for Broncos fans. It started off with any hope of Aaron Rodgers moving to the west crushed when a massive extension was announced. Just a little while later, the Broncos slammed down a deal for a quarterback that would have a presumably much longer impact on the franchise.
The Broncos probably just had their biggest win since Super Bowl 50. They just traded for a future Hall of Fame QB who still has at least six years left in the tank. They already have a young team that is ready to take the next step forward. Some say they gave up a lot, which is true, but 100% worth it.
I can guarantee you that no picks or players traded to Seattle will live up to the level Russ has. The Broncos have recently been defined as a team that was “a quarterback away from a championship run”, and they just found their QB. The much-anticipated breakout of Jerry Jeudy is on the horizon now that he finally has a competent QB. Denver has re-inserted themselves not only into the conversation for a division winner but also into the conversation for AFC Champion.
The NFC West used to be the division where every team could have made the playoffs, and the AFC West just took that title away from them. Expect big things from this Broncos team that could make the playoffs for the next six years, and very possibly more.
To be honest, Wilson will be a huge wild card next year. Really, anything can happen. He either adjusts in first-time head coach Nathaniel Hackett’s offense and puts on an absolute show with his three new receivers, or he fails without Pete Carroll and the passionate Seahawks fans behind him. Only time will tell what happens, and the Wilson storyline will certainly be an interesting one.
Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, and Tim Patrick
If you’ve read my waiver wire articles, you should know by now that I am a huge fan of the Broncos receiving core, especially Tim Patrick. They have been an offense that for so long has needed a QB who can spread the ball out throughout their receiving core. The Broncos have now lost Fant and gained a competent quarterback, which are both big boosts for the three wideouts. Don’t be surprised if at least two, maybe even all three, take a big step forward in 2023.
D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett
The value of dynamic duo D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett just fell to an all-time low. Without a QB who spreads the ball around the field at an elite level, it is nearly impossible that both can continue to be weekly starters. I suggest steering clear of the two this season especially if they don’t have a veteran quarterback next season.
NFL Draft Impact
The Seahawks could do a lot with their picks. Most notably, they could already try to go for their next QB. Malik Willis is 100% on the table here. The Seahawks are generally a flashy team that needs a flashy QB like Willis. They were already built around a mobile QB like Wilson and Willis is certainly mobile.
This season does have a relatively weak QB class but their Broncos pick for next year is probably going to be late. However, the Seahawks are clearly ready to lose, which should set them up for a high enough draft pick for 2023. Whether they take the shot this year or wait until next year is certainly going to be an interesting thing to watch.
A Sudden Urge to Trade Up
The Seahawks are added to the list of teams who could try for a QB in the draft early. This might cause teams later in the draft like the Steelers or Colts to trade up and take a QB ahead of the Seahawks to get first dibs. Washington and Carolina are also right there in the mix as additional obstacles to late-round QB needy teams. Possible trade suitors could include the Jets, Giants, Falcons, and maybe even the Texans or Jaguars.
Poor Raiders. A talented, yet unrecognized, team that had the potential to make the playoffs next season. Now they have to play at least six games a year against three of the best quarterbacks in football. Let’s be generous and say they split the series. They are already 3-3. In an AFC which is a rising powerhouse, they’d have to only lose three non-divisional games the whole season to feel at least a little safe with their playoff spot. I wish the team good luck.
League integrity has been a much-debated topic in American sports recently, especially in the NFL. A few weeks ago, reports surfaced that teams incentivized losing in order to get a higher draft pick. As expected, it created an outrage. This is a situation that could fuel that conversation. It’s very hard to see the Seahawks moving forward with this deal, hence preparing themselves to lose for future benefit. The NFL may not notice it immediately, but I’d argue that it should be mentioned in the conversation.