Quarterback drama is apparently the thing of 2021. Free agency won't officially kick off for more than a month, and already we've had two big-name signal-callers packaged in a reported trade, plus another dozen and a half rumored to be available. The latest name on the pile: Russell Wilson. The longtime Seahawks star has been unusually blunt about his recent disappointment in Seattle this week, prompting rumors and speculation about the possibility of Wilson angling for a move elsewhere.
There's no indication the Seahawks are even considering shopping their former Super Bowl champion, nor is it likely that will happen. But some teams have reportedly at least begun sniffing around Wilson, and the QB himself hasn't exactly shut down whispers of his availability, saying this week the idea of him being on the trade market is "a Seahawks question."
With all that in mind, we decided to take a premature dive into logical suitors. Who would call about a possible Wilson trade? Well, most everyone. But here are 13 teams that would deserve special attention in the event Russ goes on the market:
Sean Payton would do cartwheels if Wilson arrived as the successor to Drew Brees. Wilson would have no trouble signing off on a move to New Orleans, where he'd get to suit up alongside Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, not to mention shots at Seattle. The only issue: Even with Brees restructuring his deal to save the Saints money, this would likely take one of the greatest salary cap manipulations the NFL has ever seen.
Can you imagine the excitement in Steel City if Ben Roethlisberger were to retire, only to give way to Russ? Talk about a ticket to more Super Bowl runs for Mike Tomlin. Much like the Saints, however, they're not exactly in a position to spend big. They've also never been one to mortgage a crazy package for instant gratification.
If the Eagles actually deal Carson Wentz, nothing would be more Howie Roseman-esque than the general manager swinging big for a guy he's famously talked up -- and once scouted heavily -- in years past. What about sending Wentz to Seattle, where he could rebuild within a more run-heavy system, to seal the deal? The issue -- you guessed it -- is Philly's daunting cap situation.
10. Denver Broncos
This much is true: if Wilson were actually on the block, they would call. Drew Lock is not on firm ground. They've got a healthy amount of cap space. And they could sell Seattle on getting Wilson out of the NFC. Other than that, however, it seems like a long shot Russ would be giddy to leave the Seahawks for the Broncos, where the coaching, talent and track record is inferior.
Few teams are as desperate for a QB fix as the Bears, so they could probably be ranked higher. But while Wilson would definitely make them playoff contenders immediately, there are a few holdups: They don't have any QB (Nick Foles?) to throw the Seahawks in return, they reside in the NFC, and Wilson probably isn't eager to team up with a regime in a make-or-break year.
They don't have the big-market appeal of a New York or Las Vegas, which seems like an underrated factor here. And, at least historically, they've been far from a model franchise. But Ron Rivera is the kind of coach Wilson could get behind. Ditto Washington's defense. It would take an insane offer, but WFT loves itself veteran QB acquisitions.
Would Wilson sign off on a move to Foxborough, where the Pats were devoid of talent in 2020 and have famously been a tight ship under Bill Belichick? New England has the cap space to add supplementary pieces and is desperate for a long-term answer under center. Something says Russ wouldn't mind trying to resurrect what Tom Brady left behind.
Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock can lavish Derek Carr with praise all they want, but common sense says they'd pounce on an upgrade if they knew it were substantial and feasible. Wilson is at least one of those, and the Raiders' cap space -- with an accompanying Carr trade or release -- suggests it might be possible, too. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora has already identified Vegas as a true fit: Gruden and Wilson admire each other, Russ would likely embrace the freedom of Vegas' offense, and both sides would give the NFL's hottest new market a big-name figurehead. The Seahawks, meanwhile, would keep him out of the NFC.
GM Joe Douglas would almost certainly rather save up picks and build organically, but Wilson is no slouch. Acquiring him wouldn't just make New York at least a few wins better in 2021, but it'd also revitalize the Jets' market more than any move has since, oh, Brett Favre's arrival from Green Bay. Wilson, meanwhile, might not turn down the chance at playing under former Seahawks understudy Robert Saleh in the Big Apple.
From a competitive standpoint, the Panthers seem like a ways removed from Seahawks-level contention, and their NFC location wouldn't necessarily sit well with Seattle. But everything else fits: Wilson began his college career at NC State in North Carolina, the Panthers have a revered program-builder in Matt Rhule, not to mention a hunger for a big QB upgrade; and new GM Scott Fitterer hails from Seattle's front office.
If ever there were a time for GM Chris Ballard to get unorthodox and risk it all in a trade, you'd think it'd be here. No team is better positioned to acquire -- and more in need of -- a bona fide star QB than the Colts. They're loaded with cap space. They're built to win now. They're not in a great spot to get a top rookie QB. And the Seahawks could send him to the AFC! It might take a historic haul, but can you imagine the praise for Ballard if he's able to replace Andrew Luck -- a few years late, but still -- with Russ?
In terms of likelihood, they're much farther down the list. Dak Prescott, after all, has already proven in Dallas he deserves a big commitment. But play out the scenario: Jerry Jones tags Prescott and, rather than swallowing the lucrative pill of a huge extension he waited too long to dole out, ships Dak to Seattle for a QB he believes is more like championship material anyway. Why would Wilson refuse to go, by the way? You don't get much bigger than America's Team. The Cowboys absolutely feel like a franchise that would go big and bold for a talent of Wilson's caliber. The only hurdle would be convincing Seattle to send him within the conference.
There's a reason the Dolphins have been linked to Deshaun Watson, and there's at least a small reason coach Brian Flores felt the need to use Ryan Fitzpatrick as a "relief pitcher" for rookie Tua Tagovailoa in 2020. Miami isn't yet sold on its long-term QB plans. The 'Phins have plenty of money. They have lots of draft capital. They have Tua to dangle in trade talks. Wilson, meanwhile, seems like a safe bet to sign off on a potential move to Miami, which is a far cry from Seattle in terms of weather but also boasts a roster ready to compete in 2021 and beyond. Can't you just see Russ in the Dolphins jersey now?