The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks pulled off the 2022 NFL offseason’s biggest blockbuster trade on Tuesday when Seattle sent quarterback Russell Wilson and a fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft to the Denver Broncos for quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant, defensive lineman Shelby Harris, two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and a fifth-round pick.
Got it? Great.
Now the specifics of the Russell Wilson trade are out of the way, it’s time to decide who were the biggest winners and losers from the deal.
Winner: Denver Broncos
Sure, the Seahawks received a boatload of picks and some quality players in return for Wilson, but none of that will matter if they can’t field a competent quarterback sometime within the next few seasons. Just ask… the Broncos.
Denver, whose roster is already loaded with high-end skill players on offense and a defense that is good enough to be a contender, was missing that quarterback. It’s all they were missing, really. And after seeing the Los Angeles Rams win the Super Bowl after mortgaging their future on Matthew Stafford last offseason, the decision to trade a few first-rounders (and then some) was an easy one to make.
The Broncos were one of a handful of teams that were expected to target a quarterback in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. So, with that in mind, trading this year’s first-round pick for Wilson isn’t really a ‘lost’ draft pick; they probably would’ve used it on Kenny Pickett or Malik Willis. Instead, they used it on Wilson… that’s an easy win.
Wilson is 33 years old and is universally viewed as one of the best all-around quarterbacks in the NFL. He has plenty of gas remaining in his right arm and he hasn’t slowed down as an athlete either.
The Broncos are a good bet to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl next year.
Loser: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seahawks
It’s probably too late, but if you have Metcalf on your fantasy football roster, it’s time to move on. The Russell Wilson trade just tanked his value.
Metcalf is one of the NFL’s biggest (literally) playmakers at wide receiver but like all talented dudes at his position, he still needs a quarterback who can get him the ball. Wilson was a perfect match for his skill set because of his ability to drop the all in a bucket downfield. Now, with Lock or, perhaps, a rookie first-rounder tossing passes to him downfield, his outlook is murky… at best.
There’s no telling how much of a regression Metcalf is in for. He’s scored 22 touchdowns over the last two seasons, including a career-high 12 last season. He’ll be lucky to score half as many in 2022.
Winner: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Broncos
On the other end of the production outlook is Jeudy, whose ceiling has been capped over his first two seasons because of poor quarterback play in Denver. That’s all about to change, in a big way.
Quite a day in Denver, where Jerry Jeudy reacted to the news of Aaron Rodgers returning to the Packers and Russell Wilson being traded to the Broncos. pic.twitter.com/QudTrxqlE6
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 8, 2022
Jeudy is one of the NFL’s best route-runners who has elite after-the-catch ability. All he’s been missing is a quarterback who can hit him in stride. He has that now, and he’ll challenge to be one of the NFL’s most productive wide receivers in 2022 as a result.
Jeudy’s 2021 season didn’t go according to plan. He was injured, appeared in only 10 games, and finished the year with zero touchdowns. There’s literally nowhere for him to go but up, and he’s about to board a rocket ship.
Loser: Noah Fant, TE, Seahawks
Fant, in my opinion, has been a bit underwhelming as a pro since entering the league as a first-round pick in 2019. He has 10 touchdowns over his first three seasons and struggled to form a connection with Lock during their time in Denver.
Unfortunately, that ‘time’ is being extended in Seattle. It’s reasonable, then, to expect more of the same average-to-below average production from Fant despite profiling as the unquestioned target hog at tight end for the Seahawks.
Maybe Fant needed a change of scenery to unlock his potential. But it’s more likely he needed a change at quarterback. That change isn’t coming.