Given the way the NFL news cycle works, rumors about Russell Wilson’s future in Seattle may never really end.
But it appears you can cross off the Chicago Bears — who have long been said to be the team most interested in trading for Wilson — as the team agreed to terms with free agent quarterback Andy Dalton on Tuesday.
And with that, you may be able to also put an end to the rumors of Wilson getting traded.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that the Bears decided to sign Dalton after making “a very aggressive pursuit” of Wilson but were told that “Seattle is not trading him at this time.’’
OK, this being the NFL, some may take “at this time’’ and run with that as a sign that the door isn’t totally closed, especially with Deshaun Watson still unhappy in Houston and wanting to be traded, and the Texans Tuesday signing quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
Wilson’s contract with Seattle runs through 2023, so “at this time’’ could encompass a lot of ground.
But reports indicated that if Seattle had really wanted to trade Wilson now it could have to the Bears and gotten a significant haul
“Talk about unloading the chambers,” said Stacey Dales of the NFL Network describing Chicago’s efforts to get Wilson. “We’ll leave it right there as to how much they tried to go after Russell Wilson.”
But indications are that the Seahawks never gave serious thought to dealing Wilson, with the team knowing that would likely mean a few years of rebuilding.
The Bears were one of four teams on the list that Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, had told ESPN he would approve a trade to, the others being the Cowboys, Raiders and Saints, and the last of the four that seemed to have a need or desire to try to make a deal happen.
Rumors that Dalton would sign with the Bears heated up Monday night and were confirmed by several national reports Tuesday.
Dalton is said to be getting a one-year, $10 million deal that could grow to $13 million. The Bears also still have Nick Foles on their roster at a salary of $4 million for this year and a dead cap number of $10.6 million.
So, with more than $20 million invested in quarterbacks, the Bears seem done for the 2021 season.
Each of the other three teams on Wilson’s list appear to be set at QB as well, with Dallas having re-signed Dak Prescott, the Raiders seeming content with Derek Carr, and the Saints having re-signed Jameis Winston on Monday to compete with Taysom Hill to take over for Drew Brees.
True, there’s a rumor that the Seahawks would be interested in trading for Sam Darnold of the New York Jets to replace Wilson.
But that rumor, which gained traction in a story in the New York Daily News Monday, did not say the Seahawks and Jets would make a trade involving Wilson, but rather that the Seahawks would trade for Darnold after trading Wilson elsewhere.
Since Wilson has a no-trade clause in his contract, he has veto power over any trade. And with the four teams he had said he would approve a trade to appearing set at QB, then the rumors should quiet, no?
This being the NFL, don’t necessarily count on that.
But Tuesday’s news seemed to make the already razor-thin chances that Wilson would get traded anytime soon pretty much nonexistent.
Still, there remains the matter of whether there is really any fence-mending that needs to happen between Wilson and the Seahawks.
The trade rumors began over a month ago after Wilson made uncharacteristically harsh comments about his team’s offensive line, saying he was frustrated getting hit so often, and that he wanted more input into decisions the team makes. Wilson is said to have had a hand in choosing new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, who was hired before Wilson made his comments and trade rumors arose. Wilson is also thought upset at the team’s direction to a somewhat more conservative offense in the second half of the 2020 season.
Seattle is not thought to have had any desire to trade Wilson, and reports that the team engaged in trade talks appear to be overblown. Subsequent reports stated that Seattle listened to offers but never reciprocated, as the NFL Network put it, or engaged in any negotiations for Wilson.
One reason is simply that Wilson is the best option the team can find at quarterback and at age 32 (he turns 33 in November) remains in his prime. Another is a $39 million dead cap hit that Wilson has for the 2021 season if he were traded that would make it difficult to field a competitive team this season. Wilson has smaller dead cap hits of $26 million and $13 million in the final two years of his contract. It’s why some have surmised that if Wilson were to be traded by Seattle, it would be after the 2021 season.
Tuesday’s events seem to make clear that for now, Wilson is staying put.