The New England Patriots are exploring every avenue when it comes to finding their next franchise quarterback, but it seems as if one of them has already been shut close. Even though Russell Wilson is reportedly a candidate to change teams this offseason, the eight-time Pro Bowler has only four preferred destinations should he not remain with the Seattle Seahawks.
Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, told ESPN that his client has not demanded a trade despite recent rumblings suggesting otherwise. If push came to shove, however, the 32-year-old would waive the no-trade clause in his contract for only four potential suitors — and the Patriots are not among them.
Apparently Wilson would only consider being traded to the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Las Vegas Raiders and New Orleans Saints. While a trade to one of those franchises actually taking place does seem unlikely regardless of the recent reports out of Seattle, there are few things that can ever be ruled out in the NFL.
“There’s always a chance for everything,” as New England’s 2020 starting quarterback Cam Newton recently said albeit in a different context (him possibly returning to the Patriots in free agency).
A theoretical Russell Wilson trade materializing could have a trickle-down effect on the Patriots as well, even if they are not the team landing him. After all, the four clubs Wilson reportedly sees as a potential landing spot would all likely make some follow-up moves that could then create a different dynamic for New England’s quarterback search. Again, all of this is just theoretical in nature, but it shows how easily the QB market can change.
Wilson going to Chicago, for example, might lead the Bears to part ways with one of the other quarterbacks currently on their roster: former first-round draft pick Mitchell Trubisky and former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. Both could enter the market if Wilson joined their current team.
Wilson going to Dallas, on the other hand, would definitely lead to Dak Prescott moving on after five seasons as the Cowboys’ starter and one extended contract standoff. The best quarterback to come out of the 2016 draft, Prescott is one of the NFL’s most dynamic players and as such a target for plenty of teams — including New England. Of course, the most likely scenario would just be the Seahawks and Cowboys switching quarterbacks: Dallas would franchise-tag Prescott and move him to Seattle in exchange for Wilson.
Wilson going to Las Vegas, meanwhile, would put not just one but two Raiders quarterbacks onto the market. Marcus Mariota is already expected to be available, and the current betting favorite to be the Patriots’ next starter, while Derek Carr would then join him. Both would be targets for New England under the right financial conditions.
Wilson going to New Orleans, finally, would create a situation in which both Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston would turn into candidates to be acquired by other teams such as the Patriots. While both have their flaws — Hill has been little more than a gadget player, Winston struggled with ball security in Tampa Bay before being replaced by Tom Brady — they could at least attract some other quarterback-needy teams.
At the end of the day, a Wilson trade would be a shocker no matter what the recent reports say. The Patriots cannot and will not count on it happening in order to shake up the current quarterback landscape.
With all that said, this story shows that the market is as volatile as it has been in recent memory. Every release and trade could have an impact on numerous teams — their QB situations and draft outlook. New England, slated to pick 15th overall in late April, will keep a close eye on every development, and even if it is still just theoretical in nature such as a Russell Wilson trade.