NBC Sports’ Chris Simms created quite a stir by suggesting that the Seattle Seahawks explored trading Russell Wilson to the Cleveland Browns in 2018 for the No. 1 overall pick. The rumored deal appears a bit outlandish, but Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio backed up Simms’ comments. Florio reported that a Wilson trade was “floated conceptually” prior to the draft.
“Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Browns contend that the idea was ‘floated’ conceptually, but that the discussion did indeed happen,” Florio noted. “At the time, the Seahawks were staring at another extension for Wilson, one that would result a year later in a contract with a new-money value of $35 million per year.”
Simms doubled-down on the Wilson rumor by emphasizing that his sources are “high-level” people who are “in the know.” Florio reported that responses from his NFL sources since Simms discussed the Browns-Seahawks rumor “make it damn clear that it happened.”
The Rumored Trade Discussions Would Have Happened Before Wilson Signed a Contract Extension
It sounds unlikely that the Seahawks would have traded Wilson just for the No. 1 pick, but it is not out of the realm of possibilities that Seattle explored backup options in case they were unable to reach a long-term agreement with their franchise quarterback. Wilson would later sign a four-year, $140 million contract extension with the Seahawks prior to the 2019 season. Pete Carroll discussed the challenges of building a roster around a player with such a high salary, and why it puts more pressure on the organization to do well in the draft.
“It’s a challenge,” Carroll told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “It affects you, first, in free agency — to be real active in this early part is a real challenge. You have to do really well with all your draft picks. We try to get as many as we can because we feel that that competitiveness in our camp will help us.”
The best season in Seahawks’ history came when Wilson was on his rookie contract. Kansas City did the same thing with Patrick Mahomes, and both teams are models of how to win a Super Bowl with quarterbacks on their rookie deal.
The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta Reported That the Seahawks Would Have Been Asking for the No. 1 & No. 4 Picks
The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta reported that he could say “definitively” that the Seahawks would have been asking for more than just the No. 1 pick if a deal was discussed. Cleveland would end up selecting Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 pick, and the Seahawks are glad they were able to lockdown Wilson on a long-term deal.
“And if the Seahawks did dangle Wilson in a trade with Cleveland the one thing I can say definitively is that it would have been for both the first and the fourth pick to start,” Condotta noted.
Simms is sticking to his original comments by adding more context during an interview on The Dan Patrick Show. The former NFL quarterback called the Wilson report “something I know…not a rumor.”
“This is something I know,” Simms said, via The Big Lead. “This is not a rumor. This is something I found out about not too long after the 2018 NFL Draft from some people close to the situation. And then had it confirmed on the other side by the other team involved in it. There was talks a little bit between Cleveland and Seattle and Cleveland giving that first pick in the draft for Russell Wilson. I don’t know who struck up the conversation. I would imagine it was Seattle. It makes sense… I don’t know how serious it ever got, but I do know that was a very real conversation.”