Russell Wilson Trade Details: Revisiting the Infamous Seahawks and Broncos Deal

The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks made a blockbuster trade in March 2022, changing both franchises ever since.

On March 8, 2022, the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos agreed on a blockbuster trade involving Russell Wilson. The Seahawks traded Wilson away for a significant draft package from the Broncos with the hopes that both teams involved could get a fresh start with the move.

Throughout Wilson’s tenure in Seattle, the situation seemed to get progressively rockier as time went on. Ultimately, both sides decided to part ways, believing it was in favor of both parties.

Now, Wilson has been released by the Broncos after things soured in Denver and is a free agent for the first time in his NFL career.

What Did the Broncos Trade for Russell Wilson?

Here’s a look at the specific details of the trade between the Seahawks and Broncos:

The Seahawks received:

  • QB Drew Lock
  • TE Noah Fant
  • DL Shelby Harris
  • OT Charles Cross (2022 first-round pick)
  • OLB Boye Mafe (2022 second-round pick)
  • OLB Tyreke Smith (2022 fifth-round pick)
  • CB Devon Witherspoon (2023 first-round pick)
  • EDGE Derick Hall (2023 second-round pick)

The Broncos received:

  • QB Russell Wilson
  • DL Eyioma Uwazurike (2022 fourth-round pick)

Why Did Seattle Trade Wilson?

Whoever you ask, you’ll see that things got rocky in their relationship while Wilson was in Seattle. While the two sides dealt with the dysfunction for several years, crossroads were met for Wilson and the Seahawks, resulting in the official decision to make a change.

It wasn’t a situation that developed overnight, but there was one moment that sent things beyond return. While usually very media-trained and politically correct, Wilson let his true feelings out about the organization and his transgressions on the field.

“Like any player, you never want to get hit,” Wilson told reporters via Zoom. “That’s the reality of playing this position; ask any quarterback who wants to play this game. But at the same time, it’s part of the job and everything else.”

“I think that the reality is that I’ve definitely been hit. I’ve been sacked almost 400 times, so we’ve got to get better. I’ve got to find ways to get better too,” Wilson said.

All of this came out in a 2021 interview with Dan Patrick to discuss Wilson’s Walter Payton Man of the Year honor. He spoke about his frustration with his pass protection and offensive line as well as being left out in personnel decisions, something that didn’t happen with other franchise quarterbacks.

“I’m frustrated [about] getting hit too much. I’m frustrated with that part of it. At the end of the day, you want to win,” Wilson said when asked whether he was frustrated with the Seahawks.

While the things Wilson was saying were out of character for how he had been perceived, it was clear how long and frustrating things had been.

“I think that sometimes you hold onto it a little bit just because you’re looking for that play and you find it, but also so many of those times it turns into touchdowns too,” he said.

“But you never want to be sacked that many times. Four hundred times basically is way too many — 400 too many. So I think that’s a big thing that we’ve got to fix. That’s got to be fixed and has to be at the end of the day because my goal is to play 10 to 15 more years.”

It’s not the only reason for the departure, but that may have been the icing on the cake for what was already an increasingly souring relationship. Simultaneously, it may have served as the final piece that put the trade out of town in motion.

As the trade has continued to be looked at through a rearview mirror, many have openly discussed what the situation was like back then.

“While Russell made it clear he wanted this change, he made Seattle proud, and we are grateful for his decade of leadership on and off the field,” Jody Allen said, chair of the Seahawks.

“We look forward to welcoming our new players and to everyone being fully engaged while working our hardest to win every single day. I trust our leadership to take us into the future, and know we all wish Russell the very best.”

The former head coach of the Seahawks, Pete Carroll, also opened up about the trade as well, making it clear that he believed things could have ended differently.

“I’ve learned that sometimes you got to make tough decisions, and you got to go for it,” Carroll remarked. “It just reemphasized to me, sometimes you got to just sit with it. With really a good commitment of people in connection with the people that have to bring in the inputs of those decisions, you can make good solid choices, and it worked.”

“It worked out tremendously for us, and that’s why we’re sitting in this position for this draft. And we have some funds to work free agency because of it,” Carroll said.

Carroll and the Seahawks “amicably agreed” to change his role from head coach to an advisor role in early January 2024 after 14 years of him leading the team.

For Wilson, he has been quiet regarding his trade. Not much has been said since he packed his bags for Denver.

While not much has been said about Wilson and Seattle, things have soured once again for Wilson, this time in Denver. Things had been spoiled for a bit, partially due to his lackluster performance on the field, and it finally reached a breaking point in late 2023.

Wilson, who was on a large five-year, $242.5 million deal, was approached mid-season by the Broncos’ front office, telling him he needed to adjust his deal (referring to his guaranteed money) or else he would be benched. Wilson stood his ground and was ultimately benched in favor of Jarrett Stidham.

KEEP READING: What Is an NFL Dead Cap Hit?

“We beat the Chiefs. They came up to me at the beginning of the bye week — Monday or Tuesday — and told me that if I didn’t change my contract, my injury guarantee, that I’d be benched for the rest of the year. … I was definitely disappointed about it,” Wilson said.

With things having reached a boiling point, there was no going back for the two parties. On March 4, the Broncos cut Wilson, incurring an NFL-record $85 million in dead money. They did, however, save $37 million in guaranteed money that would have hit had they waited too long.

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