After rumors and speculation going back to the offseason, saying things weren’t quite so sunny in Seattle, there is legitimate belief Russell Wilson’s time has come to an end with the Seahawks. As we begin to shift our focus to the 2022 NFL season, where are some possible landing spots for Wilson, and what would be his fantasy football impact for those surrounding players?
Where there is smoke, there’s fire, and Russell Wilson is fanning the flames
“I know for me personally, I hope it’s not my last game. But at the same time, I know it won’t be my last game in the NFL.”
That was Wilson’s response in his press conference on December 30 to a follow-up question about if he can win multiple Super Bowls with the Seahawks in the direction they are currently headed. Does that strike anyone else as an odd thing to add to your answer?
This is not the first time we have been on trade watch. We did this last season when it seemed Wilson was unhappy with the current situation. That was coming off a 12-4 season where they won the division. Coming into Week 18, the Seahawks currently sit at 6-10. How happy do you think he is now? That’s why comments like this will be heavily scrutinized.
The difference with Wilson is this is not a guy about to hit free agency. He has two years left on his contract, but Seattle has an opt-out clause after this season which they won’t use.
Why would you let a player of his caliber walk and get nothing in return when you have starved yourself of picks for years?
What’s even more interesting is that Wilson is one of the few players in the NFL with a no-trade clause. That means if he doesn’t like a potential landing spot, he can flat out turn it down. This narrows down our parameters on where he could realistically land should a trade take place.
Russell Wilson is coming off a down season in 2021
Sure this is stating the obvious, but it does not make it any less true of a statement. Coming off back-to-back seasons of 4,000+ passing yards, Wilson has just 2,875 yards in 2021. His completion percentage dropped to 65.2% (his lowest since 2017), has 22 touchdowns (a five-year low), and just 178 rushing yards, setting a new career-worst and 335 yards less than last season.
Now we need to address the elephant in the room — the finger issue. And no, I don’t mean Urban Meyer’s, even though they happened at the same time.
Wilson sustained a “mallet finger” injury in Week 5 and missed the next three weeks. Even he admitted he came back too soon, and it showed in his play. Since his return in Week 10, Wilson has yet to throw for over 260 yards in a game.
Wilson is now 33 years old — the same age as Matthew Stafford. Yet, these two QBs could not look any different in their current forms.
Things don’t get much better from a fantasy perspective for Wilson
From a fantasy standpoint, we saw similar results. After finishing as a top-10 QB every year since 2013 while averaging 23.58 fantasy points, Wilson is the QB19 overall this season and the QB13 in per-game scoring (17.2).
I can’t even completely blame Wilson for part of this. The Seahawks threw on 50% or less of their plays in nine of his 13 games. It’s not the first time we have seen Wilson taken out of games.
Last season, from Weeks 1-9, Wilson was the QB3. Over that span (eight games), Wilson averaged 317.6 passing yards, 3.5 passing touchdowns, and 26.9 fantasy points per game (second). He was the league leader with 28 touchdowns as the team passed 63% of the time. Then, from Week 10 on, Wilson was the QB12 overall as the Seahawks slowed their passing rate to 57% (22nd in the NFL).
Wilson regressed in every category, averaging 208.9 yards, 1.5 TDs, and 17.1 ppg (16th). Given the frustration surrounding this team, from the play-calling to personnel, it’s no wonder we sit here and wonder where Wilson’s next landing spot could be.
Which teams could be potential landing spots for Russell Wilson in 2021?
Given the lack of franchise-altering quarterbacks in the upcoming draft class, Mr. Unlimited on the market would have nearly every team blowing up the Seahawks’ phones. Nevertheless, only a few make the most sense and could have a massive impact on fantasy.
Get used to seeing this team pop up as they seem to be a quarterback away from making serious noise in the NFL. We heard the Aaron Rodgers rumors last season tied to the Broncos. While I don’t expect that to go away, Wilson is also certainly in the conversation here as a landing spot.
Head coach Vic Fangio is now gone, which will please many Denver fans. The thought of going from Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock to Wilson is tantalizing, especially when you look at the talent on this team.
The two combined for just over 3,800 yards with 20 touchdowns. That’s on a team with Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, Noah Fant, and Albert Okwuegbunam. Not to mention Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams in the backfield. The defense is legit when healthy. They have an improving offensive line and all the pieces needed to become a fantasy juggernaut.
Sutton and Jeudy would both become instant WR2s, Fant a mid-TE1, and Williams a top-eight RB, depending on what happens with Gordon. If we are picking landing spots, this seems like 1A.
New York Giants
There is something about the bright lights of New York City that attract big stars. The power couple of Wilson and Ciara would fit in just fine here, and the Giants could pull this move off if they wanted. Ship off Daniel Jones plus a couple of picks, and the Giants go from the doldrums of the NFC East to fighting with the Cowboys for the top spot.
The offensive line is a question, but we could see that improve from their No. 15 pass block rating in DVOA in the offseason. The skill positions are there; they just need to stay healthy.
Saquon Barkley could still be the player the Giants hope he can be, and Wilson could help him get back closer to his rookie-season self. At receiver, the Giants have Kenny Golladay for the long haul, Kadarius Toney showed flashes as a rookie, and Sterling Shepard should be back around the start of the season (torn Achilles). In addition, they have Darius Slayton and Evan Engram.
The level of competition would be far easier, too. The NFC West is arguably the toughest division in the NFL. Meanwhile, the NFC East had three teams end the season a combined 19-29 (before Sunday’s games). Not only could Wilson return to QB1 status, but we would see at least Golladay and Toney selected as top-36 receivers in fantasy drafts, something that would never happen with Jones under center.
New Orleans Saints
This is the darkhorse landing spot no one seems to be talking about, at least not that I have seen discussed all that often. Imagine Wilson with offensive guru Sean Payton? Could you go from two more polar opposite systems and play-callers? Both Carrol and Payton have the same demeanor, and the magic that could happen here would be incredible.
Jameis Winston did look improved, and I know Payton loves him some Taysom Hill, but you do not say no to Wilson.
Alvin Kamara in the backfield with Wilson would be unfair, not to mention the forgotten man Michael Thomas. We know how good he can be when healthy, and with Wilson’s accuracy and tendencies, we could see him return to a level we saw with Drew Brees.
Marquez Callaway appears to be a legitimate No. 2 option, and Adam Trautman could be the breakout TE several believed he could have been this season. The salary cap will be a massive issue, but the Saints maneuver around the cap better than anyone.