Bears Insider

49ers, Broncos among winners in Wilson trade while Seahawks flop

Bears Insider
Russell Wilson

In a seismic move Tuesday, the Seattle Seahawks reportedly agreed to trade Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos for five draft picks and players Drew Lock, Shelby Harris and Noah Fant.

Wilson's move to Denver, which will be completed when the new league year begins, signals the dawn of a new era in the NFC and AFC West.

As with any move of this magnitude, there were clear winners and losers from the Seahawks' decision to deal Russ to Denver.

Winner: Broncos

Let's start with the obvious one.

In a division with Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and Derek Carr, the Broncos simply couldn't continue to bring Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater to the division gunfights.

Wilson is a nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback who has won a Super Bowl and played in another. He still is one of the top signal-callers in the league and gives Denver a chance to level the playing field with its division rivals.

Did I mention the Broncos didn't have to give up Jerry Jeudy, Patrick Surtain Jr., Courtland Sutton or Bradley Chubb? Heist.

Loser: Seahawks

Any time you're the team trading the best player in the deal it probably means you lost.

Yes, Seattle got two first-round picks and two second-round picks. That's good given Seattle's draft re... hold on ... I'm being told the Seahawks' draft record has left a lot to be desired over the past few seasons. The Seahawks' first-round picks since 2011 (that weren't traded away) are James Carpenter, Bruce Irvin, Germain Ifedi, Rashaad Penny, L.J. Collier and Jordyn Brooks. Yeeeeeesh. 


Well, at least the NF ... nope, the NFC West remains one of the toughest divisions in football and now the Seahawks have no clear answer at quarterback.

There's a chance Seattle pulls off the NFL's version of the tank and lands Bryce Young in the 2023 NFL Draft. But until that happens, the Seahawks will have started a full rebuild with no answer at the game's most important position and very well could have doomed themselves to half a decade or more in the cellar.


Winner: Fringe NFC playoff teams

The NFC now has seen Tom Brady retire and Wilson move conferences this offseason.

Given the current state of the quarterbacks in the NFC, Wilson's move could allow some teams on the postseason fringes to have more life when fighting for a wild-card spot in 2022.

The NFC's QB class is rather bleak.

Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford have won Super Bowls. Dak Prescott is 1-3 in his postseason career while Jalen Hurts and Kyler Murray both have made just one playoff start and were unimpressive on the big stage. Kirk Cousins might be able to get you to the playoffs but the postseason ride won't be long.

The Detroit Lions, New York Giants, Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons are unlikely to factor into the playoff conversation. The Bucs, Saints and Commanders have a question mark at quarterback. Trey Lance and Justin Fields are wildly talented but are have yet to prove they can lead a team to the playoffs.

The NFC got weaker with Wilson's exit and the race for the No. 6 and No. 7 seed should be a bloodbath of mediocrity.

Loser: Aaron Rodgers

Poor Aaron Rodgers.

The legendary quarterback claimed all year that he was being canceled for his vaccination views. And just when he grabbed the news cycle Tuesday by agreeing to return to the Green Bay Packers, the Wilson trade went and stole his oxygen.

So, naturally, Rodgers had to come out with a tweet saying reports of his record-breaking contract were inaccurate, but he would indeed remain a Packer.

There you go, Aaron. Don't let them silence you.

Winner: Russell Wilson

After spending 10 years in Seattle with Pete Carroll, Wilson finally gets to play for a head coach who sees the game through the quarterback and will construct an offense to maximize his talent.

With Nathaniel Hackett at the helm and with Jeudy, Sutton, Javonte Williams, K.J. Hamler and Tim Patrick, Wilson and the Broncos should have one of the NFL's most dangerous offenses in 2022.

Russ is going to be cooking with gas in the Mile High City.

Loser: AFC West

It doesn't get any easier for the residents of the AFC West.

Patrick Mahomes has lorded over that division for the last four seasons, Justin Herbert already is an elite quarterback and Derek Carr led the Raiders to the playoffs last season amid a tidal wave of turmoil. The hiring of Josh McDaniels should help Carr elevate his game even further.


Enter: Russell Wilson.

With Wilson joining the Broncos, that means that each AFC West team will have to face a top-12 quarterback (depending on where you slot Carr) in six of its 17 games. There will be no division gimmes.

Mahomes. Herbert. Wilson. Carr.

Best of luck.

Winner: 49ers

No team likely is happier to see Wilson leave the NFC West than the 49ers.

In 21 career starts against the 49ers, Wilson was 17-4 (!) while throwing 36 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions.

RELATED: What Russ trade means for Jimmy G's market

As the 49ers prepare to turn the page to the Trey Lance era, not having to deal with Wilson, who has been a thorn in their side for a decade, should make life in the rough-and-tumble NFC West a touch easier for the young quarterback.

There's a party going on in Santa Clara right now as Wilson heads to Denver and the Seahawks prepare for a full-scale rebuild.

Loser: Commanders

We'll end here with a team desperate for a veteran quarterback.

NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported that Wilson chose to go to Denver over Washington. The MMQB's Albert Breer reported the Commanders were prepared to offer high picks in each of the next three drafts but Seattle didn't want to send Wilson to another team in the NFC.

Whether it was Wilson's call or Seattle's, the Commanders missed a golden opportunity to fill their biggest need and now must continue their QB search with Tier 2 candidates Jimmy Garoppolo and Carson Wentz. 

Not great, Dan.

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