Bears Chances for Wilson and Watson: Bleak

Texans and Seahawks insiders detail for Hub Arkush the reasons why Bears really are not players in the hunt for both Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson
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Sometimes it's better to remember there is more than one side to every personnel standoff in the NFL.

Thanks to Pro Football Weekly's Hub Arkush and his WSCR-AM program on Thursday evening, the chances of either Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson coming to the Bears became so much more clear. 

As most realistic people suspect, there is no chance.

Arkush had both longtime Seattle Seahawks beat writer John Clayton, the former ESPN analyst, and hall of fame writer John McClain from Houston on to explore the situations with both Wilson and Watson. 

Clayton and McClain very clearly explained the situation of both teams and the quarterbacks, and neither has a path to Chicago this year.

It's not much fun for Bears fans to hear, but the only chance they have at one of those quarterbacks is Deshaun Watson. They would need to somehow produce a franchise quarterback to trade to Houston and/or outbid too many other teams to get him.

The Cap Menacing Mr. Wilson Deal

Despite reports of a deteriorating situation in Seattle, Clayton said none of this matters. The deal Wilson received from the Seahawks allows no hope for a trade anywhere.

"None. I don't think there's any chance," Clayton told Arkush.

This isn't a situation where the Bears and their needs at quarterback or their cap situation have anything to do with it.  It's all on the Seahawks' end.

Seattle would need to trade Wilson, and the contract he signed makes it impossible for it to happen this year unless the Seahawks want to take a historically large cap hit and start over using many draft picks and undrafted rookies at numerous positions. They wouldn't be able to afford some of their own veteran players by trading Wilson.

Wilson received a deal paying him $65 million in a signing bonus.

"That was great," Clayton told Arkush. "The problem is, even to think about leaving the team it would be a $39 million cap hit, biggest in NFL history," Clayton pointed out.

The Seahawks get that cap hit by trading Wilson this year, but not in 2022.

Clayton said since 2013 none of the 13 teams who had more than 20% of their salary cap space tied up in dead money—cash no longer available under the cap because it's paid to players no longer on the team—made the playoffs. Pulling off a deal would force the Seahawks into this 20%-plus group.

"Unless they want to be a team like in 2010 that rebuilds, they cannot trade him," Clayton said. "In the end, they cannot make a trade this year."

To further frustrate Chicago fans, Clayton went over the list of the four teams Wilson wants to play for—the Bears, Dallas, New Orleans and Las Vegas—and offered this:

"To me, the four teams that he picked out, with maybe the exception of Chicago, just don't work," Clayton said.

The reason Clayton says this is Wilson was frustrated with being hit too often in Seattle but in New Orleans and Las Vegas he would be playing behind lines losing three players each due to salary cap constraints. As for Dallas, the Dak Prescott situation will likely end in a contract and with Prescott as Cowboys QB long term.

This would leave only the Bears, and the Seahawks cap hit still looms too large.

Clayton offered up facts supporting the idea Wilson would do better by simply being patient.

Coach Pete Carroll has addressed the situation by hiring Shane Waldron as offensive coordinator to institute the Kyle Shanahan style of offense. With more effective running and play-action passing, Wilson should have an easier time staying free of pass rushers. 

It's much like the situation the Bears had at the end of last season with their play-action game keeping Mitchell Trubisky free of pass rushers.

Clayton also pointed out how it took Wilson 2.97 seconds to get the ball out of his hand last year, a very slow time compared to most quarterbacks. This can explain some of the issues with getting hit too much.

It is a popular notion Wilson could simply hold out and force a trade like Watson is threatening.

At age 33 in the 2021 season, and with so much money at stake, it's not likely. In Wilson's case, the Seahawks could simply use a backup quarterback with their starters because it would be a better option than trading Wilson and taking a cap hit so large that it forces them into instant also-ran status because it causes them to cut players just to be under the cap.

They'd have a better shot with a backup QB and all their starters while Wilson watches than they would with Wilson traded and a bunch of their veteran starters also dispersed throughout the league.

Seattle could let Wilson waste a season by sitting and then trade him anyway in 2022 for the same kind of compensation but also keep all of their players because the cap hit wouldn't be a big factor. Does Wilson want to sit? Doubtful.

Deshaun Denial

As for Watson, McClain has no doubt there will be a trade by Houston.

It's not going to be to Chicago, though.

"If they traded with the Jets, they have the second overall pick, they'd have their choice of anybody except for Trevor Lawrence—probably Zach Wilson, BYU," McClain said. "If they traded with Miami, they'd get Tua Tagovailoa. (Does GM) Nick Carserio thinks he's (Tagovailoa) a franchise quarterback? That's something that we'd have to get to know.

READ: Albert Breer's column on the Russell Wilson situation

"Those teams are loaded with draft choices. The Jets are loaded with $80 million of salary cap room."

McClain also pointed out how Watson likes new Jets coach Robert Saleh and the idea of playing in the media capital of the world.

"They couldn't take a backup quarterback or a quarterback somebody else didn't want, like Teddy Bridgewater, Drew Locke or Jimmy Garoppolo," McClain told Arkush. "They can't sell that.

"They've got to get a guy they can at least try to sell as a franchise quarterback even though he's not going to be as good as Deshaun Watson."

LOOK: Something unique in the Bears QB search, a desperation index

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