The Seattle Seahawks had limited options when evaluating potential blockbuster deals for Russell Wilson thanks to the quarterback’s no-trade clause. Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox outlined seven potential moves that he wishes could have happened this offseason. Knox made the case that the Steelers would have been a better fit for Wilson than the Broncos, pointing to the presence of head coach Mike Tomlin.
“Pittsburgh may still win this season, but it would likely be a Super Bowl contender with Wilson,” Knox explained on May 12, 2022. “Was this one unlikely? Perhaps. According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Denver was the only team for which Wilson was willing to waive his no-trade clause. Let’s be honest, though, it wouldn’t benefit Wilson, Denver or Seattle to let slip that other teams were under consideration, so we may never know if Wilson would have waived his no-trade clause for anyone else.
“…We’ll enjoy watching Wilson throw passes to Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton while battling in the loaded AFC West. We’d have enjoyed even more watching Wilson do his thing in a division that now features Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow and Deshaun Watson. The Steelers are one of the league’s marquee franchises, and Wilson would have kept them firmly in the spotlight and away from any potential rebuild.”
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What Would a Seahawks-Steelers Deal Have Looked Like?
It is difficult to imagine the Steelers would have been able to offer the Seahawks a more appealing deal than the Broncos, unless the team was willing to trade star players and more draft picks than Denver. The Steelers had No. 20 pick in the draft far below the No. 9 selection the Seahawks landed from the Broncos. Tackle Charles Cross likely would have been long gone at No. 20, but could the Seahawks have considered Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett?
We know the Seahawks passed on the signal caller at No. 9 but there is a chance the team could have considered Pickett at No. 20. All signs point to the Seahawks having little faith in any of the prospects from this year’s quarterback class. Pittsburgh also did not have an intriguing young quarterback like Drew Lock to include in a potential deal as Mason Rudolph has even less appeal than the former Broncos QB1.
The Seahawks were also looking for veteran players in a potential Wilson deal. Some of the Steelers players that could have peaked the Seahawks’ interest include pass rusher T.J. Watt, running back Najee Harris, receiver Chase Claypool and linebacker Devin Bush.
Wilson Considered a Double-Digit Number of Teams: Report
Ultimately, the Seahawks were unable to create a bidding war for Wilson since he had a no-trade clause. The counter-point would be how the Texans handled the trade negotiations with Deshaun Watson who also had a no-trade clause as Houston pitted interested franchises against each other for the star quarterback.
Seattle acquired the No. 9 and No. 40 picks this year along with the Broncos first and second-round selections in 2023. The Seahawks also landed Lock, tight end Noah Fant and defensive end Shelby Harris in the deal. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported that Wilson considered a double-digit number of teams but had Denver atop his list.
“Schneider knew where Wilson wanted to go—12 teams had called the Seattle GM between this offseason and last offseason to make a run at the QB, the number of teams Wilson seriously studied ahead of this offseason, to look at potential destinations, was in the double-digits, but one stood alone, and that was indeed Denver,” Breer wrote on March 14. “So Schneider had to trust Paton would be fair knowing the Broncos were where Wilson wanted to be, which was important given the presence of the no-trade clause. And just to be sure, Schneider had to keep at least one team other than Denver alive throughout, even if his response to most in Mobile, Indy or in between, was simply, We’re not shopping him.”
John Schneider and Pete Carroll will be judged not just by the assets they received from the Broncos in the Wilson trade but who they find as the quarterback’s permanent replacement. Seattle viewed Lock as “a bit of a distressed asset,” per Breer, and if the quarterback is able to emerge as the long-term solution it would greatly enhance the team’s chances of “winning” the trade.