“If Wilson Leaves I riot”

“If Wilson Leaves I riot”
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Immortal words spoken by my friend and fellow NinetynineYards write Shona Duthie, it would seem crazy that the franchise quarterback, responsible for so much good that has happened in Seattle sports in 2013 might leave the team, but rumors just won’t go away. Are they founded on anything? I don’t think so, and let me be clear, I don’t want it to happen, but there are plus sides for the team, not least in salary cap management which might enable them to keep other stars.

On the other side of the coin is the New York Giants, seemingly in need of a quarterback to ignite the sleeping giant, Eli Manning and his two rings appears to be coming to the end of his career. The Giants have options – trade for Josh Rosen, draft a quarterback like Dwayne Haskins or Drew Lock, but some are suggesting they invest their 2 first round picks and possible more for Russell Wilson.

Last week on Ninety nine yards twitter I threw out several scenarios to you and asked would you rather, the results are as follows;

  1. As New York, trade your second round pick for Josh Rosen, keeping your 2 firsts to build a team around him (40%)
  2. As New York Giants, trade both 2019 firsts and Manning for Russell Wilson (45%)
  3. As Seattle, keep Wilson, but lose Frank Clark due to salary cap issues (10%)
  4. As Seattle, make the trade detailed in scenario 2, and suffer for a year, package a couple of picks to get a new #1 quarterback like Fromm or Lawrence the year after, ride the rookie contract for 4 more years. (5%)

An overwhelming 85% of voters picked New York Giants scenarios, I would put this down to the fact that they are the team with the issue at quarterback and therefore more obvious that a change needs to take place. The Seahawks don’t need to do anything, they have a QB, hence change being less popular in a vote.

The most popular option was for the Giants to make the trade for Wilson, this also simply makes sense, they team and fans want a quality player, Wilson is ready made and also a favourite in New York, also being a member of the New York Yankees. He brings with him tremendous talent and a win now opportunity. For them to trade for Wilson make sense to the team, but at what cost, they don’t have a supporting cast for him, and would struggle to build a team having given up its highest draft picks.

At 40% a trade for Josh Rosen was not unpopular. He is of a similar style to Manning and comes with the majority of his rookie deal already paid, he would be under contract for another 3 years. In spending a 2nd for Rosen the Giants keep their two first round picks and can get Rosen some help at receiver or the offensive line, really commit to success with the new guy. He comes with warning signs however, his personality has always been a question mark and has people really split, but the fact is, if the Cardinals are willing to give up on him after just one year, why?

And so to the Seahawks, in the last two seasons they have made their way out of a real cap problem, they have done so by moving on from some of its biggest stars, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Michael Bennett are no longer in town, and retired players such as Avril and Chancellor are finally having less effect on the cap. Yet as far as they have come in that regard, in the next 2 years fans expect them to pay Frank Clark, Jarran Reed and Bobby Wagner, on top of finding funds for a Kirk Cousins style deal for Wilson. It’s time for more penny pinching in Seattle, which led to the eventual loss of Earl Thomas.

Frank Clark is a defensive end currently on a franchise tag, the options here are to resign for similar money that Lawrence just got at the Cowboys, making him the highest paid rusher in the league, trade Clark, probably for a second round pick, or play the waiting game and probably lose him in a similar debacle to that of Thomas. Given that the Seahawks won the Superbowl with a committee at defensive end, with Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril (at that time on bargain contracts) behind starters Chris Clemons and Red Bryant, you wouldn’t bet against Carroll and Schneider moving on from Clark and trusting themselves to be able to build a line.

I have a stat, since Steve Young winning the Superbowl with the 49ers in 1984, only three quarterbacks have won the Superbowl while taking up over 10% of the teams salary cap – Eli Manning in 2011 (11.7%), Peyton Manning in 2006 (10.4%) and Brett Favre in 1996 (10.2), while the average spend on a Superbowl quarterback has been just 6.4%. (Overthecap.com jan 2019).

That said it isn’t impossible to build a Superbowl worthy roster, Matt Ryan of the Falcons was the 3rd highest quarterback in the league when they were 28-3 up against the Patriots at half time of Superbowl 51, and they also had a highly paid Julio Jones on the roster.

The problem that a highly paid Russell Wilson gives you is when you add Clark, Reed and Wagner, this leaves a much depleted portion of the cap to sign 49 other players. It is ridiculously hard to build a championship roster and would be the only reason I can think of to trade Russell Wilson.

How to build a roster is a subject close to my heart, and I’m looking forward to exploring this in the off season. Until then, if you’re a Seahawks fan, given that Wilson has set the Seahawks a date of April 15th to have his new offer in place by, expect more speculation for a while yet.

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