Jason Campbell thinks NBA influenced NFL QBs Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson

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Ethan Cadeaux
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Campbell thinks NBA influenced QBs Wilson, Watson to speak out originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

In recent weeks, we have seen Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Houston Texans passer Deshaun Watson raise concerns about their specific individual situations.

Wilson wants a better offensive line in Seattle and would even welcome a trade to a few teams, while Watson wants out of Houston altogether. That's two examples of high-profile NFL players using their status to create leverage to potentially get out of an otherwise unappealing situation. 

While this amount of power might be new to the NFL, it has become an annual thing in the NBA. Former Washington quarterback Jason Campbell joined the Team 980 on Monday and said he thinks the NBA has had an influence on NFL stars using their leverage to potentially move on.

"They see guys in the NBA doing this a lot, and I think this is where it kind of started from," Campbell said. "You look at guys like [James] Harden and different guys in the NBA that pushed their weight around a little bit to get themselves in better situations. I think now you're seeing a lot of guys in the NFL take notice of everything."

Campbell's specific mention of Harden makes complete sense, too. Just a few months ago, the former NBA MVP requested out of a messy situation in Houston. Although there were plenty of bumps along the way, Harden ended up getting traded to his preferred destination, the Brooklyn Nets. Now, the Nets are one of the best teams in basketball, and the decision to acquire Harden looks better by the day.

Harden isn't the only example, either. In 2017, we saw Kyrie Irving pretty much force a trade out of Cleveland to Boston. Anthony Davis forced his way out from the Pelicans to Los Angeles in 2019, only to win a championship with LeBron James and the Lakers in his first season with the team. Paul George wanted to go team up with Kawhi Leonard with the Clippers after the two-time Finals MVP singed with the in the summer of 2019 and the trade was made just hours later.

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For years, we've seen NBA players use their leverage as stars. Now, it's starting to happen in the NFL, with Wilson and Watson being two prime examples.

How is this shift happening? Well, Campbell believes that players like Wilson and Watson are able to speak up for two main reasons: they are financially set and know they are top targets by other teams.

"These guys are starting to speak up a little bit more," Campbell said. "They are backed up with their contract, they have the guarantees that are there. And, they know they are a hot target. They know that teams will come for them left and right."

The former Washington QB is right in both aspects. Both Wilson and Watson are signed long-term by their respective franchises. And, should either become available via trade, almost every team that isn't set at quarterback would come calling about a potential deal.

By voicing their concerns about their respective situations, both Wilson and Watson have put pressure on their individual teams to quickly make them happy. Neither team wants to trade their quarterback. They both are top five players in the league at the sport's most important position. Moving on from either would set each team back for years.

"The coaches and the team don't want to get rid of them. Why? because they are franchise players," Campbell said.

Both situations are messy with no resolution in sight any time soon. So, what will ultimately end up happening? 

"I think Russ and Pete Carroll work it out and he stays. I think Deshaun probably ends up getting traded," Campbell said when asked to guess an outcome.

Campbell's final point was another reference to the NBA, too. If and when either quarterback is traded, it becomes like dominoes. Other moves inevitably follow depending on where they land, the inevitable fall out of an increasingly chaotic 2021 offseason. 

"Once [Watson or Wilson] gets traded, I think there are a couple of other quarterbacks that may enter the shuffle," Campbell said. "Because if he gets traded, then Tua [Tagovailoa] could end up going somewhere else. If Russ gets traded to Dallas, then where does Dak [Prescott] go? Then Derek Carr could end up in Washington, you just don't know, if Russ ends up with the Raiders. If one gets moved, then that means three other quarterbacks get moved, too."