Living in Seattle, I have been inundated with panic and consternation of what might eventually happen with the Seahawks Super Bowl QB. Every radio talk show, every TV news/sports report and every local newspaper publication seldom comes without mention of Russell Wilson’s rare public plea of “I want to be more involved”. It’s become a national target of low hanging fruit for the four-letter network story creators, as well. One reason I have not written in this blog yet about the topic is I wanted to hear the valid, but different, opinions of others. How does the saying go? There is something I do not know, the knowing of which changes everything.
Let me say first, I am a fan of Russell Wilson’s game, maybe not of his style at times or his substance away from the game but nonetheless, he’s a really good player. He has proven he has special qualities and has overcome his lack of height to become, when the offense is clicking, an MVP candidate, as he was in the first half of the 2020 season. It’s just my opinion, but there are four or five other QBs I’d rather have than Wilson if we were choosing up teams today. Some of my reasoning comes because he’s not in the young-guns group anymore.
I do not know the man, but history has shown us that he is a buttoned up, overwhelmingly positive, team first guy, on the surface. This opinion of him gave me reason to question his agenda. Making statements as he did with Dan Patrick, and then continuing to double down on his intent, seemed designed solely to keep his narrative and name front and center. I think it’s okay to say that his motives may be multiple in this case and the truth probably lays somewhere in the middle.
It’s a complicated and multilayered situation without a doubt.
I personally think Wilson was truly frustrated by his teams’ quick exit from the playoffs last year. Pete Carroll clearly got out-coached and out executed in a home playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Let me rephrase that, I think Wilson was genuinely pissed. He was also just coming off watching Tom Brady win a Super Bowl on a new team that Brady had a hand in helping construct. It was also clear that Wilson was not done pointing out the flaws with the internal makeup of the Seahawks, both with the overall coaching staff and, more specifically, with Pete Carroll’s ways and means with his team building aspects. I actually think some of his message is true and needs to be looked at. The problem is in an organization run by the head coach, there is plenty of “unchecked power”. Carroll has two sons on his staff, as well as 22 assistant coaches. That’s crazy and not the norm, to say the least. He also made the decision to give up two first-round picks for a player whose contract the team does not control. All of this comes with a price and in the current structure, the pushback is minimal. I really think Wilson has tired of the “fun and games”, the happy go lucky, whistle while you work, atmosphere that Carroll has created. Others have as well. These are legit concerns and I get it. Point taken.
Where it gets weird and confusing for me with this off-season experience is what Wilson is telling us. On one hand, he tells us he doesn’t want to get traded and then Wilson turns right around and talks about four teams that are possible options for a trade that he would be fine with. That statement or request/non-request makes no sense whatsoever. Wilson is not getting traded. He is currently under contract, and that contract does not support moving him to another team. Also, the Seahawks currently have no plan of succession at quarterback. I originally thought this was Wilson's attempt to keep the story on the front page and the attention on himself. From the chair of General Manager John Schneider behind closed doors, has to be rolling his eyes. If I’m him, I might look into these four teams a bit closer to find what Wilson’s agenda might be.
DALLAS: Big market, a QB of their own who they can’t get on the same page with (so there may be an open chair there), but a team that is never as good as the hype. A defense that was historically bad and an offensive line that, due to retirements and injuries, would really struggle to keep any QB upright. I keep coming back to BIG MARKET.
CHICAGO: Big market, no QB, decent defense, but a team whose decision-makers are on a one-year reprieve and whose futures are in doubt. The offensive line that might be one of the worst in the whole NFL. Okay, it takes me back to BIG MARKET.
NEW ORLEANS: Historically good offense. A QB who is retiring. A coach who is known for being one of the best play-callers and game plan designers in the league. A solid defense that is good enough to win with. BUT, it’s also a place that is desperately trying to reduce cap dollars to the tune of almost $100M just to be compliant by March 17. A trade for a $35M a year QB is never gonna happen. I think this team was thrown into the mix to throw the masses off the trail of BIG MARKET.
LAS VEGAS: I might be a bit cynical here but…. It’s a team with a head coach known for a ready-fire-aim approach, who also has unchecked authority in team building. He has failed miserably (as the GM). This team flat out spent millions to reshape a defense last year, then promptly went backwards in every way. I am going to put this choice in a category and let you connect the dots. HAPPY WIFE, HAPPY LIFE.
When one circles back with regard to all of this, I can’t get this out of my head — BIG MARKETS, BRANDING, LEGACY — all things not real conducive to good QB play. How much of what Wilson has said lately comes from frustration or others around him telling him he’s on the same footing as Tom Brady, which, IMO, might be overvaluing your hand? As Bill Parcells once said, "I don’t want a diva for my quarterback”. Wilson’s play suffered during the back half of 2020 and now all of this noise gives me pause to question his authenticity and agenda.
I think the key to the whole affair is GM Schneider. At some point, he has to be the mediator here, the guy who brings the head coach and the QB back to the same page. He is the one person within the organization who has respect from both sides with all things football. It also makes sense for him to be in this role because he just signed a new long-term contract extension. I would guess Schneider’s new deal comes with newly and reassigned power and authority and control of the roster, once Carroll retires (Schneider’s deal is three years longer than Carroll's). If it doesn’t come with added power and authority, Schneider should find a new agent. This latest situation will test his leadership skills.
I don’t feel he needs to come out publically with any statements. This is not a distraction within the walls at VMAC, at this time. They are carrying on with free agent and draft meetings and executing a cap and team building plan that Russell will be a part of. They don’t play a game for 6 months so there is plenty of time to make things right.
As I said, the truth with what has become “Mr. Wilson’s Wild Ride” is somewhere in the middle and finding common ground, as well as blame. Better communication is the only way it gets fixed. Everybody needs to look in the mirror and be accountable for their own actions.