Wild rumor of 2018 Russell Wilson-to-Browns trade discussion makes Seattle and Cleveland both look dumb

Russell Wilson is going to the Hall of Fame someday. He is one of the few quarterbacks on the planet capable of putting a franchise on his shoulders and carrying it far beyond where it should go.

That’s what makes the rumor of the Cleveland Browns-Seattle Seahawks trade talks in 2018 so weird.

NBC Sports’ Chris Simms said recently that the Seahawks and Browns talked about a swap of Russell Wilson for the No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft. Pro Football Talk said, according to a source, “the idea was ‘floated’ conceptually, but that the discussion did indeed happen.”

PFT said one reason a no-trade clause was put in Wilson’s latest deal was due to the Browns trade talk.

Let’s say the discussion happened, as PFT said. It creates a fascinating “what if?” Also, it makes no sense why talks even started or why the Browns didn’t jump at the chance.

Was Russell Wilson shopped for a trade?

Wilson was very good as a rookie in 2012, helped Seattle win a Super Bowl in 2013, and in 2015 he threw for more than 4,000 yards, 34 touchdowns, led the NFL in passer rating while also rushing for 553 yards. He led the NFL with 34 passing touchdowns in 2017. He had established himself as a fantastic quarterback long before 2018. He was 29 during the 2018 offseason.

The Browns had the No. 1 overall pick, and settled on Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. There was no certainty Mayfield would work out, and there’s no certainty now that Mayfield is a good NFL quarterback. Mayfield had a fine rookie season and then struggled badly last season. We just don’t know what comes next.

Here’s what is certain: Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in football. He has been for a while. Wilson is highly paid, and Mayfield is younger. But if the Seahawks came to the Browns to discuss Wilson for the top pick, and the Browns didn’t entertain it, the entire scenario is baffling for both franchises.

Was Russell Wilson the subject of trade talks two years ago? (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Wilson is one of the NFL’s best

Seattle has approached having Wilson in a strange way. The Seahawks’ team-building focuses on defense and the running game, and not necessarily highlighting the talents of a magical quarterback. That they even reportedly had a discussion of trading him before he turned 30 is mind-blowing. Wilson has been great the past two seasons, overcoming a lot of obstacles within his organization to consistently be one of the NFL’s best.

And if the Browns had a chance to land Wilson for Mayfield, well, it’s truly crazy that didn’t happen. Cleveland has been searching for a quarterback for a long, long time. Wilson would probably be the franchise’s best quarterback since Otto Graham (yes, Wilson is far better than Bernie Kosar and please let’s not talk about Brian Sipe). We don’t know the depth of the conversations before the 2018 draft or if the Seahawks would have parted with one of the greatest players they’ve ever had. But if the Browns had a realistic chance at Wilson and passed ... wow.

It’s an interesting scenario, regardless of whether it’s being overblown or mischaracterized now. PFT even included a mention that its source still says Wilson could be traded. Unbelievable.

It seems everyone with a passing interest in the NFL can agree that Wilson is a special quarterback. We just have to wonder if the Seahawks and Browns can’t see it.

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