The ballyhooed “no-trade clause” was one of the biggest and most frequently referenced factors that often came up when discussing the once-prospective topic of a Russell Wilson deal. To phrase that more simply, the single largest obstacle to a trade seemed to be the fact that the aforementioned Super Bowl winning quarterback would want to be able to ultimately refuse any request that was sent to Seattle’s front office. And at one point, this seemed highly prohibitive; most teams that would be willing to pay such a steep price for the beleaguered signal caller would have seemed like a far less hospitable destination than the once fertile, Championship-spawning ground of the VMAC.
But apparently Russ was willing to hit the eject button a bit more fervently than many of us predicted. Per Peter King of NBC Sports Pro Football Talk:
“As Wilson’s side considered which team it wanted to play for, it considered 14 different teams with scores of factors for each: roster depth, cap condition, trust in GM/coach, development of the quarterback, season-ticket and fan base, everything. Denver finished either at or near the top in that 14-team contest. At the end, Denver was a very good spot—even though Wilson enters the toughest division in football, bar none, with each team having a franchise quarterback. The challenge gets even tougher with the Chargers bulking up with Khalil Mack and other free-agent prizes this spring.
When the trade becomes official, one of the Denver claims will be that Paton never engaged Green Bay in conversations about Aaron Rodgers—he was all-in on Wilson (five years younger that Rodgers, likely to play six or seven more years at least) all along. That could be. I do know Paton and Seattle GM John Schneider have been discussing the guts of this trade since January; they were spotted in at least two long conversations at the Senior Bowl in late January, and might have discussed it before then.
As for Seattle, I’ll always think the drip-drip-drip of an unhappy quarterback factored into this. Although Wilson is a non-confrontational sort, Schneider was probably never going to pay a quarterback and supposed team leader $50 million a year if he wasn’t all-in with the organization. This gives Schneider, a fearless deal-maker and risk-taker, the ammo (ninth and 40th overall picks this year, an extra first-rounder next year) the ability to be a player in the Deshaun Watson derby if he chooses. Schneider is the type of GM to take that shot—if Watson can be convinced to waive his no-trade clause for Seattle. (Why wouldn’t he?) Don’t cry for the Seahawks. They’ll figure it out.”
Peter King’s full article can be read here.
I am finding it particularly sad how the details of this trade seem to keep unfolding in a manner that indicates this divorce was in the works for some time and was essentially inevitable, maybe even further back than I care to realize. So much so that it got to the point that nearly half of the entire league looked like reasonable out to Russ. And so life goes in the league, as the Seattle Seahawks begin their search for a fresh anchise quarterback, while the Denver Broncos plaster the likeness of the new face of their franchise all over the state of Colorado.