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NFL executive says Russell Wilson’s ‘celebrity status’ could impact trade destination

Matt Johnson
Russell Wilson
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

As Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson walked off the field following Sunday’s loss, many wondered if it would be one of his last starts for the franchise. Offseason drama between the two sides sparked trade rumors this offseason and many expect Wilson to be playing elsewhere in 2022.

Seattle’s 2021 season is drawing to a close and it will be the franchise’s first double-digit loss campaign since Wilson became the starting quarterback. While the future Hall of Famer and the organization put their differences aside before the season, a distrust in the front office and coaching staff will be even more apparent after the season.

With Wilson likely to be mentioned in NFL trade rumors this spring, there will be no shortage of interested teams. But one league executive believes the potential landing spots could be narrowed considerably by factors outside of football.

The Athletic’s Mike Sando spoke to NFL executives about the Pittsburgh Steelers looming quarterback decision this offseason. The quarterback carousel is going to be extremely active in 2022, but one high-ranking official doesn’t believe Wilson will be a fit for Pittsburgh or any team located in a bad market.

A team executive told The Athletic that they don’t see Wilson wanting to go to Pittsburgh. They noted that Wilson “values celebrity” and it’s part of the season why New York, Chicago and Las Vegas are viewed as potential trade destinations.

While the 33-year-old quarterback has pushed back against NFL rumors suggesting he has a preferred trade list, it’s been widely reported multiple times.

  • Russell Wilson contract: $37 million cap hit (2022), $40 million cap hit (2023)

Wilson is reportedly interested in playing for the New York Giants, Denver Broncos or New Orleans Saints. He also will have control over where he is moved, thanks to the no-trade clause included in his last contract extension.

While a team’s media market could have some influence on where Wilson moves, it’s unlikely to be the most important factor. Clubs like the Broncos and Saints have the supporting cast in place to help him compete for a Super Bowl immediately. Even more importantly, the organizations are desperate for a star quarterback and will likely treat Wilson better than he was in Seattle.

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