When Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said 16 days ago that the team had “no intention” to trade quarterback Russell Wilson, we interpreted it as a truthful reflection of the organizational mindset. Put simply, they didn’t plan to trade him, but their plans could be changed by an offer they couldn’t or wouldn’t refuse.
It’s now clear that the comment was less truthful than it appeared. Indeed, while Carroll said that the team has “no intention” to trade Wilson, the team was deep in negotiations with the Broncos.
“The fact that this did not leak — we had a month of negotiations between [General Manager] John [Schneider] and I and it didn’t leak. It’s a credit to John and a credit to the Seahawks, the Broncos, and Russ and his team,” Broncos G.M. George Paton said Wednesday.
So how did it all start? Who made the first move? Per a league source, the Seahawks initiated the communications with the Broncos.
While it’s theoretically possible to harmonize Seattle making the first move with the stream of statements indicating that Wilson wanted out, the fact that the Seahawks called the Broncos suggests that, even if Wilson wanted out, the Seahawks weren’t trying to convince him to stick around for another year.
“Another year” was the key. The Seahawks were a year away from Wilson and agent Mark Rodgers seeking another market-value contract. The Seahawks were a year away from strongly resisting it. The Seahawks knew that, if they traded Wilson at a time when he expected a huge new contract, the Seahawks would have gotten less for him than they got now.
So it wasn’t about Wilson wanting out. It was about both sides reading the room and realizing that they both benefit from moving on now. It was mutual.
Whether the team or Wilson had the first inkling, the dysfunction was rooted in the fact that the Seahawks never used Wilson the way he wanted to be used. The offense never ran through him. The offense was never built around him. They kept paying him like a franchise quarterback but not playing him like one.
Something had to give. It would have given next year. It gave now. Wilson wanted it. The team wanted it. And, when the time came to commence the process of moving on, they didn’t wait for the phone to ring. They called the Broncos.