By Terrance Turner
Sept. 12, 2022
Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson returned to Seattle for the first time since being traded, as his new team faces his old one. Tonight, on the season premiere of Monday Night Football, the Seattle Seahawks battle the Denver Broncos. Wilson turned heads as he arrived in Seattle this afternoon; clad in a metallic mint green suit, Wilson stunned onlookers as he went through security.
The Seattle Seahawks agreed to trade quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos, multiple sources told ESPN, on March 8. Broncos quarterback Drew Lock was sent to the Seahawks as part of the deal, sources told ESPN writer Adam Schefter. Tight end Noah Fant and defensive lineman Shelby Harris will also be joining the Seahawks, per NFL Network’s James Palmer. Schefter claims that the deal also includes two first-round picks and two second-round picks.
The deal could not be finalized until the new league year began on March 16. As part of the deal, Wilson was expected to waive the no-trade clause in his contract. (He signed a four-year, $140 million deal in 2019, which involved a no-trade clause.) The deal was pending a physical and Wilson’s approval, according to ESPN.
This shocking, blockbuster trade marked the end of an era for Wilson and the Seahawks. Wilson was named to nine Pro Bowls in ten seasons in Seattle. Perhaps none were more remarkable than the 2014 season: in 2014, Russell Wilson led the Seahawks to tie the Broncos with an NFL-best record of 13-3, powering them to a Super Bowl berth.
The Seahawks thrashed the Broncos in Super Bowl 51, winning 43-8. Though the defense got most of the love — NFL editor Gregg Rosenthal called it “the toughest, deepest, most versatile defense in football” — Wilson threw for 206 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions for a 123.1 passer rating. His play helped the Seahawks win their only Super Bowl title.
The next season, Wilson worked his magic again, throwing for 20 touchdowns. He led the Seahawks to a 12-4 record — again tying for the best record in the league. The Seahawks advanced to their second straight Super Bowl, this time playing the New England Patriots (who were also 12-4). The game took place on Feb. 1, 2015.
In Super Bowl 52, the Seahawks led 24-14 until the Patriots scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. Then, in the fourth quarter, Seattle chose to call a pass play on second and goal from the 1-yard line with 26 seconds and one timeout left instead of just handing the ball to star running back Marshawn Lynch. Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler intercepted the pass, sealing a win for the Patriots.
Though the Seahawks would never reach the championship again, Wilson continued to shine, setting franchise passing TD records in the 2015 and 2017 seasons. Wilson will leave Seattle with a total of 113 career wins — the most ever by a quarterback in his first ten seasons. Which made it all the more bizarre to learn that in 2018, the Seahawks had tried to trade Wilson.
Wilson said that the team tried to trade him away back in 2018 to the Browns for the No. 1 overall pick, but Cleveland wasn’t interested. Wilson didn’t let on that he had any hard feelings over the matter, chalking it up to business as usual in the NFL.
“Definitely they tried to, a couple of times, tried to see what was out there,’’ Wilson said, per ESPN’s Jeff Legwold. “It’s part of the business, being a professional and everything else … I believe in my talents, of who I am, I feel I’m one of the best in the world.”
Even more bizarrely, tonight Seattle fans booed Wilson as he was coming out of the tunnel:
Wilson and the Broncos struggled against the Seahawks tonight. With the deafening roar of the Seattle crowd, Wilson and the offense had trouble executing plays; the clock ran down to near zero on numerous plays, and they got flagged with at least two delay of game penalties. (And that was on one drive!)
On three separate drives, the Broncos reached the red zone and first and goal. They got within 10 yards of the end zone three times. But each time, the ferocious Seattle defense kept them from crossing the line. On two of the drives, Seattle went for it on 4th and goal and came up empty. On the third, they got three points courtesy of a field goal by their kicker.
But it wasn’t enough. Thanks in large part to a defense that blew up play after play — tackling runners and receivers alike — the Broncos were stopped again and again. Down 17-16 with just a minute left, they mounted a last-second comeback drive. But they couldn’t reach the red zone. Instead, they tried a field goal. But kicker Brandon McManus missed a 64-yard field goal.