Eagles Wake-Up Call: A Russell Wilson Hypothetical
Today’s question comes via Twitter:
— PennsCurse (@PennsCurse) June 27, 2015
Let’s start with a disclaimer: Russell Wilson most likely isn’t going anywhere. But it’s June, we all have the football itch, and these are the types of questions fans casually discuss while we wait for training camp. So it doesn’t hurt to at least address it.
Wilson is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2016 season. According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, he wants to be the highest-paid player in the NFL. So what are the Seahawks’ options?
Number one, they can continue to negotiate with Wilson and agree to terms on a long-term extension that works for both sides. In my opinion, this is still the most likely scenario.
Number two, they could use the franchise tag. If they use the exclusive franchise tag, Wilson is handcuffed. He can’t go to another team. But if Seattle were to use the non-exclusive franchise tag, Wilson could negotiate with other teams. The Seahawks would then have the option to match any offer. And if they chose not to, Wilson’s new team would have to give up two first-round picks.
The third option, and one that would make zero sense for the Seahawks, would be to let Wilson walk as a free agent and get nothing in return.
So let’s tackle this from an Eagles perspective and get to the initial question. Would Wilson be a fit? Of course. He has the qualities Chip Kelly covets. Wilson has completed 63.4 percent of his passes the last three seasons and has posted a 2.1 percent interception rate (72 TDs, 26 INTs). He can throw the deep ball and has the intangibles (leadership, toughness) that Kelly finds valuable.
Wilson would bring an element to the run game that’s been missing. When asked about the zone read back in March, Kelly actually pointed to the Seahawks as a team that incorporates it well. Wilson ran for 849 yards last year and averaged 7.2 YPC. Perhaps more importantly, he’s brilliant at avoiding big hits, whether that means sliding or getting out of bounds. Wilson has made 48 consecutive regular season starts for the Seahawks.
In some systems, Wilson might not be as effective. But with the Eagles and Kelly, I think he’d be great. So if the question is: Would Kelly be interested in Wilson? The answer is overwhelmingly yes.
But the situation is a lot more complicated because of what it would potentially take to get Wilson. For starters, you’d probably have to make him the highest-paid player in the league. That limits what you can do with the rest of your roster from a salary cap perspective. One of the reasons the Seahawks have been able to load up on talent is because Wilson has been playing on his rookie contract.
And secondly, assuming the only way to land Wilson would be through the non-exclusive franchise tag, you’d also be giving up a pair of first-round picks. So not only do you have less money to spend on free agents and your existing players, but you have a harder time adding substantial talent through the draft.
We all know quarterback is the most important position on the roster, and finding a franchise guy is difficult. But what it would take for the Eagles to land Wilson would require near perfection with the rest of their personnel moves.
Getting back to reality, it seems the Eagles’ plan is to ride with Sam Bradford for 2015. Beyond that, the long-term outlook is cloudy. If Bradford performs well, it would make sense for both sides to continue moving forward together.
If Bradford struggles or can’t stay healthy, the Eagles will enter next January once again looking for another option. But it’s highly unlikely that Wilson would be a realistic option at that point.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Giants punter Steve Weatherford took a shot at the Eagles current QBs.
Eagles weekend reading: Taking LeSean McCoy over DeMarco Murray; predicting big things for Josh Huff; and more.
Football school: On Rich Kotite’s offensive philosophy, a prank involving a groin injury and why it’s called press coverage.
The Eagles are reportedly looking to add John Moffitt, an offensive lineman who’s battled addiction issues and quit the Broncos midseason two years ago.
Don’t forget to order your Eagles Almanac if you haven’t done so already.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz offers some thoughts on Jason Kelce:
Kelce is special because of his movement skills. You see this on run plays where he moves laterally. Kelce has great feet and is able to move laterally very quickly. He can then engage the DT to that side and free up the OG to go get a LB or DE. Kelce isn’t going to physically dominate the guy he’s blocking, but he will keep that defender from affecting the play.
The area where Kelce’s mobility really shines is when he blocks on the second level or out in space. Getting to the second level isn’t easy, but the real challenge is getting your hands on the defender and being able to successfully block him. We see plenty of guys get off the ball quickly and then struggle to come under control and block someone in space. Kelce is able to block on the move.
Jordan Matthews talked to this year’s rookies. Below is a post from his blog about the experience:
There are two key nuggets of information that I really wanted these guys to take away from this. First, stay even-keeled. Never get too high and never get too low. Create a positive environment that allows you to stay in a mindset of peace and focus when it comes to football and your life…and then stay there. If you can stay in that lane, then the game of football is going to come a lot easier. Go to work, study film, spend time with your family, but stay in that lane.
The second thing is don’t ever compare. Don’t look at what this guy over here is getting paid and start changing the way you act in the locker room based on what somebody else has. Don’t look at what another team is doing in OTAs and start wondering why your team is running so much. If you start comparing, you’ll start slacking, and then you’re going to find yourself looking for a different team. Focus on what you have to do and go get that done.
We’ll roll out a Fletcher Cox feature we’ve been working on.