Entering the 2020 season, the Seahawks had a mild Russell Wilson problem. Russ wanted to cook, and at least for a while the offense was smoking.
The offense regressed later in the season. After a one-and-done home playoff loss to the Rams, Seattle offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was fired.
The Seahawks hired Shane Waldron to replace Schottenheimer, but it remains unclear whether and to what extent coach Pete Carroll will reserve the right to put his imprint on the offense.
Over the weekend, it was reported that a couple of teams called the Seahawks to inquire about Wilson’s availability in trade. The Seahawks declined to engage in such discussions. On Monday night, came this nugget from Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports: “I’m hearing Russell Wilson’s camp has grown increasingly frustrated by the Seahawks inability to protect the 8 time Pro Bowler. He has been sacked 394 times in 9 seasons. This situation warrants serious monitoring.”
To the extent there’s a “there” there, Wilson’s concerns sweep much more broadly than a complaint about the quality of the team’s offensive line. It’s the overall offense. It’s the early exits from the playoffs. It’s everything that has kept the Seahawks and Wilson from getting back to the Super Bowl.
Indeed, the Seahawks haven’t progressed past the divisional round since 2014, Wilson’s third NFL season.
Now entering Year 10, the 32-year-old quarterback is getting closer to the midpoint of a career, based on his preferred expiration date of 45. For several years, a vague sense has meandered through the grapevine that, in time, Wilson will play for another team.
Two years ago, before Wilson got an extension that paid him a then-record $35 million annually, chatter about a desire to play in a city like New York had been building. Although it remains highly unlikely that anything will happen this year (his contract triggers a $39 million cap charge in the event of a trade before June 1), Wilson and the Seahawks are creeping closer to his next up-or-out moment.
Twice before, the two sides chose “up,” in the form of a market-value contract. As soon as next year, the player and/or the team could potentially opt for “out.”
So while the situation merits monitoring, don’t expect it to come for a head in 2021 — unless someone makes the Seahawks a post-June 1 offer they can’t refuse, and if the offer comes from a team for which Wilson would waive his no-trade clause.