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Discussion: Should the Broncos consider a Russell Wilson trade?

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Is 2 firsts, Chris Harris, and Joe Flacco too much for a potential Hall of Fame QB?

NFL: Pro Bowl
Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in football.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

In case you were absorbed in the Masters and/or Game of Thrones this weekend, there were some interesting developments in the NFL. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Russell Wilson may want out of Seattle.

Per a league source, the Seahawks think that Wilson would like to play elsewhere, even if he hasn’t and wouldn’t ever say it. They also believe that this unspoken dynamic will cause Wilson to drive a harder bargain with them than he would with another team.

That, combined with the deadline Wilson imposed on the Seahawks for a new deal (yesterday) means there’s a better than 0% chance the Pro Bowl quarterback plays out the final season of his contract this year. Come 2020 Seattle would be faced with a pretty onerous franchise tag if they want to keep him in the Pacific Northwest. Florio suggested that there’s a possibility Seattle’s General Manager John Schneider cuts the cord.

With Wilson entering the final year of his second contract and the Seahawks staring at an or-else proposition of $30.34 million in 2020, $36.4 million in 2021, and $52.43 million in 2022 under the franchise tag, the question becomes whether the Seahawks would simply do what the Raiders did with linebacker Khalil Mack, punting on the future Hall of Famer, picking up multiple high-round picks, and rolling the dice on a rookie quarterback, whose overall cap burden would give the team the kind of maximum flexibility it enjoyed when Wilson was operating under his rookie deal in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

So how does this concern the Broncos? Well, Benjamin Allbright dropped this tidbit on Twitter Saturday.

I have my own feelings on the matter, but thought it best to ask the gang at Mile High Report their thoughts on a potential trade. So I asked.

Our conversation has been lightly edited for clarty.

If the Seahawks are seriously taking offers for Russell Wilson. How much would you offer to get a deal done?

Scotty: Being a team located near NYC would help. Reality is, he wants NYC. If he doesn’t want Seattle, he certainly doesn’t want Denver. Ciara pulling them strings

JoRo: It reminds me of Melo. You’re probably right, but it’s interesting to think about. I know Laurie is out on the Chris Harris part of the deal Allbright floated.

Scotty: Sentiment is her weakness.

Laurie: It absolutely is my weakness, and I wouldn’t mind having Russ Wilson (though I really, really want us to find our own quarterback that we can have for 12-15 years and quit borrowing everyone else’s reject or salary cap casualty). And I would hate - HATE - losing Chris Harris Jr. the same way I hated losing Aqib Talib when everyone was like, “He’s close to the wrong side of 30” or “he’s a year out from the ‘drop-off.’” Except that our replacements for him were on the wrong side of talent, so we were the big losers. All that said, I think it’s the two first-round picks that I couldn’t give up, especially when a mobile QB will have a shorter shelf-life and he’s already on Year 8.

Ian Henson: Two first-round picks, a second, and Brock Osweiler.

Scotty: Heck yeah I’m trading an older corner for a Franchise QB. I‘d love Wilson but he has his eyes elsewhere, and Giants would be dumb not to make that deal.

Jeff: I’d be sad to let CHJ go, but would totally do it if Wilson was available. Him and Lindsay with the running game paired with a Fangio defense immediately makes us SB contenders for the next few years.

JoRo: Harris is one of just two current Bronco jersey’s I own. I love him, but I think you have to make this deal if it became available. Wilson’s a future Hall of Famer at the most important position in football.

Scotty: Not sure CHJ really adds a ton of value to a trade anyways. An old corner in the final year of his deal? Aqib Talib was worth a 5th round pick.

Taylor: He’s not that old. Literally just turned 30. He’s got several good years left in him. Talib was a massive steal for a 5th.

Scotty: Good salesman work there. Or that’s the market for 30+ year old corners in the final year of their deal.

Jeff: Wilson would make the best use of the rest of Von Miller’s prime too.

Scotty: He would have been fun with Odell Beckham Jr. too but at least he’ll have Saquon Barkley

Jeff: Yeah, he’d be fun in New York too. Anything that gets him out of the schotty offense he’s in now.

Scotty: He wants NY...they really need a QB. Will Dave Gettleman get over his love for Eli?

