The Chicago Bears gave up their pursuit of Russell Wilson a while ago, but here’s a surprise: The Kansas City Chiefs’ trade for Orlando Brown Jr. on Friday might have actually reignited the Bears’ hopes of landing the Seattle Seahawks’ superstar signal-caller.
As part of the blockbuster deal for Brown, Kansas City had to give up its first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft among other assets. Thus, the Baltimore Ravens now have the 27th and 31st overall picks in the upcoming draft, which they could use to address multiple positions of need.
On the other hand, Baltimore could cash in those assets to either move up in the first round, or acquire a proven veteran player. Two later first-round picks seem like a fair price for a seasoned pro seeking a fresh start.
See where this is going?
The Chicago Bears’ master plan to get Russell Wilson
Bears trade Allen Robinson to Ravens
- 2021 NFL MOCK DRAFT TRADE: Bears send WR Allen Robinson to Ravens for 27th and 31st picks
Yes, Baltimore signed Sammy Watkins in free agency, yet he’s struggled to stay healthy throughout his career, and hasn’t lived up to his billing as the former fourth overall draft pick. Speaking of not meeting the hype, that can definitely be said for 2019 first-round pick Marquise Brown.
Between Watkins’ durability issues and Brown’s diminutive stature — not to mention issues with drops — the Ravens aren’t exactly setting up Lamar Jackson for optimal success in the passing game. Watkins is the “big addition” to a group Pro Football Focus ranked 25th out of 32 NFL teams entering last season. That’s not great.
Jackson needs a surefire No. 1 like Allen Robinson, and the Bears’ leading receiver, you can be sure, isn’t interested in catching passes from Andy Dalton under the franchise tag in 2021.
With two picks apiece in the third, fourth and fifth rounds, Baltimore should be able to build plenty of depth through the draft. Sacrificing a couple picks toward the end of Round 1 to get a playmaker like Robinson is worth the cost.
Bears land Russell Wilson in mind-blowing trade
- Seahawks get: 20th, 27th, 31st picks in 2021 NFL Draft; First- and second-round picks in 2022; First-round pick in 2023
- Bears get: QB Russell Wilson
It’d be really sad to see Robinson leave Chicago right before the Bears would acquire Wilson, but it’s a necessary hit to take.
With second- and third-round picks mostly intact for the next few drafts, Chicago can retool its receiving corps to build around Wilson. Even this year, players like Dyami Brown, Tylan Wallace, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Amon-Ra St. Brown and several others headline a supremely deep crop of Day 2 receiver prospects.
Wilson can obviously elevate any supporting cast he has, not to mention attract future free agents, such as players from the 2022 class like Chris Godwin and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
The Bears have sought a surefire stud like Wilson for decades at quarterback but haven’t been able to acquire one. General manager Ryan Pace is fighting for his job, and came up too small in his last trade offer to Seattle. He can’t make that mistake again, so he’s paying a premium here.
All parties would have to pull off some salary cap maneuvers to facilitate this trade, yet it’s doable. Seattle should seize this opportunity to add talent at multiple positions across its roster and find Wilson’s replacement.
Russell Wilson trade would give Seattle tons of flexibility for QB succession plan
Chances are, if Wilson does play for the Seahawks in 2021, they’re going to be competitive. They’ve been aggressive in recent years and have gotten very little out of their drafts, and wouldn’t be picking high with Wilson leading them to yet another winning record.
Wilson is bound to leave after next year anyway, and a team like Chicago is likely willing to fork over whatever it takes to land him. Yes, it’s a dead money hit, but it’d only cost $7 million in the red for Seattle to get rid of Wilson now.
Everyone would have a clean slate, and the Seahawks could build around a younger player on a cheaper contract. Now, does that mean a rookie, another young QB, or a proven veteran Seattle is high on and is attainable via trade?
Maybe, if the Seahawks traded all these first-rounders to the Dolphins, then Miami could give them Tua Tagovailoa and take a QB sixth overall. Staying in the second-year class, Green Bay’s Jordan Love probably won’t play any time soon if reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers stays in a Packers uniform. Why not kick the tires on him?
Marcus Mariota could be in for an epic second act in the NFL, like the man who replaced him in Tennessee, Ryan Tannehill. Seattle could call Las Vegas and see what it’d take to get Mariota to the Emerald City.
It’s fascinating to ponder all the possibilities for Chicago and Seattle. Who would’ve thought the Orlando Brown Jr. deal could’ve ignited such excitement for two seemingly unrelated franchises?