After a mediocre second half of the 2020 regular season Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson doubled down and played “DIVA QB” this offseason. Wilson criticized everything from his coaching staff’s make up, getting hit too much in the pocket, to decisions made by the front office. He insinuated that he should have more input in just about everything that happens in the Seahawks facility and he brought the attention and spotlight full circle and put it right where he desires it—ON HIMSELF. Now, it's time he delivers.
Wilson recently tried to downplay it all and hide from it, on his terms. When he spoke to the media recently at the Seahawks mini-camp, his explanation just didn’t seem authentic. Keep in mind that earlier this off-season he had his agent named four teams he’d be willing to be traded to. Now his version of the preceding events that took place doesn’t add up and to me, its more than just about semantics.
The grin on his face during a recent press conference while explaining that all is well in Seahawks-Land told me exactly what I suspected. I, for one, did not buy his denials and in hiding behind his agent’s comments regarding the possibilities of a trade. His unwillingness to own up to his comments during the whole saga just didn’t sit well with SOME Seahawks fans. People on the street (and maybe even in his own locker room) are now questioning his motives, desires, and more than anything else, his future. That’s unheard of in Seattle.
The fact is that one thing has changed after this offseason of discontent in the Pacific Northwest. In the past, fans and media alike would not challenge Wilson or his “Go Hawks” corny perception that he has tried to perpetuate. They would drink the kool-aide and back his comments. Now, his legacy, his character, his style, and his explanation of the offseason events have all turned up the heat on himself. The only way he reclaims his perch at the top of the Seahawks hill is to play lights out, just like he did early last season.
His tactics this offseason were damaging to his “brand” both nationally and in the ever-loyal Pacific Northwest. On the other hand, I think the way the Seahawks handled Wilson’s comments were a clinic for other teams to adhere too. They carried on, continuing to manage and improve their team and they said very little about Wilson or his wishes. They let him, and his agent behind the scenes, have their day in the sun and handle his own actions. The Seahawks have taken the high road throughout the ordeal, gathering information as it came from the Wilson camp, whether directly or thru third parties, but also staying the course and doing whats right for THEM. Even Pete Carroll’s “high road” explanation during his first media session rivaled Iraq’s Information Minister (as tanks were filing by in the background of his live camera shot) denying anything was out of the ordinary. He was professional, if not believable. Kudos to Carroll how he handled this situation.
This is just my opinion, but I think had they been offered an option at QB that didn’t come with a step back or a recalibration affecting their window of opportunity getting back to the Super Bowl over the next couple of years, the Seahawks would have been all ears in listening to options. That being said, a 70 year old head coach is not ready for a rebuild or a new QB at this point. I know for a fact that the Seahawks received and took calls about Wilson but there were no offers that made sense because it was going to set them back at the QB position. There was no deal available that solved their QB issues long term if they were going to be without Wilson.
Regardless, remember this though, Wilson’s contract is a tradable commodity, especially after the 2021 season and even more so after NEXT June 1.
Here is the key to it all going forward. Russell Wilson has to play well in 2021. Sounds simple I know. Fair or not, the pressure is on him. He needs to perform at a Pro Bowl level, maybe even an MVP-type level throughout the season and his team needs to win games in a division that now has teams that swapped QB Jared Goff for Matthew Stafford, added a young QB talent in Trey Lance from the top of this year’s college draft and a tweaked defense from the desert with the addition of Hall of Famer JJ Watt. It’s going to be easier said than done for Wilson.
The Seahawks are also breaking in a new offensive coordinator and offensive system that will, more than likely, require a learning curve and a period of adjustment. These factors are real.
All this being said only leads us to the conclusion that because of his actions since the end of last year, one thing is true, Wilson is not untouchable and we have not heard the end of this story if the Seahawks and especially their starting quarterback do not have big years. He may not have been knocked off the pedestal in Seattle yet, but a few cracks from below the surface made their way to where others now can see them and judge the circumstances for themselves as to what they might mean.
It’s nothing a little foundational make-up can’t fix, but Wilson has maneuvered the spotlight to shine directly on his play with his offseason antics. Now it’s up to him to produce.