Sam Darnold could be the key to a successful Chicago Bears’ offseason. *DRAMATIC PAUSE BECAUSE I KNOW WHAT I JUST SAID.*
No, seriously. You’ll note that I’m not saying Darnold becoming the Bears’ starting quarterback is key to the offseason. Just that it’s increasingly plausible that his movement off of the Jets – perhaps by way of the Bears as a happy intermediary – could be a key for the Bears.
Consider a trio of bits that dropped today amid the Obsessive Russell Wilson Watch Watching. First, you’ve got ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky imagining what a possible Bears-Seahawks Russell Wilson trade would look like, and requiring a third team to get it done:
Ok for clarity here
-The point is the @ChicagoBears aren’t going to get Russ unless they bring a 3rd team into picture
-Jets keep #2 pick this year
-would Seattle do it? I dunno but their QBs agent gave the team names for a reason… https://t.co/yvbLVNrNjY
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) March 15, 2021
So, there are elements there that don’t quite work specifically (after the base salary conversion on Khalil Mack, which dramatically increased his already sky-high cap hits in 2022 and 2023, I don’t see him as realistically tradable, for example). But the thrust there is that the Bears would loop in the Jets to get extra picks and Darnold to send to the Seahawks, who’ll need a quarterback to replace Wilson, and maybe Pete Carroll wants to take a shot on the former USC star?
Speaking of which, thing number two:
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has a high opinion of Sam Darnold and could end up trading for the Jets quarterback if Seattle deals Russell Wilson, a league source told @NYDNSports today.
“Keep an eye on Seattle for Darnold,” the source said.
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) March 15, 2021
I’m sure the Seahawks and Carroll don’t want to trade Wilson for Darnold, because obviously. But if they’re in a situation where they are very seriously considering moving Wilson anyway, then it absolutely makes sense for them to target an upside quarterback in the same deal. And since they aren’t getting that guy directly from the Bears, this kind of three-teamer makes sense.
Which brings me to thing number three, getting it local:
While you wait for the Bears to execute their plan(s) to get their next QB, read mine …https://t.co/rthuWvwPB4
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) March 15, 2021
Among Jahns’ makeover plans there – with all appropriate respect, I wouldn’t call it mini! – he includes this after explaining how the Bears could trade Allen Robinson to the Jets for Darnold and a third and fourth rounder:
3. The Bears trade Darnold, first-round picks in 2021 and ’22 and the Jets’ third-rounder in 2021 (No. 66) to the Seahawks for quarterback Russell Wilson and a fifth-round pick in 2021 (No. 167).
The compensation should sound familiar. It’s the same trade that the Bears executed for Jay Cutler on April 2, 2009. It might take more in the end to land Wilson, but Darnold is a better prospect than Kyle Orton was at the time. The Seahawks also don’t have a first-round pick this year and might want an opportunity at selecting Mac Jones, Trey Lance or Justin Fields.
For now, it’s in Seattle’s best interest to patch up their relationship with Wilson. But there’s enough smoke out there to know there is a fire burning somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Sometimes it just takes time for that fire to become a raging inferno ….
Similar to the Bears, finding a quarterback should be a priority for the Seahawks. Surely, they’d like one in return. This deal could provide Seattle with two potential swings at quarterback in 2021.
I’ll agree with Jahns that the price tag there feels a little light, as Wilson would ultimately cost the Bears just two firsts and Allen Robinson (and the Bears would also be getting back a fourth and a fifth), but the logic tracks. And it doesn’t just track in my own brain, it tracks with what else is out there about the Seahawks and Darnold. Who knows? Maybe the Jets would be so enamored by Robinson that the efficiencies gained by the Bears sending him there DO make their price tag on Wilson feel a little light?
And the key there, as I said, would be Darnold.
Luis Medina contributed to this post.