SEATTLE - Some people have asked me: What is your obsession with Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos?
While the simple answer is that their demise this season equates to a better future for the Seahawks, it actually means a bit more than that.
Most people understand by now: The Seahawks hold Denver’s first round and second round picks in next year’s NFL Draft. The worse the Broncos do this year, the better draft position Seattle will have. So yes, it’s more than just sour grapes and the inability to "get over" a ten-year relationship with a long-time franchise quarterback who forced his way out of town.
But personally, I don’t want the Seahawks to just be the "winners" of this trade. I want history to show that they absolutely obliterated the other side – the Broncos in this specific case.
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 12: Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks (L) and Russell Wilson #3 of the Denver Broncos shake hands after the Seahawks defeated the Broncos 17-16 at Lumen Field on September 12, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
I mean, this was the biggest move in franchise history. And it was also going to be an evaluation of which side was actually correct in the longterm test of wills between Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson. The popular opinion for years was that Wilson was the one being held back by an antiquated offensive philosophy. Very few fans believed that Carroll was actually doing the best he could to protect an aging quarterback who was past his prime and missing a number of simple reads.
So far, although the sample set is incredibly small, the early returns favor Carroll and the Seahawks in a landslide.
Not only does Russell Wilson rank in the bottom third of starting quarterbacks in completion percentage and quarterback rating through his first six games, he’s now dealing with a partially torn hamstring that kept him out of this week’s game and could force him to miss more time. Geno Smith is first in completion percentage, third in passer rating and top ten in touchdown passes.
Indulge me for a minute here: We all know that in life, nothing is free.
But so far, it kind of feels like it.
By trading Wilson, the Seahawks saved $11 million against the salary cap this year and are saving $27 million against the cap next season. With Denver’s first and second round picks this year, they got their left tackle of the future, Charles Cross, and defensive end Boye Mafe. They get a first and second-round pick from Denver next year. They got Noah Fant and Shelby Harris. They also drafted prospects Tyreke Smith and Dareke Young from the fifth-round pick they got from Denver last year.
I mean, thanks to the way Geno Smith is playing, Drew Lock ends up being an afterthought with this kind of haul!
Compare that with Denver, which just gave Wilson a brand new contract. Not only will they be devoting close to a combined $113 million of their salary cap to Wilson over the next three seasons, look how much it would cost them in dead money against the cap if they wanted to cut ties with him: $107 million next year, 85 million in 2024, 49.6 million in 2025. They have clearly made their bed.
Again, the fact that the Seahawks are 4-3 and the Broncos are 2-5 this season is only the icing on the cake. This is all about the future.
And so far, this trade has been the biggest fleecing of an organization I can remember in modern sports history.
We can only hope we’re still saying that in five to ten years time.