Once Russell Wilson has been dangled in front of the faces of Bears fans, little else will do. And recent reports out of Seattle make two things clear:
- Wilson doesn’t want to keep beating his head against the wall in Seattle.
- Seattle doesn’t want a QB who publicly speaks his mind.
None of that would matter except, shockingly, the Chicago Bears just so happen to need a quarterback and Wilson listed them on his list of teams to which he would accept a trade. Like the Texans with Deshaun Watson and the Packers with Aaron Rodgers, the Seahawks seem to have little interest in trading their star quarterback right now. Doing so would actually cost Seattle $39 million in 2021; keeping Wilson would cost them $32 million. Paying $7 million to get rid of a franchise quarterback is bad business, no matter how upset they might be with him.
So, what can the Bears do? Well, there is an unconventional way in which the Bears and Seahawks could work out a trade.
The teams would have a handshake agreement to finalize the trade after June 1, and doing so would mean trading Wilson is only a $13 million cap hit for Seattle in 2021 and they’d save $19 million — that math is much better for them. The teams couldn’t necessarily exchange draft picks in 2021, but — in theory — the Bears could make a pick with the idea that they’d be trading that player to Seattle. The cleaner way would be to not include any draft picks until the 2022 season, but the Bears have to be flexible.
The problem, however, is that Seattle couldn’t use any assets they would get from the Bears to make trades. If they’re trading a franchise quarterback, they’d surely like to get one in return and there’s no telling if that could happen with the 20th pick. The Bears would surely want to know if they have the 20th pick to use or if it’s traded before then. Then again, Seattle doesn’t ever want to pass anyway, so maybe Nick Foles would be good enough for them.
There are risks to this. Should the teams agree to the trade and then a player gets injured while working out, it would surely void if they couldn’t come up with another deal. And, when it comes to the Bears’ luck with QBs, that’s exactly what would happen.
Of course, the Bears would also like to have their quarterback in the building as soon as possible — but if there aren’t any OTAs again this year, what’s the point, really?
As far as anyone seems to know, a post June 1 trade hasn’t been negotiated before, but it isn’t unlike the trades we have seen with Matthew Stafford and Carson Wentz that can’t be finalized until the new league year. They all require a certain amount of good faith negotiating that is common with teams.
And maybe that won’t work. Maybe there’s something in the CBA that would prevent such a trade from being agreed on, or there are enough trust issues in the league that teams just won’t consider it. And it’s possible Seattle is intent on going forward with Wilson for one more run.
But the Bears have to try everything possible to get Wilson.
Watson and the Texans seem to be in a battle of stubbornness and there are no signs that Houston is getting close to giving in. Rodgers surely won’t be available until next offseason and, even then, won’t be available to the Bears. But Wilson is right there and most report that if he’s not available now, he will be next offseason. Ryan Pace and the Bears can’t wait for next offseason. He needs to find a way to get Seattle to give in early and allow the inevitable departure to happen.
Pace needs to make something big happen this offseason or he won’t get another chance. It’s either this or making a big move in the draft, but finding a way to get Wilson has to be the priority.