It still feels like a stretch, but the threat of Russell Wilson's departure from Seattle becomes more real as the days go by. If Wilson forces the issue to the point of no return, the Seahawks may have no other choice but to move on from their disgruntled quarterback.
Though Wilson's agent Mark Rodgers has confirmed they have yet to formally request a trade, the camp leaked four destinations the one-time Super Bowl champion would prefer to land if a deal eventually comes down the pipeline: the Raiders, Saints, Bears, and Cowboys. Aside from Dallas, none of these teams have the draft capital it would take to truly entice Seattle in its search for its next franchise quarterback. Plus, whichever team potentially lands Wilson is going to do so to compete for a championship, meaning any future first-round picks they could trade the Seahawks are unlikely to be anywhere near the top 10.
Along with several draft picks, an elite player package will have to be included if any of these teams are realistic about convincing Seattle to part ways with the best quarterback in its franchise's history. It's hard to imagine the Seahawks have any interest in suddenly pivoting towards a full-fledged rebuild because of their quarterback's unhappiness, so they'll likely require a haul that can help them remain competitive in 2021.
With that said, practically every player has to be on the table for the Seahawks to listen. So let's take a look at which players from each of Wilson's preferred teams could be attractive to Seattle.
Chicago Bears: LB Roquan Smith
The Bears seem to be the most likely partner for the Seahawks right now, so let's start with them. Khalil Mack is going to be the most popular name here and he likely would be included in a Wilson deal because of the money changing hands, but he's heading into his age 30 season and carries cap hits in the mid $20 million range for the next four seasons.
Instead, fourth-year linebacker Roquan Smith makes the most sense here. He's been one of the best players at his position through the first three years of his career and turns just 24 this April. He's well on his way towards a big payday of his own, but they won't have to cross that bridge just yet.
With Bobby Wagner seemingly nearing the end of his career with the Seahawks, Smith would be a huge addition for the future of their defense. And even if they didn't move on from Wagner right after acquiring Smith, the latter can fill any spot in the linebacking corps and easily co-exist with the future Hall of Famer and 2020 first-round pick Jordyn Brooks in 2021.
New Orleans Saints: OT Ryan Ramczyk
The Saints are so deep in "salary cap hell," I have no idea how this could work at all. Wilson, of course, mentioned New Orleans because of his desire to serve as his idol Drew Brees' successor in the Big Easy. But is it at all realistic? Likely not.
For the sake of this exercise, let's just say the Saints could pull this off; who would the Seahawks want in return? Wilson's biggest gripe in all of this has been his lack of pass protection, so New Orleans trading their best offensive lineman to acquire him would, in a way, defeat the purpose.
That said, Ryan Ramczyk is their greatest player asset they could offer the Seahawks. He doesn't necessarily fill an immediate need, but tackles Duane Brown and Brandon Shell will be unrestricted free agents a year from now. And even though Shell had the best season of his career in 2020, Ramcyzk would be a significant upgrade and Seattle shouldn't think twice about moving on.
Dallas Cowboys: QB Dak Prescott
Reports have indicated the Cowboys find the idea of a Wilson trade "laughable," so the likelihood of this happening is about the same as New Orleans. But if the Cowboys were to change their tune, they have the most to offer Seattle out of these four teams. They have a top 10 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft and a franchise quarterback to put on the table.
However, Dallas may not see much of a difference in value between Wilson and Dak Prescott. In fact, they may hold Prescott in a higher regard. Though Wilson is considered the better quarterback of the two, Prescott is five years younger and is just now entering his prime despite suffering a significant lower leg injury last season.
If the Cowboys were to apply the franchise tag on Prescott for the second consecutive season then subsequently trade him to Seattle, the Seahawks would then have to commit to an even more lucrative deal with him than the one they already have with Wilson, and likely wouldn't get anything else in return.
Las Vegas Raiders: TE Darren Waller
If the Raiders and Seahawks were to strike a deal, quarterback Derek Carr would surely be included. Though Carr has been better than most give him credit for, he's a significant downgrade from Wilson and would likely be a short-term solution for Seattle. Therefore, he's not the choice here.
The Seahawks have already been linked to some of the top tight ends expected to be available in the trade and free agent markets this offseason, such as Jonnu Smith, Zach Ertz, and Gerald Everett. So it stands to reason they would have quite a bit of interest in Darren Waller, who's emerged as one of the best pass-catching tight ends in the NFL.
Of course, their interest in the position likely stems from a desire to give Wilson more weapons. The Raiders would also want to pair Wilson with Waller, but as stated, any and every player needs to be on the table for the Seahawks to even consider making a move. Waller is still a great asset for the Seahawks with or without Wilson, though. He's in his prime at the age of 28 and is under team control for the next three seasons at a mere $6.5 million cap hit each year.