Howie Roseman has earned his reputation as one of the most aggressive general managers in the NFL, so it’s easy to believe the Sports Illustrated report that back in March, 2022 he had a deal in place to get Russell Wilson from the Denver Broncos.
But boy, is he lucky that Wilson said no.
The Eagles perspective
That deal would’ve been hailed as a masterstroke at the time — another move by their brilliant GM to get them the quarterback they needed to be a Super Bowl contender. In hindsight, though, it would’ve been a complete disaster. Assuming his deal looked anything like the one Denver got from the Seattle Seahawks, Wilson would’ve cost the Eagles their current No. 1 receiver, one of the NFL’s best tight ends, probably a Pro Bowl corner and several other players.
Most importantly, it would’ve cost the Eagles Jalen Hurts, one of the best young quarterbacks in football.
And nobody would be hailing Roseman as a genius anymore.
Never mind that Wilson is 34 and looked like a shell of himself last season in Denver. He would have looked better with a better team in Philadelphia. He may have even led the Eagles to the playoffs.
But it would’ve been at an astronomical cost. To get Wilson, the Broncos gave up their first-round pick in 2022 (No. 9 overall), a first-rounder in 2023 (which turned out to be No. 5), a second-rounder in each of those drafts, a fifth-rounder, tight end Noah Fant, quarterback Drew Lock and defensive end Shelby Harris.
Assuming the Eagles’ offer was something similar, this is what they would’ve had to give up:
- Either the No. 12 or No. 18 pick in the 2022 draft, which means they likely wouldn’t have been willing to send one of those picks (No. 18) to Tennessee for receiver A.J. Brown. They also wouldn’t have been able to afford the $100 million contract they gave him knowing they’d have to quickly sign Wilson to an extension like the five-year, $245 million deal he got from Denver six months after the trade.
- Either the No. 10 or No. 30 pick in the 2023 draft. This almost certainly would have been the Saints’ No. 10 pick, considering what Seattle got from Denver. That would’ve cost them the chance to draft defensive tackle Jalen Carter.Their 2022 second-round pick, which they used to draft Cam Jurgens last year, so they wouldn’t have their current starting left guard and likely future center. And their 2023 second-round pick, which they traded down for an extra third-round pick. So say goodbye to rookie G Tyler Steen or S Sydney Brown.
- Tight end Dallas Goedert, which sounds crazy now, but he looked pretty comparable to Fant coming off the 2021 season. Finding a comp for defensive end Shelby Harris isn’t easy, but if the Eagles held firm on Goedert, Seattle surely would’ve asked for defensive end Josh Sweat.
- Quarterback Jalen Hurts would have likely been shipped out in the deal, since the whole point for Seattle was dumping an aging, expensive quarterback for a young one with potential and still on his rookie deal. That alone would’ve made this one of Philadelphia’s all-time biggest disasters.
And then there’s the salary cap room. Wilson cost Denver $17 million in cap space last season. Take that away from the Eagles and they probably don’t sign cornerback James Bradberry. And this year they might not have the cap flexibility to re-sign all the members of their “Core Four”.
Would the Wilson-less Broncos have held onto Hackett, the former Green Bay offensive coordinator, to use him as bait for Rodgers? That might have been the smartest play they could’ve made, especially since it was clear a divorce between Rodgers and the Packers was coming.
But would it have worked? Would Rodgers have chosen Denver over New York?
We’ll never know. But that’s just about the only way missing out on Wilson would’ve left the Broncos in a better position — at least for 2023.
The Seahawks perspective
A potential trade of Russell Wilson to the Philadelphia Eagles may have slowed the Seattle Seahawks’ rebuild, but also provided a potential NFL MVP candidate at quarterback in Jalen Hurts and likely curtailed the rebirth of Geno Smith.
Back when Andy Reid was still the Philadelphia head coach in 2012, the Eagles reportedly were ready to take Russell Wilson to back up Michael Vick, but instead Seattle moved up to take the Wisconsin product with the No. 75 overall selection in the third round, and Philadelphia grabbed Nick Foles instead later that round.
That’s not a bad consolation prize, considering the Arizona product led Philadelphia to a Super Bowl after the 2017 season. However, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie lamented Wilson getting away from his team that year.
It’s likely any deal with the Eagles would have included Hurts in return. That’s immediately a huge upgrade on Drew Lock, the QB Seattle received from Denver.
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll always preferred dual-threat quarterbacks because of the pressure they put on defenses when plays break down, and Hurts would have quickly adapted to Seattle’s run-based attack.
Paired in the backfield alongside running back Ken Walker III, with receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett on the perimeter, the Seahawks would have been one of the most potent offenses in the NFC West.
Geno Smith emerged as the starter for Seattle with Wilson gone, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl and setting the team’s franchise record in passing yards while also leading the league in completion percentage in 2022.