Russell Wilson won’t be traded now, but next year is a different story

Russell Wilson will be a Seattle Seahawk in 2021, but trade speculation could bear real fruit next offseason.

Very early in the offseason, Russell Wilson went against his typical positive grain to express some frustration with the Seattle Seahawks. Trade speculation naturally surfaced, and the Chicago Bears (on Wilson’s list of hypothetical preferred destinations) reportedly made an offer.

Last week, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll dismissed questions about Wilson’s future in Seattle as “old news.” Pretending everything’s fine could work, but rumors of Wilson eventually leaving the Seahawks that have lingered for years aren’t going away.

Unless they were blown away by a trade offer, it made no sense for the Seahawks to trade Wilson this offseason. It also made no sense financially, with a $39 million dead money charge if they traded him before June 1. A post-June 1 trade would be different ($13 million in dead money), but at this point that ship has sailed as the Seahawks are dug in to not engage trade suitors.

Russell Wilson could be traded next offseason

If Wilson wants significant say in personnel decisions and game-planning, and not just cursory (or something less than cursory) acknowledgement, he won’t get it in Seattle. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer pointed to the obvious reality that this season will influence whether questions about Wilson’s future come back to light come January or February.

This all sets up a really interesting season in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve said before I think Wilson’s probably on his last contract with the Seahawks. And with two years left after this one on that deal, it certainly seems as if where this season goes could well influence whether we’re back here again next January or February, asking if Wilson’s days in Seattle are numbered.

Next offseason, with two years left on his contract, Wilson becomes more tradeable. According to Over The Cap, a pre-June 1 trade would leave the Seahawks with $26 million in dead money while they’d clear $11 million in cap space. A post-June 1 trade shifts those numbers to $13 million and $24 million.

So the Seahawks and Wilson will remain together for 2021, with Carroll and Wilson trying to paint a happy face on the situation. But next offseason, especially if the Seahawks struggle this season, all bets are off and Wilson could be elsewhere.

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