Jeff: And they just offloaded a bunch of cap.

Scotty: 6 and 17 could do it too.

Jeff: Yeah, that’d be a good trade.

Adam: I’m a little late to the party here, but I’d part with 2 firsts and CHJ, and that hurts. I love Strap.

Jeff: I feel like that’s a good deal given what other teams have given up to trade up into the draft for an unknown QB.

Jess: Seattle won’t let him walk. No way.

Scotty: ...and he’s not going to Denver.

Jeff: You lose some years from Wilson and have to pay him a ton for the right to know he’s a surefire top 5 QB. Seems fair to me.

Jess: Just because the player sets a deadline, it all BS because he has no leverage.

Matt LaFleur, Aaron Rodgers begin their Packers partnership | SI.com

So what do we know? We know that Wilson will be the Seahawks’ quarterback in 2019. And we think he’ll be their quarterback in 2020. But the fact that today’s deadline has come without a deal signals at least a little bit of uncertainty ahead.

Jeff: Let me dream, guys!

Jess: The Seahawks were irrelevant pretty much their entire existence before he got there. No chance they risk going backward.

Scotty: Price tag would be high...but he’s not re-signing regardless. Final year of his deal. If he wants the big city...deal him.

Jess: The fans would riot, and that’s why I’m in support of a trade.

Ian St. Clair: I would do that trade for Wilson in a heartbeat. I think he and, more importantly, his wife, want to go to New York, but no doubt you make that move.

JoRo: I know a large swath of Broncos Country is reluctant to dump Harris.

Ian St. Clair: To bring in an elite quarterback, in his prime, that’s what you’re adding. I don’t think it’s dumping on Harris because you know what you’re getting in return. If anything I think it shows the value of Harris. But when you can add an elite, special quarterback, you do it. Watching Wilson in orange would be hella fun. Plus it would end the talk Elway doesn’t like short QBs

JoRo: I’m with you. I may be a bad fan, but the two firsts were the hardest part of the deal for me. If you hit those picks that’s potentially two cost controlled Pro Bowl talents you’re giving up.

Ian St. Clair: If Wilson does what the organization and fans expect/hope, they’re picking at the end of the first round. So, in essence, Denver is trading two second-round picks.

Joe M: Wilson is really good, but without a supporting cast he’s not leading you to the playoffs. Two first round picks means two starters (in threory) at positions where we need talent (ILB, TE, WR, IOL). From a purely analytics standpoint you have to figure how many wins would this trade gain or lose in the near term, intermediate term and long term.

JoRo: Do you think it would cost wins?

Joe M: Yes. Russell Wilson is in the final year of his contract. He would not resign in Denver without becoming one of the highest paid, if not THE highest paid QB in football. That will tie up a large chunk of the Broncos salary cap for 4-5 years so for 2020-2024.

Let’s say he gets Aaron Rodgers Money ($33.5 million/year) since both took their teams to two Super Bowls and won one. The 2020 NFL salary cap is 189 million. So that would mean the Broncos would have 18% of the team’s total salary cap tied up in the QB. Now factor in Von’s $25MM cap hit and you are at $58.5MM tied up in two players - 31% of the team’s total salary tied up in two elite but aging players.

So why do I think this will cost wins? Doesn’t having and elite QB lead to more wins? Yes, but I think the losses from having a sub-par ILB corps, or a below average CB group, or a weak WR group, or a non-existent TE group, will outweigh the gains from having an elite QB (and no, Joe Flacco, is not and will never be an elite NFL QB - Russell Wilson is).

Not to mention that Russell Wilson has taken a lot of hits playing behind the terrible OL’s in SEA. Wilson has been sacked 299 times and hit an additional 162 times. Here the pass blocking ranks of his OL for every year he’s been in the league

2012 - 9th

2013 - 21st

2014 - 23rd

2015 - 27th

2016 - 29th

2017 - 26th

2018 - 19th

Wilson has been beaten up during his career. It’s going to start taking its toll on him soon.

Poll

Would you trade for Russell Wilson?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    Yes. No doubt about it.
    (428 votes)
  • 27%
    No. He’s overrated.
    (406 votes)
  • 42%
    Depends on the cost. We can’t trade a future Ring of Famer.
    (620 votes)
1454 votes total Vote Now