Let us assume that Russell Wilson isn’t leaving the Seattle Seahawks this offseason. That said, the 2023 offseason could be a different story.
There is so much for the future of the franchise that depends on 2022. If the season is a great success then Russell Wilson is going to be back and so is Pete Carroll. But if 2022 looks a lot like 2021 then Seattle needs to make changes and possibly enter a rebuild. Wilson is an unrestricted free agent in 2024 which means a trade before the 2023 season will give his new team a year to think about how it wants to proceed.
But Wilson will still be young enough (he will be 34 years old entering the 2023 season) that he could have several seasons left to play at a Pro Bowl level and that should be enticing enough for a team to offer the Seahawks quality in return in a trade. But Seattle must get a first-round pick (at least one) back.
3 replacements for Russell Wilson beginning with the 2023 season
If Seattle were to move Russell Wilson this offseason (and they shouldn’t), besides what quality might be lacking in return it could also cost Seattle $26 million in dead cap. If Seattle waits to move Russell Wilson until after the 2022 season, the dead cap drops to a far more manageable $13 million. That is still quite a bit but it would only be a one-year write-off and Seattle would be right back to good cap space in 2024.
And while I don’t want to assume 2022 is going to be another underwhelming year for the Seahawks (nor do I want Seattle to lose any games at all ever), the NFC West is a tough division so going from worst to first (or making the playoffs) isn’t going to be easy. So if Wilson does leave after next year, who could replace him?