It hasn’t even been a week since confetti fell on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following their victory in Super Bowl LV. While the offseason in its official form might be a bit young, it is looking like fireworks are on the horizon for the National Football League as a whole in the coming months.
Why does this offseason look so spicy at the outset? The quarterback market looks like it could be shuffled in a way that it hasn’t been in perhaps a decade. A number of teams are expected to make a run at certain signal-callers, the current reality in the league is that unless you have the guy you don’t have a legitimate plan.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter believes over half of the teams in the NFL will have different starting quarterbacks than they did in Week 1 of the 2020 season. While some are obvious like Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and others, a new name has risen into the stratosphere of discussion, one that many might not have been expecting.
Oddsmakers believe the Dallas Cowboys are a potential destination for Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
Another starter from last year’s opening week that could be on the move is obviously Dak Prescott. The next month is going to be critical in his contract negotiations with the Dallas Cowboys, things are at such a boiling point with people wanting to see action here that Prescott’s exclusion from a hype video put out from the mothership generated national storylines this week.
Soon enough dominoes will start to fall in the NFL and when they do the frenzy could begin. While there are quarterbacks who are obvious to be changing teams this year there is another group of them that are in an in-between space of sorts.
The Houston Texans have a situation going on with Deshaun Watson and it is possible that he could be elsewhere soon enough. This week, during an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson expressed dissatisfaction with his team as far as personnel decisions that have been made and as a result there is now speculation that he could be among those changing squads in the here and now.
The last week has brought reports that NFL teams have called the Seahawks about acquiring Wilson. Normally a report like that would be met with laughter like when it was reported that the Detroit Lions asked the Los Angeles Rams about Aaron Donald during the Matthew Stafford negotiations (always shoot your shot!), but there does seem to be a little smoke here which has people wondering if and when the fire will be revealed.
Wilson told Dan Patrick that he believes teams are calling to ask about trading for him, but again it just seems so impractical to believe that he could truly leave the Emerald City.
It is possible that Russell is looking at the success that Tom Brady just had with the Buccaneers and is envious of it. Speaking specifically to this idea, the Buccaneers made it a point to surround Brady with talent upon his arrival last spring. What’s more is that they poured it on and went over the top with acquisitions like Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown. Wilson’s contention with his team seems to center around issues at the offensive line and not at the skill positions, but the point is the same in that he clearly wants players who can maximize his chance at success.
Are the Dallas Cowboys a realistic option for Russell Wilson?
The Dallas Cowboys are a worldwide brand, America’s Team, and all that jazz, and so they are often connected to big-time free agents or would-be trade targets.
Earlier this week we spoke about how it would be irresponsible of the Cowboys to not be doing their due diligence at the quarterback position with regards to the NFL Draft. The reality is that there is a greater than zero chance that they have an issue with their starter so they have to have contingency plans in place.
Russell Wilson is a Super Bowl champion and was at one point on pace to easily win MVP last season so he is hardly “just” a contingency plan, but if we are looking at a hypothetical where he is available and the Cowboys are going to be without Dak Prescott, that would obviously be an enticing option.
Like a potential trade for Deshaun Watson (which is even more impractical but nevertheless something some have suggested), this would hardly be cost-effective for the Cowboys as they would have to likely surrender an immense amount of draft capital to acquire someone like Russell Wilson. Where Wilson is different than Watson (to a minimal degree) is where their contracts lie at the moment.
You will note that Wilson makes $4M less than Watson per year and that he has a bit less in total guarantees. The acquisition price for the latter figures to be more than the former as a result of the difference in their ages. Wilson is seven years older than Watson and has much more wear and tear throughout his career which is ironically what has led to his unhappiness with the Seahawks front office.
At one point in time the Cowboys were competing against the Seahawks in terms of getting a Prescott deal done. Prescott was first eligible for a contract extension in 2019 which was when Wilson got his most recent extension (which raised the overall market rate, a phenomenon we have talked about a lot of the last two years). In fact, Wilson’s contract was at one point the reported benchmark for Dak Prescott.
At the time there was debate about giving Dak Prescott something like $35M per year with over $100M guaranteed. Given the state of the market two years later it feels somewhat same to assume that most would be comfortable with that price in the here and now. Unfortunately due to the market at the moment, the Cowboys cannot do that.
Acquiring Wilson would be landing a quarterback contract from two years ago which is what the Cowboys seem to prefer. Of course it would also involve some mix of draft capital exchanging hands which is never a fun pill to swallow. But again if we are considering the non-Dak Prescott options, Russell Wilson is obviously at the top of the list.
One idea that makes some sense is a Wilson union with the Cowboys in 2022. ProFootballTalk mentioned this earlier in the week and noted that the Cowboys would obviously be letting Dak walk (with a 2023 compensatory pick likely their only net gain) and for what it’s worth 2022 is when there is no longer any guaranteed money on Wilson’s current deal.
Keep an eye on the Cowboys. That’s a team that has been on the radar screen as a potential Wilson destination for a while. And it actually makes plenty of sense for 2022, if the Cowboys can’t reach a long-term deal with Dak Prescott.
Given that the Cowboys would have to offer a 44-percent raise over Prescott’s $37 million franchise tender in 2021 to tag him a third time, that could be the moment at which the Cowboys make a play for someone like Wilson.
But that could be too late. Wilson has launched a multi-pronged media assault, and he’s winning. No one is mad at Wilson for saying what he said on Tuesday, and fans and media seem to agree with his concern that the Seahawks haven’t put enough talent around him over the past several years.
Perhaps 2022 will be too late. Or maybe 2021 is too late. Either way it is at the very least somewhat possible that Russell Wilson could be playing for someone other than the Seattle Seahawks this season which is wild.