Clayton: Despite Russell Wilson’s comments, Seahawks are rare NFC team set at QB
While Russell Wilson stays quiet after stirring the pot with his post-Super Bowl comments about getting more involved with the Seahawks’ personnel decisions and how Seattle’s offensive line needs to improve, the NFL quarterback landscape continues to change.
On Thursday, it was reported that the Philadelphia Eagles had agreed to trade Carson Wentz to Indianapolis for a third-round draft pick this year and a conditional second-round choice in 2022. That increases the quarterback changes in the NFC to five.
The Saints’ Drew Brees is expected to retire. Matthew Stafford went to the Los Angeles Rams. Jared Goff is now with the Detroit Lions, and it’s not out of the question they might trade him if they can get some interest. Mitch Trubisky isn’t expected to go back to the Chicago Bears.
The number could get as high as eight if something happens with San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo, Washington’s Alex Smith and Carolina’s Teddy Bridgewater. And don’t forget that Dallas’ Dak Prescott is set to become a free agent.
Excluding Prescott, that’s half of the NFC changing their quarterback. Amazing.
What’s interesting is that there isn’t a first-round quarterback from 2009 to 2016 still with the team that drafted them, an eight-year period where 24 quarterbacks were selected in the opening round. Stafford was the Lions’ choice in 2009. Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota were the top two picks in 2015. Goff and Wentz were atop the 2016 draft.
While the Lions got great value for Stafford – two first-round picks, a third-rounder and Goff – the Eagles didn’t get what they were hoping for with Wentz. While the Eagles initially asked for two No. 1s, they couldn’t get even one first-round pick. The reason was word got to the Chicago Bears that Wentz preferred going to the Colts. The Bears weren’t in the bidding at the end, so Wentz went off to Indianapolis.
With so many first-round quarterbacks on the move, it shows you how lucky and smart the Seahawks were in drafting Wilson in the third round in 2012. Though his relationship with the front office might be a little strained now, he is under contract and isn’t going anywhere. Last Friday, $19 million of his base salary for 2021 was guaranteed. Plus he has a no trade clause in his contract.
Along with the quarterback news, the NFL notified teams that the floor for the as-yet-decided 2021 salary cap went up $5 million from $175 million to $180 million. That’s still $18.2 million less than the 2020 cap, but maybe there is some hope the number could go up more. Denver Broncos players rep Brandon McManus says the cap could go to $188 million, and a league executive also told the Denver Post that it could be $188 million. Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwell said Thursday he doesn’t think it’s going to go much higher than $180 million, though.
All teams will benefit if the cap is higher. A $188 million cap would give the Seahawks a great chance to re-sign Chris Carson, Shaquill Griffin, K.J. Wright and others. It would give them cap room to get help at guard and maintain the players they had at defensive end in 2020 or get better at the position. It would enhance the chances of signing Jamal Adams to a contract extension, as well.
Free agency starts March 17, and the NFL and the NFL Players Association hope to get a cap number by March 1. That’s two weeks away. Players are being cut by the teams who have cap problems and those numbers will increase over the next two weeks.
The Seahawks have only one player – defensive end Carlos Dunlap – who might be a cap casualty, but you would have to think both sides would like to work out a new deal. It will have to be at a reduced cost, though.
While the NFC is changing, the Seahawks are hoping to stay close to being the same team that was on the field last year.
More from John: Why Seahawks won’t need to wait until free agency
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