Russell Wilson is a Denver Bronco.
(We’ll wait a couple seconds for that sentence to sink in.)
But while Wilson’s heading east, who’s heading west?
In return for the nine-time Pro Bowler and a fourth-round pick, Denver is sending three players — quarterback Drew Lock, defensive lineman Shelby Harris and tight end Noah Fant — as well as two first-round picks, two second-round picks and a fifth-round pick to Seattle.
The headliner of that haul is likely Lock, who has struggled after being selected by Denver in the second round with the No. 42 overall pick in the 2019 draft. In 24 games and 21 starts, the University of Missouri alum has completed just 59.3% of his passes, throwing for 4,740 yards with 25 touchdowns (plus five rushing scores) and 20 interceptions.
In the days and months (and years) ahead, plenty will be said and written about the franchise-swapping quarterbacks. But let’s focus, instead, on Seattle’s remaining returns.
Harris, 30, has been a staple of Denver’s defensive line across the last five seasons. The uber-reliable 6-foot-2, 290-pound defensive end has played all 16 games in four of the last five campaigns, contributing 205 tackles and 21.5 sacks along the way. In 16 games last season, the Illinois State alum posted 49 tackles, seven tackles for loss, six sacks, two passes defended and one forced fumble. He should help further solidify a Seattle defensive line that finished tied for second in opponent yards per carry (3.8) but just 24th in sacks (34) last season.
Harris — whom Denver considered a “locker-room leader,” according to a tweet by NFL insider Adam Schefter — signed a three-year, $27 million contract in 2021 and is set to make $7.97 million this season. He’ll likely compete alongside the likes of Carlos Dunlap II, Rasheem Green, Kerry Hyder Jr., Robert Nkemdiche and L.J. Collier for reps at Seattle’s defensive end spot.
Meanwhile, Fant — a 6-4, 249-pounder — joins a tight end room that appears to be in flux. After being nabbed with the No. 20 overall pick out of Iowa in the 2019 draft, Fant has struggled to find his footing in Denver — recording 170 catches, 1,905 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns (while playing 47 of 48 possible games) in the last three seasons. That includes 68 catches, 670 receiving yards, 9.9 yards per reception and four touchdowns last fall.
The 24-year-old Fant is scheduled to make $2.21 million this season, in the final year of his rookie deal. The Seahawks must decide whether to pick up Fant’s fifth-year option, worth $6.85 million, this spring.
At present, Seattle’s other tight end options may be Gerald Everett, Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson. The 27-year-old Everett — who is currently a free agent — signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Seahawks last offseason. The former Los Angeles Ram produced 48 catches, 478 receiving yards and four touchdowns in 15 games. The 25-year-old Dissly is also a free agent; the former Washington Husky played in 31 games across the last two seasons, contributing 45 catches with 482 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
The only Seahawks tight end currently under contract is Parkinson, who has caught seven passes for 49 yards in 20 games during his first two seasons. The 23-year-old former Stanford Cardinal is due a combined $1.9 million in 2022 and 2023.
From a pass-catching perspective, Seattle’s tight end position is in obvious need of an upgrade. But can Fant access the potential that made him a 2019 first-round pick?
This trade’s final grade will depend on so much more than the answer to that question. It’ll be judged, too, by what a 33-year-old Wilson has left, whether Harris and Lock can be more than the answer to a trivia question, and if Seahawks general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll can maximize their impending draft picks — which has been easier said than done in recent seasons.
And while Wilson leaves behind a franchise he indelibly altered, Lock, Harris and Fant (among many others) will be tasked with helping the new-look Seahawks pick up the pieces.
But hey: no pressure.
The Drew Lock File
Experience: Three seasons
Contract: One year remaining (due $1.451 million in 2022)
2021 statistics: 6 games, 3 starts, 60.4% completions, 787 passing yards, 2 pass TD, 2 INT, 2 rush TD
The Shelby Harris File
Experience: Seven seasons
School: Illinois State
Contract: Two years remaining (due $7.97 million in 2022)
2021 statistics: 16 games, 49 tackles, seven tackles for loss, six sacks, two passes defended, one forced fumble
The Noah Fant File
Experience: Three seasons
Contract: One season remaining (due $2.21 million this season; Seahawks could also pick up a fifth-year option worth $6.85 million in 2023)
2021 statistics: 68 catches, 670 receiving yards, 9.9 yards per reception, four touchdowns