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Russell Wilson blockbuster trade: 4 winners and losers

Vincent Frank

In what has to be considered one of the biggest trades in modern NFL history, Super Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson has been dealt from the Seattle Seahawks to the Denver Broncos.

In return for the future first ballot Hall of Famer, Seattle has received fellow quarterback Drew Lock, defensive tackle Shelby Harris, two first-round picks, two second-round picks and a fifth-round selection.

This blockbuster comes after a calendar year of speculation that Russell Wilson and his now-former Seahawks team were not on firm footing. Primarily, the quarterback’s relationship with head coach Pete Carroll had been souring.

Despite Carroll recently indicating that Wilson was not going to be moved, it became clear things were not sustainable in the Pacific Northwest. Below, we look at four winners and losers from this eye-opening and earth-shattering blockbuster.

Related: Russell Wilson and NFL’s top QBs of 2022

Winner: Russell Wilson heads to contending team

Seattle-Seahawks-Russell-Wilson
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Last season was a rude awakening for Wilson and his former Seahawks squad. The talent level that general manager John Schneider built up in Seattle was dwindling big time. In the end, Seattle finished with a 7-10 record and in last place in the NFC West. Two other teams in the division, the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers, played one another in the NFC Championship Game.

Wilson now heads to a Broncos team that is now in firm contention with the nine-time Pro Bowler under center. Denver boasts a legit pair of weapons at wide receiver in that of Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. It also has a stud young running back, Javonte Williams.

Boasting one of the most-talented defenses in the NFL, Denver is in prime position to challenge the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West. That would not have been the case if Wilson opted to remain with Seattle in the NFC West. It’s that simple.

Related: NFL off-season trade rumors

Loser: Optics for Pete Carroll are not great

russell wilson, pete carroll, seattle seahawks
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

“It’s commonplace for us to have conversations with teams about all of the players, particularly marquee players. That’s not changed. It’s been the same every year. It’s the same.

We have no intention of making any move there (regarding Wilson. But the conversations, John has to field those, he always has. But nothing specific.”

Pete Carroll on Russell Wilson situation (March 2, 2022)

For a head coach in Pete Caroll who has some say in player personnel matters, this is not a great look. He’s been pushing back against the idea that Seattle would trade Wilson dating back to last offseason. Is he in the loop when it comes to these matters anymore? It’s a big question.

All of this comes amid previous reports suggesting that Carroll’s relationship with Mr. Wilson had been deteriorating over the past couple years. Once owner Paul Allen died back in 2018, there was some thought given to the idea that Wilson didn’t like the fact Carroll was taking on some sort of a CEO role to fill the vacuum.

From a broader perspective, what happens to Carroll in Seattle moving forward? He’s the oldest head coach in the NFL at 70 years old. The Seahawks are now likely going into full-scale rebuild mode. We wouldn’t be surprised if some news broke in this regard moving forward.

Related: Sportsnaut’s updated 2022 NFL mock draft

Winner: Denver Broncos finally get their man in Russell Wilson

NFL: Denver Broncos-Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett Press Conference
John Leyba-USA TODAY Sports

Before George Paton took over as the Broncos’ general manager last year, front office head John Elway had struggled finding a competent quarterback to replace Peyton Manning.

It’s been six years of futility under center in Denver since Manning’s retirement following the 2015 season. That’s not hyperbole. Look at how Broncos quarterbacks have performed during this six-year span.

  • 2016: Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch (3,914 yards, 20 TD, 11 INT, 83.9 rating)
  • 2017: Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler (3,668 yards, 19 TD, 22 INT, 73.0 rating)
  • 2018: Case Keenum (3,930 yards, 19 TD, 15 INT, 82.1 rating)
  • 2019: Joe Flacco, Drew Lock, Brandon Allen (3,401 yards, 16 TD, 10 INT, 84.1 rating)
  • 2020: Drew Lock, Jeff Driskel, Brett Rypien (3,673 yards, 21 TD, 23 INT, 72.5 rating)
  • 2021: Teddy Bridgewater, Drew Lock (3,856 yards, 20 TD, 9 INT, 91.7 rating)

It’s not a coincidence that the Broncos have missed out on the playoffs each season while boasting a combined record of 39-58.

General manager George Paton went big-game hunting for the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson this offseason. He landed one of the two — creating a championship-caliber roster in the process.

Related: NFL’s highest-paid quarterbacks of 2022

Loser: Quarterback-needy teams

NFL: Combine
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Now that Rodgers has signed an extension that makes him the highest-paid player in the NFL and with Russell Wilson headed to Denver, other teams are left out in the cold.

The Washington Commanders had reportedly put together a blockbuster package for Wilson earlier in the offseason. Nothing came to fruition on that end. It’s likely Seattle simply didn’t want to trade the Super Bowl quarterback to an NFC team.

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Meanwhile, the Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are all now in desperation mode to land a starter-caliber signal caller.

With the Deshaun Watson legal situation firmly up in the air, the pickings are slim. These teams will now have to turn to the San Francisco 49ers in trade talks for Jimmy Garoppolo. Struggling Indianapolis Colts signal caller Carson Wentz also becomes an option.

This is all sorts of ugly leading up to a 2022 NFL Draft that’s seen as weak at the quarterback position.

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