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Seahawks reportedly agree to trade Russell Wilson to Broncos

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson looked to throw during the first half of the team’s game against the Los Angeles Rams, Dec. 21, in Inglewood, Calif. The Seahawks have reportedly agreed to deal quarterback Russell Wilson to Denver for a mammoth haul of five draft picks and three players that includes two first-round picks and quarterback Drew Lock.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson looked to throw during the first half of the team’s game against the Los Angeles Rams, Dec. 21, in Inglewood, Calif. The Seahawks have reportedly agreed to deal quarterback Russell Wilson to Denver for a mammoth haul of five draft picks and three players that includes two first-round picks and quarterback Drew Lock.

SEATTLE >> In one of the biggest — if not the biggest — trades in Seattle sports history, the Seahawks have reportedly agreed to deal quarterback Russell Wilson to Denver for a mammoth haul of five draft picks and three players that includes two first-round picks and quarterback Drew Lock.

The NFL Network reported that the deal has been in the works for several weeks and came to fruition today after Denver learned it would not be able to get Aaron Rodgers, who agreed to a four-year deal worth $200 million to stay with Green Bay.

That contact was also likely to serve as a starting point for any future talks between Wilson and Seattle — he had two years remaining on his contract — and likely also played a role in the Seahawks deciding to move on from Wilson knowing that they might be able to get its best package in return for Wilson now rather than waiting a year.

According to multiple reports, Seattle will also send a fourth-round pick to Denver while getting three players, including Lock, as well as two first-rounders, two second-rounders and a fifth. Lock, a second-round pick of the Broncos in 2019, has an 8-13 record as a starter, including 0-3 in 2021.

According to multiple reports, one of the other players Seattle is expected to get is defensive end Shelby Harris, a 30-year-old who had six sacks in 2021. Harris has two years remaining on his contract, due to make $7.5 million in 2022.

Seattle is also expected to get tight end Noah Fant, who is entering his fourth year and had 68 receptions for 670 yards and four touchdowns last season.

The trade technically cannot become official until the new league year begins on March 16, which is also the beginning of the trade period and there was no immediate comment from the Seahawks.

One of the first-round picks is expected to include Denver’s pick at No. 9 this year, with which Seattle could go after a quarterback to replace Wilson, either picking there — though this is not regarded as a strong year for quarterbacks in the draft — or to use as trade capital to get a veteran, or to acquire more picks.

The NFL Network reported that Wilson will waive the his no-trade clause and allow the trade to happen.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll said last week at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis that the Seahawks “had no intention” to trade Wilson and that general manager John Schneider had told teams who called about Wilson that Seattle “was not shopping the quarterback.”

But the Seahawks stopped short of saying Wilson would not be dealt, and according to the NFL Network, Seattle had at least two other offers for Wilson, including one that was reported last week from Washington.

The NFL Network reported that Denver was Wilson’s preferred destination due in part to the team’s core of young receivers and its defense.

The trade means Wilson will still play a game in Seattle next season as the Broncos are on the list of Seahawks home opponents in 2022.

Thus ends the 10-year career of Wilson in Seattle, one that may have been as important as any in franchise history, if not Seattle sports history.

The Seahawks had had four straight losing seasons before Wilson arrived in 2012, taken in the third round at No. 75 overall out of Wisconsin.

He led Seattle to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth his first year and then to the Super Bowl each of his next two seasons, including the Seahawks’ only title following the 2013 season.

But Seattle has not advanced past the divisional round since 2015, adding to frustration for Wilson, who last year began talking about his legacy.

Wilson had two years remaining on his contract at $35 million a season and the Seahawks knew they would have to offer him a massive contract to keep him following the 2022 season.

Wilson ended last season with the most wins of any quarterback in the first 10 years of his career of any in NFL history — 113.

But Wilson, who turned 33 in November, endured the worst season of his career in 2021, missing three games with a ruptured and dislocated right middle finger as Seattle fell to 7-10, the first losing season for the Seahawks since 2011, the year before Wilson was famously drafted in the third round out of Wisconsin at number 75 overall.

Rumors surrounding Wilson’s future began circulating last season when he said he was frustrated with how often he had been hit during his career and it was later reported that his agent, Mark Rodgers, had told the team he would approve a trade to one of four teams — the Saints, Raiders, Packers and Bears.

Denver was not on that list, but the Broncos were known aggressively pursuing a quarterback and apparently made Seattle an offer too good to refuse.

Wilson said repeatedly this offseason that his “hope” was to end his career in Seattle. But like the team, he never definitively said that he wanted to stay.

That Carroll turns 71 in September had led to the idea that the team would keep Wilson for one more season and keep the team largely together in 2021 and try to get back to the playoffs.

But indications are that the Seahawks could now be active in attempting to go after other quarterbacks who may be available, which could include the likes of Carson Wentz of Indianapolis, Jimmy Garoppolo of the 49ers and possibly Deshaun Watson of Houston, among others.

Seattle will save $11 million against the cap with the trade of Wilson but will still take on a $26 million dead cap hit.

However, the trade also means Seattle will save $27 million against the cap in 2023, the final year of Wilson’s contract, and can forge contracts with other players this season knowing it has that cap space available down the road.

Like Seattle, Denver finished 7-10 in 2021. But the Broncos then fired Vic Fangio and hired Nathanial Hackett as their new head coach. Hackett comes from an offensive background having been the offensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers the last three seasons.

That undoubtedly appealed to Wilson, who it has been rumored has at times felt stifled in the offense of Seattle and Carroll, who comes from a defensive background and has stressed being careful with the football and building around a running game.

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