The Seahawks and Broncos took a huge gamble in the Russell Wilson trade.
A franchise-altering trade occurred this week between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. Seattle shipped their 9X Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion QB in Russell Wilson, along with a 4th round pick, to Denver. The Broncos received QB Drew Lock, TE Noah Fant, DE Shelby Harris, two 1st round picks, two 2nd round picks, and a 5th rounder.
Whew. Lot to unpack here.
Elway Does it Again?
The last time John Elway, who is Denver's President of Football Operations, signed a Hall of Fame QB who had fallen out of favors with the franchise that drafted him, it was a fella by the name of Peyton Manning. That turned out okay, resulting in two AFC Championships and a Super Bowl victory. The Colts were poised to move forward with their new franchise QB, Andrew Luck, after Manning missed all of the 2011 season while recovering from spinal fusion surgery. Elway shot from the hip, just like he did as a player, and it worked.
Manning was a free agent, however. All it took was some cap space and a successful courtship. The Broncos had to mortgage their future to get Russell Wilson, and although he's younger and healthier than Manning was when he arrived in Denver, it will certainly hurt to give up five picks, one of the game's best young tight ends in Fant, and their 2021 sack leader in Harris.
Herschel Walker 2.0?
Any time there's a trade involving one guy for a boat load of picks and players, it gets compared to the Herschel Walker trade of 1989, the largest trade in NFL history and the match that lit the Dallas Cowboys dynasty of the '90s. There will likely never be another trade of this magnitude:
LB Jesse Solomon
LB David Howard
CB Issiac Holt
RB Darrin Nelson
DE Alex Stewart
Three 1st round picks
Three 2nd round picks
A 3rd round pick
A 6th round pick
Minnesota Received: RB Herschel Walker
Two 3rd round picks
A 5th round pick
A 10th round pick (more rounds back then)
Walker was a star, but the Cowboys were bad. Jimmie Johnson used this trade to acquire Hall of Fame-level talent throughout his roster, and the Cowboys became perennial Super Bowl contenders. The Vikings on the other hand, never reached the playoffs with Walker in their backfield. This trade is a case study on the value of young talent and the importance of building a deep roster, as opposed to a top-heavy one.
Did Seattle just set themselves up for future contention like the Cowboys did in 1989?
I'm not ruling it out. Many experts are taking a big, hot, steamy dump on the Seahawks for trading away their franchise cornerstone QB, something you don't see very often in the NFL. But on paper, it's hard to argue that the Seahawks have set themselves up nicely.
D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett (assuming he's not traded) are among the best WR duos in football. Cris Carson and Rashaad Penny (if he's re-signed) form a solid backfield tandem. You just added Noah Fant. O-line and QB are the issues on offense, but now they have the draft capital and cap space to fix those areas in short order. Same goes for the defense, which has taken a step back since the fabled "Legion of Boom" dissipated; Pete Carroll and Co. have the means to fix it. I picture a short rebuild for the Seahawks. More of a reload, if they play their hand right. They're picking at #9 this draft, a prime spot to move up if there's a specific player they don't want to miss out on (maybe QB Kenny Pickett?).
I probably would have stuck it out with my star QB, but if both Wilson and the front office were set on parting ways in 2022, Seattle could have done a lot worse.