49ers primed to rule NFC West with Russell Wilson leaving Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) against the San Francisco 49ers Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) against the San Francisco 49ers Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Since 2012, the thorn in the 49ers side has been the Seahawks, and here’s why the departure of Russell Wilson gives the Niners a chance for dominance.

The San Francisco 49ers entered this offseason riding on a muted high. Losing to a division rival in the NFC Championship game and seeing them win a Super Bowl is one of the worst feelings in the world (yet one Niners fans have felt twice in the last decade), but for a team dealing with injuries across the board and a potentially precarious quarterback situation, it was a best of both worlds scenario.

They got into the offseason following a fairly successful season, reportedly saw tremendous growth from their prized young quarterback behind the scenes and have a fair number of avenues to improve their team.

Although there have been some bumps and bruises on their path this offseason, the biggest news for the Niners didn’t come from them, but from their division rivals up north.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Seattle Seahawks traded star quarterback Russell Wilson and a fourth-round NFL Draft pick to the Denver Broncos in exchange for defensive lineman Shelby Harris, quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant, two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and a fifth-round pick:

It’s a sizeable package, but it’s not one that will replace what Wilson did for the Seahawks – especially considering their own pick shortage due to trades of their own. As much as a team must control its own destiny, this is perhaps the best news the Niners could have gotten.

Since the first years of the Jim Harbaugh era, when the 49ers entered into the volatility that’s defined their team recently, there’s been one constant thorn in their side, in the good times and the bad.

That’s Wilson and the Seahawks.

In the beginning, it was the “Legion of Boom” and vicious battles, but as time went on, the main antagonist became Wilson, with his ability to make something out of nothing and confound the 49ers defense.

In 20 career games against San Francisco, he has a record of 16-4. That’s an 80-percent winning mark.

But now, the Seahawks will likely be starting Lock at quarterback, not to speak of their own issues on their roster. The rising tide that Wilson was is no longer in play. This creates an opportunity unlike any other for the 49ers.

What Russell Wilson leaving Seahawks means for 49ers future

The Los Angeles Rams are the current Super Bowl champions. Nothing can take that away. They also pushed all their chips in for one season and reaped the benefits. Now, with minimal cap space and no early draft picks, their window of opportunity will be closing faster than expected before a long rebuild.

The Arizona Cardinals have yet to consistently play through a season, though their talent is always worth noting. The Seahawks have entered a rebuild without their star quarterback to keep them afloat. Lock has yet to prove himself as a viable option for an NFL franchise.

This leaves the 49ers with a prime opportunity.

Their roster, with a game manager at quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, made it to the NFC Championship game and was a couple key plays away from playing for a second Super Bowl in three years. If Trey Lance becomes even remotely close to what the 49ers brass seems to think he will be, there is a burgeoning opportunity to take control of the NFC West for the forseeable future.

It’s the end of an era in Seattle. If the 49ers play their cards right, it’ll be the start of a long reign in the Bay Area.

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