About a year ago Russell Wilson’s agent presented a list of four teams suitable for a trade for his client.
Washington didn’t make the cut.
The good news, however, is a lot can change in a year.
Half of the teams on Wilson’s 2021 list made major investments at the quarterback position, effectively eliminating their need or desire to trade for Wilson.
After an elaborate dance towards a long-term contract, Dallas finally locked up it’s own franchise QB Dak Prescott to a four-year, $160 million contract. The Bears traded up nine spots in last year's draft to grab athletic passer Justin Fields, a move that also cost them a first and fourth-round pick in this year's draft.
The other two teams underwent offseason coaching changes and don’t look nearly the same as this time last year.
For the Raiders, Derek Carr delivered perhaps his best season in 2021 and guided Las Vegas to a Wild Card spot. New head coach Josh McDaniels seems prepared to embrace Carr in a way the previous administration never quite did.
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New Orleans saw a tremendous loss with the resignation of Super Bowl-winning coach Sean Payton. The Saints still have talent and opted for continuity by promoting defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to the top coaching spot, but it’d be hard for anyone to argue the QB position in New Orleans is as attractive today as it was a season ago.
With Prescott signed through 2026, it's safe to take Dallas out of this conversation, but it’s premature to completely shut down the other options that previously attracted Wilson.
What if Vegas offers Carr and a draft pick in return for Wilson? Might be unlikely but not impossible.
Chicago could do something similar with Fields, although the Bears are light on draft capital after moving up to acquire the former Ohio State passer.
New Orleans doesn’t have an impressive signal-caller to send back unless Seattle likes Taysom Hill. Seems odd but Sean Payton sure liked Hill.
The entire conversation around a Russell Wilson trade might be silly to begin with.
It makes little if any sense that the Seahawks want to move on from a quarterback of Wilson's caliber, a nine-time Pro Bowler with a Super Bowl ring. But the trade speculation got real enough last year that Wilson's agent provided a list of suitable teams, and the 2021 season in Seattle was a bust. The team finished in last place in the NFC West and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
After suffering a finger injury, Wilson also missed three games in 2021, the first time in his NFL career he's been forced to miss action. In turn his completion percentage dipped to 64.8, his lowest figure since 2017. Wilson threw just 25 touchdowns in 14 games, his lowest scoring output since 2016.
Even with the down 2021 season, nobody is suggesting Wilson's star has faded. At least nobody writing in this space.
It does seem possible that Seattle might want to hit the refresh button and try to build back up in the draft. The Seahawks have mortgaged their draft picks for veteran players for years and don't hold a first-round pick this year. Trading Wilson would likely provide a bonanza of draft capital and jump start a Seahawk rebuild.
And there's a ton of speculation that Wilson wants out of Seattle. Perhaps it's to a bigger city or something more viable for his musician wife. Who knows what's real and what's not here, but there is a scenario where a trade could make sense for both sides.
The point is that nothing stands still in the NFL. A list of trade targets from a year ago looks completely different now.
Washington didn’t make the list in 2021.
That doesn’t mean the Commanders can’t make a new list in 2022.