TAMPA ― It may be easier to extract the Space Needle from Seattle than Russell Wilson.
Why would the Seahawks want to trade a nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback, Super Bowl champion, Walter Payton Man of the Year, Bart Starr Award winner and NFL passing yardage (2015) and touchdowns (2017) leader?
The short answer is, they don’t.
And yet, speculation continues to persist that the 33-year-old Wilson may want to re-start his career with another team after 10 seasons.
Could he be a possibility for the Bucs, as they seek a replacement for Tom Brady?
Is Wilson committed to Seattle?
A year ago, Wilson said the Seahawks’ pass protection is a “big thing that’s got to be fixed.”
But appearing on radio row at Super Bowl 56, Wilson sounded completely committed to remaining with Seattle. He also has some control over that with a no-trade clause.
“I want to win three more Super Bowls,” Wilson told SiriusXM last week. “That’s my focus, is to get back and win it again and for us to overcome all the obstacles. There’s nothing more fun than that.
“I’ve been fortunate to be able to play 10 amazing years in Seattle. My hope and goal is to be back there and keep winning there. That’s the vision, that’s the goal. That’s always been it, never been anything different.”
Still, NFL teams are bound to inquire about Wilson’s availability. The Seahawks will listen.
While it’s extremely unlikely coach Pete Carroll, who turns 71 in September, wants to start over at this point, the Seahawks first pick in the NFL draft this April will be 41st overall.
Seattle dealt what turned out to be the 10th overall pick to the Jets for safety Jamal Adams.
Needless to say, the Seahawks could use some draft capital to begin building again now that they are far removed from the Legion of Boom era.
Why he might fit
The Bucs are evaluating Russell among a host of quarterbacks who may become available this offseason.
It would be hard to imagine a better fit for Bruce Arians’ vertical passing game. Wilson has mobility and is as accurate with the deep pass as anyone in the NFL.
A year ago, NFL Network confirmed reports that Wilson would “strongly consider” waiving his no-trade clause for the Giants, Broncos or Saints. No deal materialized, and it seems even less likely one will now.
Start with the contract. Wilson has a $5 million roster bonus due March 20. He’s going to get it, because teams can’t make trades until next month, but it would inflate his salary-cap number to $37 million in 2022. If they traded Wilson, the Seahawks would be stuck with $31 million in dead money on their 2022 cap.
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They also would need to find another quarterback. Writes John Clayton of ESPN Seattle, “Giving up a quarterback as good as Wilson is like taking five wins off your roster.”
Furthermore, Clayton writes that he believes the Seahawks are making some moves on the offensive coaching staff that should convince Wilson about their commitment to winning.
Seattle fired offensive line coach Mike Solari and promoted Andy Dickerson to that position. Sanjay Lal also returned as passing game coordinator after spending a season with the Jaguars.
Wilson passed for 3,113 yards with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions last season despite starting only 14 games due to a significant finger injury on his right passing hand. Even so, he was good enough to beat the Lions and upset the Cardinals the final two weeks of the season.
The deep ball accuracy Wilson possesses would make him a perfect fit for Arians’ scheme. Wilson also knows the Bucs have a strong core of players returning, making them more than capable of making a run to defend their NFC South title. Meanwhile, the Rams, 49ers and Cardinals all are probably better than the Seahawks in the NFC West.
Even if the Seahawks were inclined to trade Wilson and he agreed, the Bucs don’t pick until 27th in the first round. It would likely take at least three first-rounders and some combination of picks or players as compensation for any deal involving Wilson.
The Seahawks and Wilson will listen.
But will they actually trade him? That’s a different story.
“They would be a sub-.500 team for a couple of years,” Clayton writes. “Is that what the Seahawks want? I don’t think so. They need Wilson in order to win.”
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