Seahawks’ Russell Wilson Trade Drawing Comparisons to All-Time Lopsided Deal

Russell Wilson

Getty The Seattle Seahawks trade of Russell Wilson is getting compared to one of the most lopsided deals in NFL history.

Long before Herschel Walker was a candidate for the Georgia senate, the Minnesota Vikings viewed him as the missing piece for their franchise to finally breaking through and win a Super Bowl. So to land Walker, the Vikings orchestrated a record-breaking NFL trade.

While it took five players and a plethora of draft picks, including three first-rounders, the Vikings acquired Herschel Walker from the Dallas Cowboys in the middle of the 1989 season. But with the picks received in the deal, the Cowboys built a dynasty, winning Super Bowls following the 1992, 1993 and 1995 seasons.

Meanwhile, Walker played just two seasons with the Vikings after 1989 and never made the Pro Bowl again. He averaged 53.9 rushing yards per game with 20 touchdowns in 42 contests with Minnesota.

Now more than 30 years later, the lopsidedness of that deal has never been replicated — at least not until perhaps now.

Sport Illustrated’s Corbin K. Smith argued that, in light of the success of the Seattle Seahawks’ rookie class, the draft picks they still have this spring and the downfall of quarterback Russell Wilson with the Denver Broncos, the Wilson trade is in the same stratosphere with the Walker deal.

Initial Reaction to Wilson Trade Mirrored Walker Deal

There’s a cliché with sports trades — the team who lands the best player always wins the deal.

Following that cliché, sports analysts reacted virtually the same to both the Walker trade in 1989 and Wilson deal this past spring. The Vikings and Broncos received the best, proven player, thus winning the trade.

But that’s not how the Walker trade played out in the long run, and that’s not how the Wilson deal is developing either.

Just like Walker didn’t turn out to be Minnesota’s missing Super Bowl piece, Wilson isn’t a difference maker in Denver. He own the worst completion percentage of his career this year (59.5%) with only 7 touchdowns in 9 starts. He’s averaging 7.4 yards per pass, which is his lowest mark in that category since 2017.

“To put Wilson’s ugly numbers in perspective, Washington’s Carson Wentz hasn’t played since October 13 and has three more touchdown passes than Wilson,” wrote Smith. “Matt Ryan was benched by Indianapolis for a couple weeks after a rough start and still has three more touchdown tosses than him.

“Even Andy Dalton, who replaced an injured Jameis Winston, has twice as many touchdown passes for the Saints.”

With Wilson as the team’s starter, Denver is 3-6, and the Broncos are on pace to have a top-5 pick next spring. That selection will belong to the Seahawks.

Seahawks Receive ‘King’s Ransom’ As Cowboys Did in Walker Deal

In exchange for Wilson, the Seahawks received quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant, defensive lineman Shelby Harris and five draft picks. Fant and Harris have become quality starters for Seattle this season, but it’s the draft picks that have the potential to make the biggest difference for the Seahawks.

With two of the three 2022 draft picks the Broncos sent Seattle, the Seahawks landed their new starting left tackle, Charles Cross, and rotational defensive end Boye Mafe. Seattle will also have Denver’s first and second-round choice next spring.

As the Broncos continue to struggle, those two picks could both be top 40 selections.

“Regardless of what happened, the Seahawks haven’t just won this trade so far,” wrote Smith. “After decades standing on a pedestal of its own, the heralded Walker pilferage officially has company for the most lopsided NFL blockbuster of all-time and Schneider hopes to continue turning the haul received for Wilson into a wide open window to compete for championships just as the Cowboys did.”

In 1990, the Cowboys turned the top pick they received in the Walker trade into future Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith. They also drafted a few other starters key to their Super Bowl runs with the selections received in the Walker deal.

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