Zach Wilson trade proves that Seahawks got a steal with Sam Howell

Wilson and Howell were both traded this offseason.
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Let this sink in for a minute: Denver Broncos coach Sean Payton would rather have Zach Wilson than former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. In fact, Payton sees something in Wilson that he must not have even in Sam Howell. The Broncos chose to add Wilson and not go for Howell, or maybe Denver didn't want to give up a third-round choice for Howell. Luckily, the Seattle Seahawks did.

If there was a battle of comparisons in what each team gave up for a perceived backup quarterback then the Broncos beat the Seahawks. Denver gave up a late-round pick for Wilson (Denver and New York simply swapped late-round picks as part of the deal as well) and the New York Jets are still seemingly going to pay some of Wilson's $5.5 million salary. Seattle traded for Howell and in essence gave up a third-round pick.

Here is why Seattle really won the comparison of the trades, though. First, while Seattle might have traded for Wilson to be a backup as well as Howell, Sam Howell is a much better quarterback than Zach Wilson. If something happens to Geno Smith, who would 12s want to take over QB1 snaps? Wilson or Howell? The argument is not close.

The Seattle Seahawks were fortunate to trade for Sam Howell instead of Zach Wilson

Howell played behind an atrocious offensive line in 2023 with the Washington Commanders and he was forced to throw the ball at times he did not want to. Partly due to this, he led the NFL in interceptions with 21. He also threw 21 touchdown passes. He was sacked 65 times. While Howell's career interception rate (3.5 percent) is higher than Wilson's (2.5), Wilson is also so inaccurate that opposing players have as little chance to pick a pass off as Wilson's own receivers have of catching a throw.

Howell's touchdown percentage is much higher than Wilson's, however. Wilson has 23 touchdown passes in 993 passes (2.3 percent) while Howell has 22 in 631 (3.5 percent). Wilson's total QBR (which incorporates such things as the difficulty of each play, strength of the opposing defense, as well as raw statistics) was astonishingly low in 2023 at 30.6, 32nd in the league, and 3 full percentage points behind 31st-ranked Will Levis.

Howell has also proven to be a more efficient runner in the NFL, too. One of Wilson's strengths when he was drafted second overall in the 2021 NFL draft was his presumed athletic ability. In 93 career carries, he has scored 5 touchdowns and run for 24 first downs. Howell, though, has rushed 53 times and has 6 touchdown carries and 23 first downs. If Howell has to use his legs to try to win a game, he appears to make smarter choices than Wilson.

Howell also has shown to be a very good teammate. Commanders receiver Terry McLaurin made a point this offseason after Howell was traded to say how much he will miss the quarterback. Wilson at times has called his teammates out for losses instead of taking any of the blame himself. Howell appears to be the leader that Wilson is not.

What matters most, however, is who could have helped the Seahawks the most if they had to be a starter at quarterback for a long stretch. Howell is the clear answer. Seattle was lucky to avoid a potential Wilson deal and instead trade for Howell.

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