Looking back at the biggest trades of the 2022–2023 NFL season

NFL’s biggest trades of the season are headlined by Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, and AJ Brown



Russell Wilson on the Broncos during training camp 2022.

GABE KAIJA, Evergreen reporter

As the one-year anniversary of the franchise-altering trade that sent quarterback Russell Wilson from Seattle to Denver approaches, there is no better time than now to take a look at some of the biggest blockbuster trades from the 2022–23 NFL season.

This retrospective glance into the past will consider the value of the trades, along with the short-term and long-term effects they had on the teams involved.

Russell Wilson – Quarterback 

Last offseason was a big one for both the Seahawks andWilson. On March 8, Seattle agreed to send their future Hall of Fame quarterback to the Broncos in exchange for two first-round picks, two second-round picks and a fifth-rounder, as well as young quarterback Drew Lock, veteran defensive linemen Shelby Harris and tight end Noah Fant.

While all signs pointed to a Seahawks rebuild year, they saw otherwise, having journeyman Geno Smith waiting in the wings to take the starting job from Wilson.

In hindsight, this was a stellar deal for the ‘Hawks, as Smith had an outstanding year compared to Wilson, even bringing home some hardware, having won the Comeback Player of the Year Award. While Smith was leading the league in completion percentage (69.8%) and breaking franchise passing records, Wilson struggled to take control of the locker room in the Mile High City, finishing with an abysmal 16:11 touchdown to interception ratio and leading his team to just a 5-12 record.

Wilson still has time to right the ship, however, as the Broncos’ recent acquisition of head coach Sean Payton this could be the final piece of the puzzle the Broncos have been trying to put together.

The Seahawks, meanwhile, have a very bright future ahead of them. With two first-round selections in this year’s upcoming draft (No. 5 and No. 20), they have an opportunity this offseason that not many organizations get. They also have a ton of young core players to continue to develop and build around, such as cornerback Tariq Woolen, running back Kenneth Walker III, and two bookend offensive tackles in Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas.

Deshaun Watson – Quarterback

One word that can sum up theWatson situation? Polarizing. Some view this deal as the NFL and the Cleveland Browns sweeping his concerning allegations under the rug, and others see the value in him as an athlete.

The Browns clearly saw the value in him, as they gave the Houston Texans their first-round selections in 2022, 2023, and 2024, as well as exchanging a handful of later-round picks. The Browns also gave Watson an unprecedented, fully guaranteed contract worth $230 million over five years.

In the aftermath of the Texans’ fire sale rebuild, things are promising. With the second overall pick in this year’s draft, they are in a good position to pick up one of the top QBs and surround him with talent.

After missing the playoffs in 2022, Cleveland will attempt to load up their roster and make a push for the Super Bowl in the coming years.

Khalil Mack – Edge Rusher

After spending the last four seasons in the Windy City, the Chicago Bears agreed to send him to the Los Angeles Chargers, receiving a second-round pick and a sixth-round pick in exchange.

In Chicago, Mack wreaked havoc in opposing backfields, racking up 36 sacks, 35 tackles for loss, and 52 quarterback hits. The Chargers obviously hope he can get back to that after the team’s disappointing loss in the playoffs.

With Justin Herbert at the helm, the Chargers will look to build up a contending roster before their window closes.

The Bears have fully entered the rebuild phase, but things could look promising after this offseason, as they currently hold the first overall selection in the draft and have plenty of money to spend on free agents.

A.J. Brown, Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill – Wide Receivers

The fact that these three weren’t even the only top receivers moved last offseason is baffling with guys like Browns WR Amari Cooper, Patriots WR DeVante Parker and Cardinals WR Marquise Brown also on the move. These are just the best of the best, so there will naturally be more intrigue in these trades.

Having requested a trade from the Titans, Brown joined a loaded Eagles team that eventually made it all the way to the Super Bowl, only to fall apart at the very end.

In 2022, the Titans selected wide receiver Treylon Burks with the pick they received from Philadelphia, but still struggled at the position due to a lack of real playmakers.

Adams and Aaron Rodgers had their last dance together, and while things may be crumbling in Green Bay with the potential exit of their all-time great quarterback, it is not looking a whole lot better for Adams’ Raiders.

Adams is widely regarded as one of the league’s top pass-catchers. He continued to back that up in Las Vegas even with a downgrade in quarterback play. 

The Packers had the same issue as the Titans in this case with a lack of playmakers, possibly acting as a cautionary tale for other teams looking to move on from their top talents.

One of the more surprising deals that happened in the 2022 offseason was the Chiefs shipping speedster Hill to the Miami Dolphins. Coming off another very successful year, they were not willing to pay the premium that would have been required to keep their guy in-house.

For Miami, many looked at their new track team of an offense, headlined by Hill, receiver Jaylen Waddle and running back Raheem Mostert, and thought they had a real chance to win the Lombardi.

It will be interesting to see what league-altering trades take place over the next few months. There have already been rumors of a few big names being on the move, but only time will tell if those rumors come to fruition.