Former Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had a possible message for Seattle fans that may be inclined to voice, via boos, their displeasure with the perception that he wanted to leave town after a decade.
The team, per Wilson, previously attempted to trade him.
“Definitely they tried to, a couple of times, tried to see what was out there,” Wilson said, via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com. “It’s part of the business, being a professional and everything else. . . . I believe in my talents, of who I am, I feel I’m one of the best in the world.”
There hasn’t been much reporting on any specific efforts by the Seahawks to trade Wilson. Chris Simms has said in the past on PFT Live that the Seahawks offered Wilson to the Browns for the first overall pick in the 2018 draft, which the Seahawks would have used to draft quarterback Josh Allen.
I’ve heard that the same thing happened a year later, with the Seahawks floating the possibility of sending Wilson to the Cardinals for the first pick in 2019. They likely would have selected quarterback Kyler Murray.
The latter effort came at a time when Wilson expected a new contract that paid him at the top of the market. Instead of trading him, the Seahawks gave Wilson a four-year extension with a new-money average of $35 million per year, a record at the time.
The temptation to swap out Wilson for a younger quarterback likely came from the starkly different financial realities between paying an established franchise quarterback and compensating the top overall pick via a wage-scale contract. The top pick in 2018, Baker Mayfield, got a four-year, $32.7 million deal. In 2019, Murray signed a four-year, $35.6 million deal.
In other words, the Seahawks could have had Murray for four years at roughly the same amount as the annual average of the deal the Seahawks gave to Wilson.
The trade that finally occurred in 2022 happened as the Seahawks faced the reality of Wilson wanting another massive new deal, next year if not sooner. (He recently signed a deal that pays $48.5 million per year in new money.) Given that the Seahawks have never fully embraced using Wilson like a true franchise quarterback, with the offense built entirely around his skills (which the Broncos will do), it made no sense for the Seahawks to keep paying him that way—and for the Seahawks to trade him to a team that will both use him and pay him like a short-list franchise quarterback.