Russell Wilson trade rumors: Khalil Mack headlines Bears’ most logical trade chips for blockbuster deal

Russell Wilson is not averse to moving on from the Seattle Seahawks, if weeks of reports and leaks from the quarterback’s own camp are to be believed. And now one of Wilson’s four preferred landing spots, the Chicago Bears, have reportedly made a trade for the superstar signal-caller their top priority of the 2021 offseason. Does that mean a deal is likely? Of course not. But it sure as heck means there’s a growing belief that Wilson can, in fact, be pried from Seattle. And anyone who’s followed the Bears’ QB carousel of recent years knows Chicago would probably be more inclined than anyone to pay a premium for the former Super Bowl MVP.

What, exactly, could the Bears offer the Seahawks, though? The truth is they’re not exactly loaded with elite assets. If general manager Ryan Pace actually keeps Seattle on the phone, odds are he’s going to need to package multiple first-round draft picks with one, if not two, of his best trade chips. The most logical chips at his disposal? Here’s a look:

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Contract remaining: Two years, $17.3 million ($5 million guaranteed)
Bears’ 2021 savings, if traded: $1.33 million

Rest assured Foles would be a throw-in rather than a central piece of a trade. At 32, with no more than 11 single-season starts in his career and three different employers in the last three years, the former Eagles standout would merely satisfy Seattle’s need for a new QB, even a short-term one. But his inclusion wouldn’t be totally insignificant, seeing as though he can offer at least serviceable starting experience and can be cut without much penalty after 2021. In run-first Seattle, he’d be better off than he was in Chicago in 2020.

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Contract remaining: One year, $12 million ($0 guaranteed)
Bears’ 2021 savings, if traded: $10.5 million

A few years ago, his name would’ve carried a lot more weight in trade talks. Now, at 31 and two seasons removed from All-Pro honors, he’s more like a one- or two-year rental to plug the interior. The Bears, to be frank, might benefit more from saying farewell, seeing as his departure would clear a big chunk of cap space. But the Seahawks are always looking to solidify their defensive front, and Hicks would still represent an upgrade at defensive tackle. Like Foles, he’d have to be paired with a handful of high picks.

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Contract remaining: Four years, $102.5 million ($16.7 million guaranteed)
Bears’ 2021 savings, if traded: $5.2 million

Bears fans may scoff, but if parting ways with Mack meant bringing Russell Wilson to the Windy City, do you really think Pace (and most of Chicago) wouldn’t pull the trigger? Freshly 30, the ferocious edge rusher could still have a half-decade of Pro Bowl production in the tank, but that’s also why he’d bring so much value to a trade. Seattle would assuredly embrace a talent of his caliber for a transitioning defense, while Chicago would save more than $75 million from 2022-2024 by unloading his mega-contract.

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Contract remaining: Four years, $63.9 million ($11.5 million guaranteed)
Bears’ 2021 savings, if traded: $2.3 million

Quinn warranted a hot free-agent market in 2020, but it’s still a minor marvel he got a five-year, $70 million deal from the Bears at 29. A pass-rushing journeyman at this stage of his career, he’d be nowhere near as enticing as Mack, but at least he’d be the Seahawks’ best pressure man in years. It helps he’s got no guaranteed money beyond 2021, making him a low-risk, high-upside gamble for the short term, if not a potential future trade chip for Seattle.

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Contract remaining: One year, $20 million ($0 guaranteed)
Bears’ 2021 savings, if traded: $11 million

Like Hicks, Fuller may have demanded a legitimate trade market a few years back, when the former first-rounder earned back-to-back Pro Bowl nods and even posted a seven-interception season. Chicago would still be better off keeping him, but with a big 2021 cap hit and 2022 free agency looming, he’s expendable. For the Seahawks, he’d represent an instant fix at corner, where Shaquill Griffin and Quinton Dunbar could both head elsewhere. At 29, he’s still young enough to earn an extension, too.

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Contract remaining: Three years, $5.3 million ($900,000 guaranteed)
Bears’ 2021 savings, if traded: (-$228,000)

Why would the Bears deal their second-rounder just one mostly promising season into his career? Because they want Russ. Just 21 and fresh off a rookie year in which he averaged more than a pass defensed a game, Johnson has the upside to be a long-term No. 1 on the outside. That’s precisely why he’s got more value than probably everyone but Mack here. He’d be a cheap, young addition at a position of need, and with Fuller and Eddie Jackson in town, the Bears wouldn’t be wrecking their secondary by sending him away.