It's a good thing it's Friday, because I'm going to need all weekend to try and figure out what's going on with Russell Wilson.
I mean, he didn't request a trade, but he made a list of teams that he wants to be traded to just in case a trade happens? First, let me say that this is about the most passive-aggressive way that you could possibly make a trade demand without technically making a trade demand. This would be like me going up to my wife and saying, "Look, I'm happy with you, but here's a list of four women and if any of them ever calls to ask if I'm available, then I'm probably going to have to leave you."
I'm not a relationship counselor, but I have to think my marriage wouldn't be lasting much longer in that scenario, which is why I'm starting to feel like Wilson and the Seahawks are done.
Wilson wants a say in how the roster is constructed and he also wants a say in what kind of offense the Seahawks run, which means he basically wants to share power with the head coach and general manager, who it doesn't sound like they want to share power with him. That's a disaster waiting to happen and since I thrive in disaster situations, I went ahead and ranked Wilson's potential trade destinations.
Wilson isn't the only person we'll be talking about today. To find out what else we have in store for you, let's get to the rundown. As always, here's your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. All you have to do is click here and then share the link. If you tell everyone you know to sign up and then ask them to tell everyone they know, the entire world could be signed up in a matter of days.
1. Today's show: Dissecting Russell Wilson rumors
During the offseason, the Friday episode of the podcast is almost always a mailbag, but this week, we kind of got sidetracked by all the Russell Wilson news out there. Although we did eventually answer a few questions from the mailbag, we spent most of our time talking about what's next for Russell Wilson.
Wilson isn't happy in Seattle and although he hasn't asked for a trade yet, he has made a list of teams that he wants to play for in case a trade happens and that list includes the Cowboys, Raiders, Bears and Saints. Obviously, this means we had to take a look at which one of those teams has the best chance to land him.
Here's my personal take on each situation (The teams are ordered based on whom I think has the best chance of landing Wilson).
- Bears: The Bears have spent nearly 50 years looking for a franchise quarterback and now, one has fallen in their lap. If Ryan Pace didn't call the Seahawks about a trade five minutes after Wilson's list came out, he should be fired. The Bears should do whatever it takes to land Wilson, even if that means letting Seattle pick any five players off their roster.
- Raiders: From a logical standpoint, I think this trade would make the most sense. The Seahawks want a quarterback who loves to check down and doesn't mind playing in a run-oriented offense (Hello Derek Carr) while Jon Gruden wants a quarterback who will throw downfield. A trade that sends Wilson to Las Vegas and Carr to Seattle almost makes too much sense.
- Saints: The Saints are roughly $500 million over the cap, which means if they want to add Wilson, they'd have to release 47 players, and yes, I'm exaggerating slightly here, but not by much. The guys at OverTheCap have them at $69 million over the cap and it's hard to see how they'd be able to get a deal done. Of course, the Saints have been making salary cap magic happen for nearly a decade now, so I'm not going to completely rule them out.
- Cowboys: Any team that trades for Wilson would only owe him $23.3 million per year over the next three seasons and if you're Jerry Jones, that seems a lot more attractive than giving Dak Prescott a contract worth $40 million per year, especially when you consider that Dak is coming off a major injury. The problem for the Cowboys is that Dak would probably have to be involved in any trade, which means it would have to be a sign-and-trade deal, which means he could nix any deal by not signing his franchise tag and/or his contract extension. If even Dak was willing to sign, it's hard to imagine the Seahawks wanting to add a $40 million per year QB when they'll be taking a $39 million cap hit on Wilson if they trade him. That would put them in a spot where quarterback salaries are eating up $79 million of their $180 million cap space (43.8%).
If you want to see what kind of compensation could make sense in any potential trade, you can click here to see the projected trade compensation that the Cowboys, Raiders, Saints, Bears would likely have to give up to land Wilson. Also, I have to say that I'm shocked the Dolphins didn't make Wilson's list. If I'm Miami, I'm calling and making an offer for Wilson anyway. Can't imagine Russell and Ciara would turn down South Beach.
To listen to today's episode, be sure to click here.
2. Deshaun Watson finally meets with Texans' new coach and things didn't go well
If the Texans were hoping that new coach David Culley might be able to convince Deshaun Watson to rescind his trade demand, they can go ahead and throw that hope out the window, because it's not going to happen.
Watson and Culley finally had their first meeting and if there was one major takeaway from that meeting for the new Texans coach, it's that there's a 99.99999% chance that Watson is never going to play for him.
According to ESPN.com, Watson made two things clear during the meeting: He still wants to be traded and he doesn't plan on playing for the Texans ever again.
Culley was hired by the Texans on Jan. 27 and then waited nearly three weeks before he met with Watson for the first time, so there's a chance he was hoping that things would have simmered down by the time their Feb. 19 meeting rolled around, but clearly, that's not how things played out, which means Watson and the team are now headed for a Texas-sized standoff. The Texans have insisted they're not going to trade him while Watson has insisted that he won't play for them if he doesn't get traded.
For some reason, I don't think Watson is bluffing, which means I think this will end with the star quarterback eventually getting dealt. Of course, before that can happen, the Texans actually have to pick up the phone. According to NFL.com, Houston won't even return calls about a potential Watson deal and because of that, other teams have now resorted to leaving voice mails for the Texans in hopes that their trade offer gets through to someone in the organization.
Can you send trade offers through USPS?
