Nine years ago, then-Vikings G.M. Rick Spielman proclaimed at the Scouting Combine that the team had “no intent” to trade Percy Harvin. Within days, Harvin was gone.
Coincidentally, or not, Harvin was traded to Seattle. Coincidentally, or not, Seattle coach Pete Carroll used the same words when talking about the possibility of trading quarterback Russell Wilson.
Speaking at the Scouting Combine, Carroll told reporters as to Wilson, “We have no intention of making any move there.” If Wilson were untouchable, Carroll would have used broader language. By saying “no intention,” Carroll necessarily implied that intentions could change. That someone could make them an offer they wouldn’t refuse.
Obviously, Wilson could refuse it; he has a no-trade clause. But with the Seahawks surely realizing that they’re one year away from the next effort by Wilson to get a new contract (Wilson also pushes for a new deal with one year left on his current one), the Seahawks have to decide whether to move him now, or whether to kick the can.
Could they get more now? Probably. Next year, whoever trades for him would have to sign him to a new deal. A 2022 trade possibly would (or could) be accomplished without a long-term extension. The more a team has to pay the player as he walks through the door, the less the team will be inclined to give up in order to get him from his current team.
Wilson has done nothing to agitate for a trade in 2022. Last year, he spoke openly about his concerns with the team, and his agent eventually published an unprecedented statement that listed four teams to which Wilson would accept a trade — the Bears, Cowboys, Raiders, and Saints. The decks for those teams have been reshuffled since then, and Wilson may have a new list of franchises for which he’d waive the ability to veto a trade.
Still, none of it matters unless and until a team calls the Seahawks and makes an offer. Carroll’s use of the phrase “no intention” invites an interested team to try to change Seattle’s intention. Indeed, the Seahawks never said “no intention” in 2021; eventually, Carroll flat-out commented that Wilson “wasn’t getting traded.”
The difference is subtle, but significant. To best understand it, consider what the Bengals would say if someone asks whether they’ll trade quarterback Joe Burrow. No one from the team would say “we have no intention to trade him.” Instead, they’d laugh at the mere asking of the question.
Carroll didn’t laugh on Wednesday. The door is open to make an offer. With the right offer — from the right team — Wilson could indeed be on the move.