Russell Wilson surprised the NFL world when he listed the Chicago Bears as a preferred destination if the Seahawks were to trade him. Apparently, the interest is very much mutual.
According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, the Bears “have prioritized making a run” at Wilson as they attempt to complete a decades-long search for a franchise quarterback.
The report noted that the other teams Wilson listed as preferred landing spots – the Cowboys, Saints and Raiders – all have circumstances that would make a trade difficult. The Cowboys are expected to re-sign Dak Prescott, and the Raiders have publicly supported Derek Carr. The Saints may be in the market for a quarterback, but are currently projected to be about $50 million over the cap (though they have maneuvered the cap effortlessly in years past).
The question would be what the Bears would have to offer. After making the playoffs at 8-8 in 2020, they ended up with the No. 20 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. It’s not exactly a premier pick, though they could package it together with future first-rounders, or keep the 2021 pick and simply offer future picks if Seattle wants to bet on Chicago having a worse record in future years.
Seattle would also need a quarterback to replace Wilson, another area in which the Bears lag behind his other destinations. The Cowboys could tag-and-trade Dak Prescott, while the Saints could do the same for Jameis Winston. The Raiders have Carr and Marcus Mariota under contract.
Chicago does have Nick Foles, who could be at least a backup for the Seahawks, who are committed to being a run-first team. That said, Chicago averaged 2.8 yards per carry with Foles under center.
The trump card the Bears may have is the number of quality defensive players they have under contract. With Seattle’s stated desire to run the ball, they may look to improve a defense that finished 16th in DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) in 2020.
Seattle announced on Thursday that it is releasing Carlos Dunlap, whom the team traded for in 2020 and logged five sacks with the team. The move saves them $14 million in cap space, which would leave them with cap flexibility to make a run at Khalil Mack, arguably the league’s best edge rusher.
Chicago also has a number of other stars under contract, including Kyle Fuller, Akiem Hicks and Eddie Jackson. Linebacker Roquan Smith turned in an All-Pro season in 2020 and could replace K.J. Wright, should he not return to the team in free agency. Rookie cornerback Jaylon Johnson also turned in a promising season. Both are under a rookie contract.
If the Bears do trade for Wilson, they’ll likely have to dangle a combination of first-round picks, mid-round picks and defensive players. But if reports are correct, Seattle will be willing to listen.