Russell Wilson’s Anger is Justified, but a Trade Isn’t the Answer
Today, The Athletic dropped a bombshell report about star QB Russell Wilson’s frustrations with the Seahawks. It included instances of Russell Wilson venting about the team and even got to the point where it stated Wilson stormed out of a team meeting after 2 straight losses to the Bills and Rams in 2020.
He asked for more say in the offense and felt that even though he had turned the ball over 7 times in 2 games, he should be given more freedom to fix the issues. Instead, the coaching staff dismissed his various ideas and that set the QB off.
Of course, there is no coincidence that these reports are surfacing today. After the Super Bowl, Wilson went public with his frustrations, telling Dan Patrick he was tired of being hit and wanted more say in team decisions. The Seahawks were reportedly not happy about that decision on Wilson’s behalf, and just a few weeks later we got this detailed report on how the Walter Payton Man of The Year stomped out of a team meeting, dealing a blow to his impeccable public image.
The escalations only continued, as Adam Schefter of ESPN reported Wilson would only waive his no-trade clause to go to New Orleans, Las Vegas, Chicago, or Dallas. Eerily like the Deshaun Watson situation where the QB listed some trade destinations before eventually asking for a trade, the bond between Wilson and the Seahawks is only growing more tenuous.
But why? What’s in it for Wilson to leave the Seahawks?
Well, Wilson has always been concerned with leaving a legacy. He is making it quite clear that the best way he believes he can do that is by having say in personnel decisions and offensive schemes. And he’s not wrong. The Seahawks have placed an immense load on him for the last few years and haven’t given him the appropriate say in those decisions as a result. Seattle has been infamous for failing to adapt and it has arguably been the root cause of their last 3 eliminations.
In the Wild Card game against Dallas in 2019, the Seahawks ran the ball early and often to no avail. They trailed throughout the game and relied heavily on Wilson to win it for them down the stretch, but he simply couldn’t pull it out. This sparked questions about the Seahawks’ apparent decision to trust their run game more than their star QB.
It was even worse in their 2020 elimination against the Packers where Seattle fell behind 21–3 at half after a run-heavy attack failed them. In the second half, they relied on Wilson to deliver a win again. He tried his best and got them within one score, but ultimately lost 28–23. This sparked the #LetRussCook movement that has only fueled the divide between Wilson and Seattle.
2021’s loss to the Rams was just an all-around flop — the most representative loss yet. Wilson was scrambling from LA defenders less than two seconds after the snap consistently and never got anything going. They didn’t even run the ball that much either, so really the offense did nothing right. The Seahawks fell in the first round for the second time in three years and Wilson’s anger level was palpable.
As he glared at Super Bowl 55 in Tampa Bay from his box seat, one could tell something was on the horizon. He then started his campaign against Seattle and here we are, staring at one of the more tense QB-franchise situations in recent years.
But for Wilson’s sake, I hope this is just a power play to gain more leverage over personnel decisions. If he wants his best shot at a Brady-esque legacy, none of those teams he mentioned he’d go to seem to fit the bill.
For one, all those teams he listed are arguably in more trouble than the Seahawks.
The Raiders are literally the 2018 Seahawks, but worse, when you compare the two. Lacking any semblance of a pass rush, having a mediocre young secondary, and a lack of receivers that can get open consistently, the Raiders have more questions than their QB to answer this offseason. What they do have is an offensive-minded head coach and a mauling run game, but we know how Wilson will inevitably dislike the latter.
Also, from the various reports over the years, Wilson isn’t one to take criticisms from coaches especially well. So I wonder, how will he respond when the infamously brash head coach Jon Gruden gets on his case day after day?
It’s a no for Las Vegas.
But what about Dallas? They have a rock-solid offensive line and a great receiving corps to go along with Ezekiel Elliot out of the backfield. They have constantly been on Wilson’s radar whenever trade speculation has arisen in the past, so why would they not be a good fit? Well, if Wilson has had issues in the past with the Seahawks’ defense, he’d be in for a rude awakening in Dallas.
Their unit tightened up at the end of the year similar to Seattle’s after a horrendous start to the season, but they have no bona fide pass rushers since their franchise cornerstone DeMarcus Lawrence seems to be on a decline. Their secondary is young and far from a top unit and to make it worse they have a head coach that may be even more stubborn than Pete Carroll. HC Mike McCarthy has been known to often delegate game-altering decisions to analytics. Imagine how Wilson would feel if McCarthy not only disregarded his advice but preferred to listen to analytics over Wilson. There is work to be done in Dallas, and trading for Wilson would mean forfeiting assets that are essential to their retooling.
Even with QB Dak Prescott playing at an elite level for the Cowboys last season, they struggled. Subbing Wilson in for him will make the team better for sure, but won’t take them all the way. So, for the ransom it will take to trade for him, what’s the point?
The Saints and Bears each share some promise, but cap space issues with the Saints will force them into a tough space soon and the Bears’ defense has been playing uncharacteristically bad as of late. Both have issues that will damage their chances of contention rather soon. Over the next 5 years, I expect Seattle to have more success than either because of their better cap situation and young talent.
At the end of the day, Russell Wilson should be fed up with the Seahawks. He should want some accountability out of Pete Carroll and the coaching staff. For all they ask him to do, he should want a say in how the team functions. But at the end of the day, it’s not a situation worth forcing a trade out of.
The amount of assets the Seahawks need to push themselves back into a contending position isn’t that much. They need to shore up the offensive line and be willing to spend more on it while strategically letting go of pieces that aren’t that essential. What it boils down to is Wilson’s patience with GM John Schneider. If he is willing to give Schneider, one of the most respected front-office executives in the league, another offseason to fix their personnel decisions, his legacy will have a better chance than demanding a trade will provide.
It all comes down to what both sides are willing to sacrifice. Wilson has already taken his share of the hits due to the mediocre protection over the years, and now it’s up to Pete Carroll to repay that courtesy by letting Russ into the loop. In turn, Wilson needs to be able to take those criticisms when they come, because his lack of an ability to do so has torn apart Seahawks teams in the past.
As currently constructed, this marriage is doomed. It will take a lot of compromise in the coming months to not only keep Wilson in Seattle but succeed in 2021 and beyond.
As a final note to Pete Carroll: Russell Wilson is a top 5 QB, it’s time to take the training wheels off and treat him as such.