Whether it happens this year or next year, it seems inevitable that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson officially will ask the Seahawks to trade him. When the official request comes — or when the offers arrive from the Cowboys, Bears, Raiders, or Saints — who with the Seahawks will decide whether it’s time to move on from Wilson?
For most teams, the buck stops with the owner. In Seattle, it stops with the head coach.
Former Seahawks owner Paul Allen stayed deep in the background. His sister, Jody, has assumed an even lower profile since inheriting the team following his passing. Some in league circles believe the Seahawks essentially have become a corporation, with Vulcan Inc. (founded in 1986 by Paul and Jody Allen to oversee the family’s diverse business activities) and not Jody Allen running the team.
By all appearances, Vulcan isn’t actively running the team. Instead, it appears that Vulcan Sports and Entertainment (a division of Vulcan Inc.) defers to coach Pete Carroll as the de facto CEO of the Seahawks subunit. Indeed, Carroll is both the coach and the executive V.P. of football operations. Which confirms that he’s the ultimate football authority with the Seahawks, a team that has no direct or indirect ownership meddling of any kind.
The question becomes whether the slow boil of #LetRussCook gone wrong will prompt someone from Vulcan to start asking questions, or whether Jody Allen will start doing so herself. That would be a true break from precedent, however. Carroll is the one who has the power to decide what’s in the best interests of the team. Carroll is, by all appearances, the one who will decide whether to trade or to not trade Wilson.
So that’s why, as Wilson believes, Carroll answers to no one. As long as he presides over a team that is reasonably successful and ridiculously profitable (it’s hard for an NFL team to not be ridiculously profitable), no one will tell him what to do or how to do it.
And as to the question of whether the Seahawks would be better off choosing Wilson over Carroll given the expected shelf life of their respective careers, don’t assume that Wilson will be playing longer than Carroll will be coaching. On the same day nearly four years ago that Patriots owner Robert Kraft expressed hope that Bill Belichick will coach the team into his 80s, Carroll told PFT Live, “Why stop there?”
Regardless of whether Wilson or anyone else thinks Carroll has earned the right to run the Seahawks without significant oversight or scrutiny, Jody Allen and Vulcan Inc. have decided that he has. Which means that, if/when Wilson will be traded, it will happen only if Carroll decides that it’s the right thing to do.
Thus, the challenge for Wilson, his agent, and/or any of the four teams to which Wilson will accept a trade becomes getting Carroll to decide that it’s the right thing to do, and the right time to do it. If Wilson doesn’t want to be there and if his public comments from 19 days ago to Dan Patrick are a sign of open discontent to come, Carroll eventually may decide that it makes much more sense to accept multiple draft picks and/or players and to move forward with someone else at quarterback.
Ultimately, it’s a decision that Carroll, and presumably Carroll alone, will make.