The latest Russell Wilson trade rumor involves one of the teams to which Wilson would supposedly approve a trade.
Granted, the rumor was thin — just one sentence — and there was no hint of a deal being close, but because it’s Wilson and the 2021 NFL calendar starts in less than two weeks, it was noteworthy just the same.
Chicago Tribune reporter/columnist Brad Biggs got the rumor mill spinning when he wrote this for a column published Friday:
“The thinking among multiple sources is the Bears have prioritized making a run at Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.”
That isn’t much to go on. The line was a small part of a long breakdown of the Bears’ salary cap situation heading in the 2021 season. Still, Chicago being all-in on Wilson would make complete sense, for several reasons, starting with the obvious one.
— Wilson is elite, Mitchell Trubisky is average and Trubisky is about to become a free agent.
— The free-agent QB market doesn’t excite after Dak Prescott, and there are reports Prescott and the Cowboys are making progress on staying together. SN’s Vinnie Iyer ranks Prescott, Jameis Winston, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Trubisky and Andy Dalton as the top five free-agent QBs this offseason.
— Chicago is selecting 20th in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft after finishing 8-8 in 2020. Trade up for a Trey Lance or a Mac Jones, or package the pick with two future 1s and meet Seattle’s reported asking price for Wilson? The Bears can hope that the future picks are mid- or late-round selections if Wilson is their QB for the next few seasons.
(The same can be said for a Deshaun Watson trade, but the Texans keep saying that Watson isn’t available.)
— Wilson has three years remaining on his four-year, $140 million contract extension. The cap hits for those seasons, per Spotrac: $32 million in 2021, $37 million in 2022 and $40 million in 2023. Wilson will turn 35 late in the ’23 season. That’s a top-of-market price for a player who’s about to enter his mid-30s, but this is an opportunity for Chicago to get a top-of-market QB on a relatively short contract.
Where this Chicago business goes depends on whether the Seahawks and Wilson can move past their sniping through the media. It appears the Bears want to pounce if the relationship turns irreparable.