While no one really knows if the Seahawks are considering trading Russell Wilson, what is known is that the quarterback would approve a trade to one of four teams.
And Friday, a report emerged that one of those teams — the Chicago Bears — is gearing up to get him.
According to ESPN, the Bears are one of four teams that Wilson would approve a trade, as stated by his agent Mark Rodgers. The others are Dallas, Las Vegas and New Orleans. Rodgers has not responded to requests for comment.
The Chicago Tribune on Friday reported that, according to multiple sources, “the Bears have prioritized making a run at Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.’’
The report is the first to state that one of Wilson’s four preferred teams seems serious about making an attempt to trade for him.
The Bears were initially regarded as the head-scratching entrant on Wilson’s wish list due to their mediocre showings in recent years and that head coach Matt Nagy is entering his fourth season in 2021 squarely on the hot seat, holding a 28-20 regular-season and 0-2 playoff mark.
But ESPN reported earlier this week that Wilson likes the idea of the Bears due to the offense run by Nagy — who was the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs under Andy Reid before taking over the Bears three years ago — and what he feels is an “emerging’’ Chicago offensive line.
Wilson may also simply like the idea that the Bears haven’t been known for their quarterbacks — meaning, he could create a legacy of his own, a word Wilson has used a few times of late — and that they were a playoff team a year ago despite a quarterback merry-go-round between Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky.
Trubisky is a free agent, leaving Foles as Chicago’s apparent starting QB heading into 2021, barring a move.
As the Tribune noted, a trade between the Seahawks and Bears involving Wilson wouldn’t be easy.
The Seahawks would obviously need to get a QB to replace Wilson, and via trade would be the easiest way. Who knows if the Seahawks would view the 32-year-old Foles as a signal caller the team could win with now. Foles, at least, would be relatively cheap, carrying a $6.66 million cap hit in 2021.
Still, the Seahawks would take a $39 million dead cap hit trading Wilson before June 1, one reason most have assumed a trade won’t happen. And the combination of Wilson and Foles would mean more than $45 million in a cap hit at QB in 2021, a tough number around which to build the rest of the team.
But the Bears could also offer draft picks. They hold all of their upcoming first-round picks, including No. 20 this year in the first round and 52 in the second.
And if nothing else, the report paints the Bears as the team among Wilson’s four preferred trade partners that may be the most likely to try to make a deal.
Dallas is thought to be trying to keep pending free agent Dak Prescott. The Saints have a terrible salary-cap situation, still almost $61 million over the projected number for 2021, meaning they’d have a hard time taking on Wilson’s $19 million salary for this season even if they wanted to (or, having to figure out quickly how to do an extension that would satisfy Wilson while also putting the team in position to field a competitive team around him).
Raider general manager Mike Mayock this week gave QB Derek Carr a strong vote of confidence (though it’s probably risky to read much into that).
The Tribune report makes clear that there remains plenty of smoke surrounding Wilson until either he or the Seahawks say something definitively about his future — even if how much fire there really is remains hard to tell.
At about the same time the Tribune story surfaced Friday, former NFL receiver Brandon Marshall — who played seven games with the Seahawks in 2018 — weighed in on the topic again on the FS1 show “First Things First.”
Marshall said last month he thinks Wilson may be trying to force his way out of Seattle but doing so in a “a classy way.’’
Friday, Marshall said in response to another report that the Seahawks are listening to offers to Wilson — something that has been reported for a while now — that he thinks they may be listening more intently this time, stating “reality is finally setting in for the Seahawks. It might be time to move on.’’
The Seahawks have not commented on rumors involving Wilson and it’s unclear if the team will in any manner until coach Pete Carroll and/or general manager John Schneider hold a regular news conference. It’s also not clear when that will be. They would usually have talked at the NFL combine, but that was not held this year.
Former Seahawk Britt signs with Houston
While the Seahawks did not have any transactions Friday there was one involving a former Seahawk — Justin Britt.
Britt, who was a second-round pick by the Seahawks out of Missouri in 2014, signed a one-year deal with Houston, reported to be worth up to $5 million.
Britt, 29, started for the Seahawks at guard, tackle and center from 2014-19 before suffering a knee injury midway through the 2019 season, making 86 starts in all.
The knee injury helped influence the team’s decision to release Britt last April with one year remaining on his contract. He spent last season rehabbing the knee.