Russell Wilson trade rumors are at an all-time high right now. Recent reports suggest that the Seattle Seahawks are in fact discussing deals with multiple teams around the NFL.
Meanwhile, Wilson’s agent has gone to Seattle with teams he would waive his no-trade clause in order to be moved. That list shockingly includes Jon Gruden and the Las Vegas Raiders.
It’s somewhat surprising. Of the other three teams, both the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints make sense. However, Las Vegas joins the Chicago Bears as two non-contending squads that could get involved.
Below, I look at why the Raiders should go all in with a Russell Wilson trade.
What would a Russell Wilson trade cost the Raiders?
Any move for Wilson would include the Raiders trading away franchise quarterback Derek Carr. It was something bandied about earlier in the offseason before NFL rumors concluded that Las Vegas was looking to deal away backup Marcus Mariota rather than Carr.
What we do know is that the Raiders are interested in Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. A move for the reigning NFL passing champ would include Carr. The same can be said about a potential Russell Wilson trade.
Meanwhile, it’s also being noted that the baseline asking price from Seattle would be three first-round picks. From there, the Seahawks would ask for one or two players. Below, is a look at what it might cost Las Vegas to pry Wilson away from the Pacific Northwest.
- Raiders get: Russell Wilson
- Seahawks get: Three first-round picks (2021, 2022, 2024), second-round pick 2023, third-round pick in 2021, Derek Carr and Trent Brown
Interestingly enough, Wilson being traded for a Pro Bowl offensive tackle would have karma written all over it given that’s one of the issues he’s had with the Seahawks. Regardless, Brown is firmly on the trade block and would fit in well with Carr in Seattle.
Five picks and two Pro Bowl-caliber players would be a mighty high price for the Raiders to pay in a Russell Wilson trade. But it would set the team up big time moving forward. It would also announce the Raiders’ real arrival in Sin City after they were not able to host fans during the 2020 NFL season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
How the Raiders would look with Russell Wilson
Any move to acquire Wilson in a blockbuster trade would only cost the Raiders $19 million against the cap. Meanwhile, Las Vegas would save north of $33 million against the 2021 NFL salary cap by moving off Carr and Brown.
With the Raiders currently a mere $4.72 million under the cap following the release of Gabe Jackson, this additional $14 million would come in handy. Meanwhile, general manager Mike Mayock and Co. have ample opportunities to lower their cap number and become big-time players in NFL free agency. That includes releasing multiple veterans (cap savings in parenthesis).
- Marcus Mariota ($10.73 million)
- LaMarcus Joyner ($8.7 million)
- Richie Incognito ($5.5 million)
- Jalen Richard ($3.5 million)
- Jeff Heath ($3.2 million)
Releasing these five veterans would be a no-brainer regardless if the Raiders pull off a Russell Wilson trade. It would also save Las Vegas a cool $31.6 million against the cap — giving the team more than $50 million to spend during an NFL free agency period that’s going to be team-friendly due to the economic downturn around the league created by COVID-19.
There a bunch of other factors to look at here, too. Primarily, Las Vegas as an attractive destination city for veteran NFL free agents. That would only be magnified if the Raiders were able to add Wilson to the mix. A number of top-end wide receivers would love to catch passes from the future first-ballot Hall of Famer.
A Russell Wilson trade could very well be a boon for these Raiders in free agency. That’s the overriding point. With a tremendous skill-position trio in running back Josh Jacobs, tight end Darren Waller and wide receiver Henry Ruggs, the Raiders would be able to target specific positions.
Offensively, that would include finding a legit No. 1 receiver for Wilson. The good news? This position is absolutely stacked when it comes to free agency. Imagine adding someone like Allen Robinson or Corey Davis to catch passes from Russ? With a still-solid offensive line, this would make the unit nearly unstoppable.
Related: Top 20 NFL free agents of 2022
From there, the rest of the Raiders’ focus would have to be on improving a defense that gave up nearly 30 points per game a season ago. Pass rush is the overriding need in Vegas.
With the likes of Bud Dupree, Shaq Barrett, Von Miller, Matt Judon, Melvin Ingram, Jadeveon Clowney and Yannick Ngakoue set to hit the open market, Las Vegas would have its pick of the litter. Heck, adding two edge rushers is not out of the equation. In short, the Raiders could build an almost-immediate Super Bowl contender by pulling off a Russell Wilson trade.
Bottom line: Go get Russell Wilson
Al Davis would want his organization to be relevant on the broader NFL stage once again. Outside of a decent three-year run in the early 2000s, that has not been the case for this historical franchise since the mid 1980s. Adding Wilson to the mix would do that.
Sure the price would be high. There’s also no guarantee that a Russell Wilson trade would morph the Raiders into legit Super Bowl contenders. What we do know is that the Raiders in their current iteration are irrelevant. That’s a waste of prime real estate in Las Vegas. Adding Wilson would change this in one fell swoop.