Rumor: Did The Seattle Seahawks Try To Trade Russell Wilson To Cleveland Browns?
A rumor that has been attributed to Chris Simms of Pro Football Talk, picked up by Bleacher Report suggested that the Seattle Seahawks attempted to trade future Hall of Fame quarterback Russell Wilson to the Cleveland Browns for the top overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. And in the event they did, the plan was for the Seahawks to then take Baker Mayfield with the pick. One of the stranger rumors to come out in a while, it's difficult to believe, at least as it's currently being discussed.
The argument from the Seahawks point of view has to be entirely about the salary cap, embracing a theory that if a quarterback takes up too much of the salary cap, they can't win the Super Bowl. Much of this is the fault of Tom Brady for the New England Patriots taking less money for years, which helped the Patriots win so many of them.
The other potential reason for the Seahawks would be that at the time, having just torn down from the Legion of Boom and the roster that enabled them to get to the Super Bowl, they were essentially starting over. And in a year where some (Sorry, Benjamin Allbright) suggested the Seahawks would finish badly enough to get the top overall pick, Russell Wilson almost by himself kept the Seahawks finishing over .500.
That's difficult to believe, but at least there's a thought process that might, somehow, make some sense if someone tries hard enough. The problem with this is the idea that the Browns under John Dorsey would've said no. For a general manager that liked adding proven talent like Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham, Olivier Vernon among others, he could've gotten one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, still under 30 years of age.
Perhaps the Seahawks entertained an offer that included the top pick and perhaps the fourth pick overall, which the Browns used to select Denzel Ward. It might have been even more than that, since the Browns had one of the biggest war chests of draft assets in NFL history that year. If the Seahawks demanded the Browns give up both of their first round picks that year and two of their second round picks, no one would blink an eye, At that point, maybe there's something to this rumor and it comes down to what is a team willing to give up for a quarterback of Wilson's caliber.
As much as the Browns loved Mayfield, they could've ended up getting almost a decade of Hall of Fame level quarterback play immediately. Maybe there's more to this and it will be interesting to see what Simms has to say about it when asked, but this seems really difficult to believe, at least as it's currently being reported.