3. Don't look for Big Ben to take a pay cut
The Steelers have been insisting all offseason that if Ben Roethlisberger wants to return in 2021, the two sides will have to do something about his cap hit, which is scheduled to be $41.25 million. One easy way to fix that for the Steelers would have been to ask Big Ben to take a pay cut, but it doesn't seem like that's going to happen.
During an interview this week, Aditi Kinkhabwala from NFL Media said Roethlisberger's camp would be insulted if the team even broached the topic of Big Ben taking a pay cut.
"They would absolutely be insulted if the Pittsburgh Steelers act like he is," Kinkhabwala said, via Steelers Depot. "He is not raising his hand right now and saying, 'OK, you know what? I've made enough money. I've made half a billion dollars. Just pay me the veteran minimum and spend all the money on other people'"
Also, team president Art Rooney II didn't sound like someone who was going to be asking Ben to take a pay cut when he was asked about Roethlisberger's contract on Thursday.
"We think Ben played at a high level last year," said Rooney. "We won our division and set a franchise record for most consecutive wins to open a season, so there was a lot of good stuff. Ben was as disappointed as anybody the way it ended. That last game is just hard to swallow, and I think in part Ben wants to come back and leave on a high note."
Of Big Ben's $41.25 million cap hit, the Steelers have to eat $22.25 million this year no matter what. If he retired or got cut, that's going to be on the books. The only number that can be reduced from a cap standpoint is the $19 million he's scheduled to make in 2021. The easiest way for this to happen is to sign Big Ben to an extension that would turn $18 million of that into bonus money, which would then be spread out over the course of his contract. So if he signed a two-year deal, the Steelers would eat $10 million this year and $9 million next year (plus the $22.25 million). There's even a scenario where he could sign a five-year extension -- with Years 2 through 5 being voidable -- and you can see that scenario by clicking here.
4. Saints star Cam Jordan may have accidentally revealed New Orleans next starting QB
If Drew Brees ever decides to retire, the Saints are going to need a new starting quarterback and it appears Sean Payton has already made a decision on who that's going to be and during a recent interview on "The Great Dane" Podcast with Morten Andersen, Saints star Cam Jordan may have accidentally revealed the name of that player.
The subject of quarterbacks came up when Andersen asked if Taysom Hill would be the team's next starting quarterback.
"Jameis Winston up next, I believe, is what Sean Payton said," Jordan said.
Not only did Jordan point out that Winston would likely be the next starting quarterback, but he also added Payton has been kind of hinting at it all offseason. The Saints coach has done multiple interviews over the past month and in most of those interviews, he spent some serious time talking about how excited he would be to have Winston on the roster, even though the quarterback is currently set to be a free agent on March 17.
"Sean wouldn't say he's 'fighting for Jameis to be back' if our goal was to have Taysom," Jordan said.
Of course, this interview went down before Wilson openly admitted that he'd love to be traded to New Orleans, so it's always possible that Payton has already moved on from Winston and is now trying to pull off a trade for Wilson.
5. Ranking top free agents in the secondary
With free agency starting next month, now seems like a good time to take a look at players who will be available. Since I don't want to overwhelm you by listing every player who will be a free agent, we're going to do this in an organized manner. I'm going to list off the top players by position, and today, we're going to go with players in the secondary.
There could be a mass exodus of solid corners from the NFC West and that's because the top-three corners in our rankings all play in that division.
With that in mind, let's check out Tyler Sullivan's list of the top corners and top safeties who are headed for free agency, starting with the top-five cornerbacks.
And here are the top-five safeties, according to Sullivan.
Sullivan actually ranked the top-10 players at each position, and if you want to check out the rest of his rankings, be sure to click here.
6. Patriots getting defensive boost in 2021
We paid so much attention to the Patriots' quarterback situation last season that it's easy to forget how decimated their roster was due to player opt-outs. Due to the pandemic, multiple starters chose to sit out the season. Although the Patriots still don't have a quarterback, they will be getting those starters back.
The fact that the Patriots managed to go 7-9 last season is even more impressive when you consider that they had to replace their starting right tackle (Cannon), linebacker and safety just a month before the season started. Defensively, the Patriots never really found any replacements for Hightower or Chung, two key veterans who have a combined 18 years of experience playing on New England's defense.
If the Patriots can find a quarterback for 2021, they could be a dangerous team. Not only are they getting multiple starters back, but they also have more than $60 million in cap space to work with, which is an even bigger deal this year, because there are only three teams in the NFL that even have $50 million in cap space (Jaguars, Jets, Patriots). With the salary cap expected to fall between just $180 million and $185 million, the Patriots are in a prime position to make their roster better this offseason.
7. The Kicker: Buccaneers rookie ends season by getting awesome tattoo
If I ever win the Super Bowl, the first thing I'm going to do is get a giant tattoo, which means I have a lot in common with Antoine Winfield Jr., because that's exactly what the Buccaneers safety did this week. Winfield ended up getting a giant tattoo of the Lombardi Trophy that covers nearly his entire right forearm. If you want to see that tattoo -- and trust me, you do -- just click here.
"Make sure you leave some room," Brady wrote on Instagram.
That might be the most Tom Brady comment ever. The man is already planning on winning another Super Bowl and because of that, he's offering Winfield a friendly reminder to make sure there's enough room on his forearm for a second Lombardi Trophy.
I probably won't get any tattoos this weekend, but if I do, I'll be sure to share plenty of pictures here on Monday.