Joe Banner: ‘No doubt' idea of landing Russell Wilson would excite Eagles


Russell Wilson has always been the one that got away.

And the possibility of writing an organizational wrong would “no doubt” excited the Eagles, former team president Joe Banner said on the latest episode of Takeoff with John Clark.

“No doubt that rings in their minds,” Banner said. “No doubt they think back about that moment and wonder how different things would be. And no doubt in my mind that the idea of acquiring him would be something they’d be really excited about if it was a real possibility.”

Halfway through the 2021 season, the Eagles’ situation at quarterback isn’t defined long-term. They have Jalen Hurts and he could be the guy. But they also have plenty of ammo to draft a quarterback or to land a big fish in a trade. And it seems like Wilson’s time in Seattle might be winding down.

If you’re not familiar with the Eagles’ history with Wilson, the organization really liked him coming out of Wisconsin and planned to use their third-round pick to draft him back in 2012. Wilson never got that far.

The Eagles wanted to take Wilson with the No. 88 pick but the Seahawks took him at No. 75. Wilson has gone on to have a Hall of Fame-worthy career in Seattle. The Eagles took Nick Foles in the next round.

Banner said not drafting Wilson is right at the top of his list for the biggest regrets he has from his time in Philadelphia.

And he thinks Wilson and that mistake is still in the backs of the minds of owner Jeff Lurie and GM Howie Roseman.

“I’m not even there anymore and when I see [Wilson] play, I have a reaction,” Banner said. “How close that was and, frankly, how big of a mistake we made in trying to kind of finesse waiting. Maybe that makes sense if you’re picking a linebacker or something. But you’re picking a guy you think could be your quarterback for the next decade. To start to worry about picking him at 55 vs. 65 or 70 was really a big mistake on our part. I’m glad we were proven right in the evaluation because we spent a lot of time on it and just got too cute with ourselves when it came time to actually make the pick.”

Roseman even referenced this story when explaining the controversial decision to draft Hurts with the No. 53 pick in 2020. He basically said the Eagles got burnt by waiting to draft a quarterback before and weren’t going to make the same mistake again.

On the podcast, Banner spoke about just how big the decisions facing the Eagles will be this offseason and it starts with Hurts. Is he the guy or not?

If the Eagles believe Hurts can be a franchise quarterback, then they can use their salary cap space and their draft picks to build a strong team around him. But we all know how much the franchise cares about the quarterback position.

“If it turns out they believe he can be the guy and frees them up to use those three picks to strengthen what’s surrounds him or what the defense is, that’s transformational,” Banner said. “We’ll be looking at a new team two years from now.”

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