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Hue Jackson denies Browns were offered Russell Wilson in trade

Former Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson denied that the team was offered Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in a trade ahead of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Earlier this week, NFL analyst and quarterback Chris Simms made waves when he shared a rumor that the Seattle Seahawks had offered star quarterback Russell Wilson in a trade to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.

"I'll say this, and I think I've told you this before. I had heard a rumor from some people that I trusted a few years ago that Seattle called Cleveland when they had the No. 1 pick, and there was this rumor going around the NFL that they offered Russell Wilson to the Browns for the No. 1 pick the year they drafted Baker Mayfield," Simms told Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio on NBC Sports' PFT Overtime. I never followed up, but I just know I had people tell me that that was something people were hearing. ... I don't know how serious those discussions were."

But according to Hue Jackson, who was the head coach of the Browns at the time, no such trade talks ever took place.

“I’ve never heard anything so crazy in my life," Jackson said during an interview on The Zach Gelb Show on CBS Sports Radio. "I’m sure [former Browns general manager] John [Dorsey] and [Seattle GM] John Schneider are really tight. I’m sure if they’re having conversations on their own, just jiving around and doing those kind of things -- I would think if something was serious about that, we, the executive team and the organization, would have known. I never heard that."

While the rumor Simms shared might seem outlandish, it's worth noting that Seattle was in negotiations with Wilson at the time. If the Seahawks believed in Mayfield -- or any other quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft, which also included Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson -- it seems plausible Seattle would have at least considered letting another team pay Wilson a high-figure contract so that it could invest elsewhere on its roster.

Ultimately, the Seahawks opted to pay their franchise signal-caller, agreeing to a 4-year, $140 million ($107 million guaranteed) contract with Wilson ahead of the 2019 campaign. Meanwhile, the Browns drafted Mayfield, who went on to set an NFL rookie record with 27 touchdown passes and enters 2020 with lofty expectations as Cleveland looks to break its 17-year playoff drought.

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