Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) raises his hands to the crowd before playing the Arizona Cardinals during an NFL game on Jan. 9 in Phoenix. (AP Photo/John McCoy, file)

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) raises his hands to the crowd before playing the Arizona Cardinals during an NFL game on Jan. 9 in Phoenix. (AP Photo/John McCoy, file)

Seahawks agree to trade Russell Wilson to Denver Broncos

The deal reportedly includes a big haul of draft picks and players for Seattle, including quarterback Drew Lock.

By Bob Condotta / The Seattle Times

SEATTLE — In one of the biggest — if not the biggest — trades in Seattle sports history, the Seahawks agreed Tuesday to deal quarterback Russell Wilson to Denver for a mammoth haul of five draft picks and three players, including two first-round picks and quarterback Drew Lock.

A league source confirmed the parameters of the deal. However, the deal is not likely to be announced until Wilson passes a physical with Denver (and the players Seattle is getting pass physicals) and paperwork has been processed. The deal cannot technically become official until the new league year begins March 16, though it can be announced as agreed.

A source confirmed to The Seattle Times that talks between the Seahawks and Broncos heated up during the NFL combine last week in Indianapolis and were the result of both the continued fraying of the relationship between Wilson and Seattle and Denver giving the Seahawks an offer that proved too good to turn down.

A source also confirmed that while Seattle got multiple offers for Wilson — including one reported last week from Washington — Denver was the only team of those who made offers that Wilson agreed to waive his no-trade cause for.

The talks with Denver, whose second-year general manager George Paton had made clear for months he would swing big to get a quarterback, intensified and ultimately culminated Tuesday after Denver learned it would not be able to get Aaron Rodgers, who agreed to a four-year deal worth $200 million to stay with Green Bay.

The Seahawks also understood that Rodgers’ contract would likely serve as a starting point for any future talks between Wilson and Seattle. Wilson had two years remaining on a four-year, $35 million per year deal he signed in April 2019.

And that played a role in the Seahawks deciding to move on from Wilson, knowing that they might get their best package in return for Wilson now instead of waiting a year. It was already expected Wilson would ask for a contract following the 2022 season that would put him on par with, if not surpass, Rodgers.

Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) throws during a game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Jan. 8 in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey, file)

Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) throws during a game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Jan. 8 in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey, file)

A source said Seattle will also send a fourth-round pick to Denver while getting three players, including Lock, as well as two first-rounders, two second-rounders and a fifth. Lock, a second-round pick of the Broncos in 2019, has an 8-13 record as a starter, including 0-3 in 2021.

A source confirmed that one of the other players Seattle will get is defensive end Shelby Harris, a 30-year-old who had six sacks in 2021. Harris has two years remaining on his contract, due to make $7.5 million in 2022.

Seattle will also get tight end Noah Fant, who is entering his fourth year and had 68 receptions for 670 yards and four touchdowns last season.

And with this trade, the Seahawks are now expected to have eight overall picks, including Nos. 9, 40, 41 and 72, in the 2022 draft, which will be held April 28-30.

Also adding some urgency to getting the deal done now is that Wilson was due a $5 million roster bonus March 21. He also has no guaranteed money left in his contract, making a deal less complicated to complete now than a year ago.

The trade sends Wilson to the team against which he had his greatest moment as a Seahawk, Seattle’s 43-8 win over Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII. According to ESPN, Wilson becomes the first player to start for a team that he beat in a Super Bowl.

While rumors of Wilson’s future with the team hovered since last year, the Seahawks appeared to tamp them down last week when Carroll said at the combine that the Seahawks “had no intention” to trade Wilson and that general manager John Schneider had told teams who called about Wilson that Seattle was “not shopping the quarterback.”

But the Seahawks stopped short of saying Wilson would not be dealt, and Schneider said he would not be doing his job if he didn’t take calls on Wilson.

When Denver kept calling and Wilson agreed to waive his no-trade clause, the deal got done. Wilson was thought to prefer Denver in part due to its corps of young receivers and a solid defense, as well as playing for a first-year offensive-minded coach in Nathaniel Hackett, who was the offensive coordinator for Green Bay the last three years.

The trade means Wilson will still play a game in Seattle next season as the Broncos are on the list of Seahawks home opponents in 2022.

But thus ends the 10-year career of Wilson in Seattle, one that may have been as important as any in franchise history, if not Seattle sports history.

The Seahawks had four straight losing seasons before Wilson arrived in 2012, taken in the third round at No. 75 overall out of Wisconsin.

He led Seattle to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth his first year and then to the Super Bowl each of his next two seasons, including the Seahawks’ only title following the 2013 season.

Wilson ended last season with the most wins of any quarterback in the first 10 years of his career of any in NFL history — 113 — including regular season and playoffs.

NFC quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks (3) passes the ball during Pro Bowl NFL football practice on Feb. 5 in Las Vegas. (Steve Luciano/AP Images for NFL, file)

NFC quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks (3) passes the ball during Pro Bowl NFL football practice on Feb. 5 in Las Vegas. (Steve Luciano/AP Images for NFL, file)

But Wilson, who turned 33 in November, endured the worst season of his career in 2021, missing three games with a ruptured and dislocated right middle finger as Seattle fell to 7-10, the first losing season for the Seahawks since 2011, the year before Wilson was drafted.

Rumors surrounding Wilson’s future began circulating last season when he said he was frustrated with how often he had been hit during his career and that he wanted more of a say in moves the organization made. It was later reported that his agent, Mark Rodgers, had told the team he would approve a trade to one of four teams — the Saints, Raiders, Packers and Bears.

Credible reports stated that the Seahawks turned down a blockbuster offer from the Bears, due mostly to Carroll not wanting to start a rebuild.

Denver was not on that list, but the Broncos were known to be aggressively pursuing a quarterback and apparently made Seattle an offer too good to refuse — especially with the Seahawks realizing that a stare down with Wilson was coming after the 2022 season at the latest.

Wilson said repeatedly this offseason that his “hope” was to end his career in Seattle. But like the team, he never definitively said that he would stay.

That Carroll turns 71 in September led to the idea that the team would hold on to Wilson for one more season, keep the team largely together in 2022 and try to get back to the playoffs.

The Seahawks are thought to believe Lock has more potential than he showed in Denver. He becomes one of only two QBs currently on Seattle’s roster, the other being former UW and Lake Stevens standout Jacob Eason, whom the Seahawks claimed off waivers last season. Seattle is also likely to re-sign Geno Smith, the team’s backup the last three years.

But the Seahawks will also now pursue other QB options via trade, free agency and the draft, possibly using some of its draft capital acquired Tuesday to try to make a deal. Among those Seattle could seek are Sam Darnold of Carolina, Carson Wentz of Indianapolis, Jimmy Garoppolo of the 49ers and possibly Deshaun Watson of Houston, among others.

Like Seattle, Denver finished 7-10 in 2021. But the Broncos fired Vic Fangio and hired Hackett, who drew raves for his work with Aaron Rodgers, as their new head coach.

That undoubtedly appealed to Wilson, who has been rumored to feel stifled in the offense of Seattle and Carroll, who comes from a defensive background and has stressed being careful with the football and building around a running game.

Wilson finishes his Seattle career with a regular-season record of 104-53-1 and numerous team records, including 292 touchdowns, which ranks 15th in NFL history.

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