How the Russell Wilson Trade Impacted the Seahawks

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Now we all have heard of this year’s blockbuster trade involving Russell Wilson heading to Denver, but let’s take a look at what led up to this once in a lifetime trade.

What Happened?

It had been evident for the past couple of years that Wilson was unhappy with the organization’s direction, especially after the team consistently neglected their offensive line issues. 

Since 2018, Wilson has been in the top five for times hurried in the pocket, showing that the offensive line did not work well with the pieces that were there. Despite their offensive line undeniably struggling, the Seahawks front office was reluctant to make changes. 

All of these pieces led to buzz about the superstar quarterback moving teams. The chances of Wilson being traded started to become more of a realistic scenario after he voiced his disapproval with the front office’s recent decisions last offseason. 

The tensions seemed to be swept under the rug for the 2021 NFL season, but an underperforming 7-10 performance caused Seattle to make big roster changes. 

After ten seasons with Seattle, Russell Wilson waived his no-trade clause in order to get moved to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a plethora of picks and players. Giving away their star player leaves Seahawks wondering what their uncertain future will hold.

Along with Russell Wilson, the Denver Broncos also received Seattle’s fourth-round pick in this year’s draft.

Denver has been in constant flux at quarterback ever since Peyton Manning’s retirement at the end of the 2015 season. Since then, the Broncos have been through ten different quarterbacks and only had one winning season. 

The Broncos gave up significant assets in the Wilson trade, but they finally achieved stability for them at one of the most important positions in all of sports. 

“Somebody asked me while at the combine what you look for in a quarterback? And I said tough, smart, accurate, athletic… I mean, go into the dictionary and you’ll see Russell Wilson there smiling,” Newly-hired head coach Nathaniel Hackett stated during Wilson’s introductory press conference on Wednesday.

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

What's Next?

So, what was the return for the nine-time Pro Bowler?

The Seahawks received an abundance of draft picks and three players in the deal, with one of the assets potentially being the successor to Wilson. The haul included picks No. 9, No. 40, and No. 152 for the upcoming draft, along with Denver’s first and second-round picks in 2023. 

On top of the draft picks, Seattle got quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant, and defensive lineman Shelby Harris in the trade. 

The ninth-overall pick was a cornerstone asset in the deal since the Seahawks did not have a first-round pick in this year’s draft due to the Jamal Adams trade that occurred in the summer of 2020. 

The general consensus for the 2022 quarterback class is that it is one of the weakest groups in the past decade, but given where Seattle is sitting, they could take a swing on one of the prospects. Malik Willis, the dual-threat out of Liberty, offers a similar play-style to Wilson since he uses his speed and overall athleticism to win games. 

However, his decision making, attempting to do too much at times and taking unnecessary sacks show that he is a much more raw prospect than others in the class. 

The idea of the Mississippi product Matt Corral landing in the Emerald City has also been floating around as well. With a lightning-quick release along with acceptable pocket awareness and mobility, his play-style would work well on short-yardage downs.

The problem with Corral though is that his decision-making is an issue and he lacks the high-ceiling that Willis has. 

The last quarterback they could take a shot on at their current draft position is Heisman Finalist and Pittsburgh gunslinger Kenny Pickett, who stepped up in big moments time and time again in his five-year stint with the Panthers. 

He can pick apart a defense and make the right reads, but his mechanics need some tuning in order to be a starting quarterback on a rebuilding team. 

Of course, the Seahawks could decide to go with the best player available, or even trade back to acquire more picks as well. 

If they go that route, they would likely find themselves in the Bryce Young sweepstakes in next year’s draft but it all depends on if they have enough faith in a quarterback in the 2022 class.

As of now, Drew Lock looks to be the signal-caller for Seattle. In 21 career starts with Denver, Lock owns an 8-13 record, including 25 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, and a 59.3 completion percentage. 

This past season, he was the backup to game-manager Teddy Bridgewater, who ended up missing three games due to a head injury

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

In Lock’s limited action this year, he held a measly 1.8 touchdown percentage, which was dead last in the league. Still only being 25 years old, the former second-round pick carries potential that the Seahawks hope to unlock during next season.

Former first-round pick Noah Fant was also involved in the blockbuster transaction. One of the more athletic tight ends in the league, Fant is coming into his contract year at 25 years of age. 

It is still unclear if Fant’s fifth-year option will be picked up, but given what the Seahawks recently gave up in order to acquire him, it would be safe to assume that he might be in Seattle for a while. 

The former Iowa product has fallen victim to poor quarterback play once again, leading to numbers that are not as eye-popping on the stat sheet. Last season, Fant posted 68 receptions, 670 yards, 4 touchdowns and a catch percentage of 75.9. He is expected to be the team’s starting tight end heading into the 2022 season.

Shelby Harris, a thirty-year-old defensive end, helps fill a hole on Seattle’s defensive line that needed to be addressed this off-season. He has two more years left on his current deal with a potential out after this season.

Along with trading away Wilson, the Seattle Seahawks also announced that they would be releasing defensive captain Bobby Wagner after ten seasons.

This marks an end of an era for the Seattle Seahawks, which brought two conference championships along with the team’s first-ever Super Bowl. 

The Seahawks nearly have forty-million dollars of cap space to play with for the rest of the off-season, the third-most cap space in the league. 

With a younger team on the horizon, the competition and opportunity that is to come will give promise to a team and culture full of winning in the past decade.

“We have a clear vision about the direction of this team, and this is an exciting time for our organization,” Seahawks’ General Manager Schneider said during Wednesday’s presser.

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