The Denver Broncos took a massive swing on Tuesday, agreeing to trade multiple picks and players to the Seattle Seahawks for QB Russell Wilson. The move has multiple ripple effects on the Buffalo Bills. Let’s break them down.
AFC is packed with QBs
The AFC features most of the top QBs in the NFL now and the Seahawks deliberately turned down strong offers from NFC teams to get him out of the Conference. In the AFC West alone, Patrick Mahomes, Derek Carr, and Justin Herbert are all really good to elite quarterbacks and now you add Wilson. Along with Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson, you have MVP-caliber QBs in other divisions, as well. Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones, and Zach Wilson were all recent high picks in the AFC East, Joe Burrow took the Cincinnati Bengals to the Super Bowl and Baker Mayfield is a first overall pick. If DeShaun Watson comes back for the Houston Texans, he would join Trevor Lawrence (another first overall pick) and Ryan Tannehill in the AFC South. The path to the Super Bowl is difficult with that gamut of QBs. The NFC has Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford, Kyler Murray...and Matt Ryan.
Seahawks receivers on the trade block?
Seattle just took on a $26 million dead-cap hit and has Drew Lock as its QB1 right now. If the team is in full tank mode, the front office could trade either or both star wide receivers and build from the ground up (though if I’m the oldest head coach in the NFL that seems weird). DK Metcalf is entering the final year of his rookie contract and Tyler Lockett is going to turn 30 this season, so playing with a rookie QB might not make sense. Metcalf is going to cost north of $20 million per season after 2022, so you’re trading assets for one season of cost-controlled Metcalf ($4 million) before a big jump. For Lockett, his cap hits are pretty good for the team acquiring him—just $6.25 million and $12.95 million over the next two seasons. The problem with Lockett is his dead-cap number; Seattle would have to be willing to eat cap space in order to trade him and the team acquiring him would be on the hook for a $13 million option bonus.
Note: A previous version of this article indicated the Seahawks had a dead cap hit of $28 million for Lockett based on information that locked in his option bonus in February. That bonus isn’t paid until the new league year, however, which wasn’t accounted for at either Over the Cap or Spotrac. Over the Cap weighed in Tuesday night to clarify, making the trade a possibility.
Broncos could become Opening Night favorite
The Bills had been the sexy opponent on the Los Angeles Rams’ home slate to open the season, and they very much could still be in play thanks to the meteoric rising star that is Josh Allen. But the Broncos acquiring a top-notch QB and making a huge splash that people are going to be talking about for a while could bump them to the top of the list.
Bills are now the lone Super Bowl favorite
Buffalo had been tied with the Chiefs at +750 to win the Super Bowl, but the betting odds have shifted with Russell Wilson in the AFC West. The Chiefs have been downgraded, leaving the Bills all alone in the top spot.