Context is everything when it comes to looking back at trades that could’ve happened. In 2022, Jalen Hurts was still trying to earn the trust of the Philadelphia Eagles’ front office, and rumors were flying about them making a move for another quarterback.
Deshaun Watson was one name being tossed around. The other was Russell Wilson. He was a player the Eagles had been in love with since Andy Reid’s tenure, regarded by the organization as the franchise quarterback who slipped away in 2012. So, unsurprisingly, they put calls into Seattle about his availability.
Everyone knew Wilson was going to get traded last year, but no one knew how close Philadelphia could have been his destination, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who said he was “pretty convinced” that Wilson was heading to either the Eagles or Washington Commanders. The plugged-in reporter said he kept close tabs on the situation during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine.
“There were times last year when I was pretty convinced at the combine that either the Eagles or the Commanders were going to trade for Russell Wilson,” Rapoport told Joe Mulinaro of The 33rd Team on April 7. “That was one where you kind of stop everything and go, ‘Hang on.’ Now, it turned out that was not something [Wilson] was into, and he was only interested in going to the Broncos. You know the story. But as far as, ‘Stop everything and get to work,’ that was something that I think shook my brain a little bit last year in Indy.”
Russell Wilson: ‘A City That Knows How to Win’
Wilson’s main reason for choosing Denver was his desire to go to a “city that knows how to win.” Well, the Denver Broncos do own eight AFC championships and three Super Bowl rings. That’s an impressive collection of hardware. On the negative side, they haven’t hoisted the Lombardi Trophy since 2016.
“I want to make sure I that I go to a team that wants to win. And I want to go to a city that knows how to win,” Wilson told DNVR Sports in June 2022. “And all those three things were checked off the box here in Denver, and so I think we’ve got a chance.”
But Wilson’s preference was go to the Mile High City despite an offer from Washington. And (maybe?) another one from Philadelphia. Instead, Wilson saw the best path to a championship in Denver, signing a five-year, $242 million deal. Then the 2022 campaign started. The Broncos went 5-12 and missed the playoffs. Wilson got injured and Denver fired its head coach. It was a master’s course in dysfunction that culminated with John Elway leaving.
Howie Roseman Attempted to Draft Russell Wilson in 2012
It’s no secret the Eagles really wanted to draft Wilson in 2012. General manager Howie Roseman admitted to getting a “little cute” with his plan that year and waited too long. They thought he might fall to them at pick No. 88 in Round 3, but Seattle grabbed Wilson at pick No. 75. The Eagles wanted a quarterback, so Nick Foles became the consolation prize.
Roseman discussed the moment Wilson got away, without using his name for fear of tampering charges, after selecting Jalen Hurts in Round 2 of the 2020 draft.
“We had a vision [in 2012] that we would draft a quarterback who’s been extremely successful,” Roseman told NBC Sports in 2020. “and I don’t want tampering charges on me but I think we can understand who that was … and I feel like we got a little cute.”