Is Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson getting the respect he deserves?
Russell Wilson is headed to the Hall of Fame.
But first, is he headed out of Seattle?
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is a 7-time Pro Bowler and led Seattle to a Super Bowl title in 2014. He holds the record for most wins by an NFL quarterback through their first seven seasons (75) and is one of two quarterbacks in NFL history with a career passer rating over 100 (101.2) – the other is Aaron Rodgers (102.4).
Behind his arm, the Seahawks have never endured a losing season, and in seven of his eight seasons as starter, Seattle has won at least 10 games, making it to the playoffs seven times. Only the New England Patriots (16) have more playoff victories than the Seahawks (10) since 2010.
On Monday, Pro Football Focus named Wilson the 33rd best player of the last decade.
— PFF (@PFF) May 13, 2020
On top of all that, Wilson has never missed a start over the course of his career.
Still, despite his success and durability, the Seattle quarterback room has been a hot topic in the NFL world this week, including a report that in 2018, the Seahawks attempted to trade Wilson to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, according to NBC Sports’ Chris Simms.
NFL reporter Mike Florio reports:
“Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Browns contend that the idea was “floated” conceptually, but that the discussion did indeed happen. At the time, the Seahawks were staring at another extension for Wilson, one that would result a year later in a contract with a new-money value of $35 million per year. And the placement of a no-trade clause in the latest contract was indeed influenced by chatter regarding the potential trade to Cleveland, we’re told.”
Yes, the Seahawks talked to the Browns about a Russell Wilson trade in 2018; will Wilson eventually be traded to a new team? (Don't be shocked if he is.) https://t.co/gB1MdeHVC2
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) May 14, 2020
In 2018, the Browns were searching for their franchise QB, and with the first pick, selected their now-QB1, Baker Mayfield. Meanwhile, the Seahawks were coming off their first season missing the playoffs in six years, the only time Seattle missed the postseason with Wilson as their starter.
Even though the proposed trade was two summers ago, the revelation was still shocking.
Then, rumors began to surface that Seattle was considering bringing in free agent quarterback Cam Newton, the NFL’s MVP from 2015 who was released by the Carolina Panthers in March.
Said NFL insider Jeremy Fowler:
“One, I know some people there would certainly welcome him and love to have a guy like Cam Newton in their quarterback room. Also, in that play-action offense, he would be perfectly tailored for that as an athletic quarterback. They could even have some fun if they wanted to get him involved in the offense in a different type of look.”
— 710 ESPN Seattle (@710ESPNSeattle) May 14, 2020
However, it was reported later on Thursday that Geno Smith signed a 1-year deal with the Seahawks, essentially squashing any chance of Newton being Wilson’s backup or his dual-quarterback partner in Seattle.
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) May 14, 2020
Still, there seems to be an inkling that in recent years, the Seahawks have had some concerns regarding Wilson under center.
Why would they look to trade him for a rookie quarterback in 2018, assuming they would have used the top pick on a QB? Why entertain bringing in Cam Newton when Wilson has made the Pro Bowl each of the last three seasons?
In regards to the trade, Nick Wright argues that it would have been a positive outcome – for Wilson.
He contends that Wilson is not appreciated enough in Seattle.
“They act as if they don’t have a great quarterback. They act as if passing the football is only something they should do under only the most dire of circumstances – it’s why they lost in the playoffs two years ago. It’s why they lost a handful of games last year. They act as if their quarterback is just a cog in the wheel, instead of just the entire damn engine, and so I would have been happy for Russ.”
"Seattle paid for a Lamborghini & then never wants to take it out of the garage. I would've been happy for Russell Wilson if he would've gone somewhere where that would've used him like who he is, which the 2nd best QB in football." — @getnickwright pic.twitter.com/SwL26cCcJm
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) May 13, 2020
Yahoo Sports’ Frank Schwab said that the potential trade made both the Browns and Seahawks look foolish, but the bigger point is that Seattle has never bought into their superstar quarterback’s abilities on the field.
“Seattle has approached having Wilson in a strange way. The Seahawks’ team-building focuses on defense and the running game, and not necessarily highlighting the talents of a magical quarterback. That they even reportedly had a discussion of trading him before he turned 30 is mind-blowing. Wilson has been great the past two seasons, overcoming a lot of obstacles within his organization to consistently be one of the NFL’s best.”
As we all know now, Cleveland passed on the deal. But, that doesn’t mean the Seahawks aren’t still toying with the idea of shopping their signal caller.
At the end of the 2019 season, Wilson signed a four-year, $140 million contract extension with the Seahawks, making him the highest paid player in the NFL.
— Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) April 16, 2019
In his first year after signing the massive deal, Wilson led Seattle to an 11-5 record, finishing with 4,110 passing yards, 31 passing touchdowns, and only 5 interceptions. He also racked up 75 carries for 342 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns.
Despite his gaudy numbers, Florio expanded on the idea of a trade involving Wilson, namely based on the financial numbers:
“… Some who are close enough to the situation to know what may happen believe that Wilson eventually will be traded. Intriguing potential destinations would include, in our view, the Cowboys, Raiders, and Saints.
“In 2021, the Seahawks would absorb a $39 million cap charge by trading Wilson, $7 million more than his $32 million cap number if he’s on the team. (He’s due to earn $19 million in 2021.) By 2022, the cap charge falls to $26 million, $11 million less than the cap charge if he’s still on the team. In 2023, the last year of his current deal, Wilson has a $39 million cap number and a $13 million cap charge if traded.”
LA Times’ Bill Plaschke believes that trading Wilson would actually be a good option for the Seahawks in the coming seasons, considering Wilson’s rich contract and the amount of hits he takes during the season putting his health in jeopardy.
“Yes, he hasn’t missed a game, but do you know how many times he was sacked last year? 48. That’s tied for the league lead. He gets hit a lot. The clock is ticking. He’s a great quarterback but in two years, they will save $11 million in cap space if they trade him.”
Wilson, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray were all sacked 48 times last season. In 2018, Wilson was sacked 51 times and in 2017, he was sacked 43 times.
Regardless, Wilson has proven that he is durable and can lead a team to the Super Bowl, which makes the trade reports and the Newton free agency rumors both head-scratchers.
Sports Illustrated’s Corbin Smith wrote that the Seahawks could have been considering using Newton in a “Taysom-Hill type role,” which he says would have made sense considering Wilson needs to be more of a pocket-passer at this point in his career.
He also believes that Newton could have kept the boat afloat were Wilson ever to sustain an injury.
“In eight prior seasons, Wilson hasn’t missed a single game and aside from a brief exit in a game against the 49ers in 2016 with a knee sprain, he’s never missed a meaningful snap for the Seahawks. Due to his remarkable durability, Seattle ranks among the least desirable backup gigs in the league if you’re aiming to play.
“But on the flip side, Newton’s arrival could push Wilson and if the six-time Pro Bowler were to suffer an injury, he’d be the perfect replacement to keep the Seahawks afloat. The playbook wouldn’t have to be modified.”
With iron man Russell Wilson under center, the #Seahawks won't invest significant money into a backup quarterback.
Still, with Cam Newton remaining unsigned into May, the organization is open to signing the former MVP at the right price.https://t.co/8mZIF9v1Nq
— Corbin Smith (@CorbinSmithNFL) May 13, 2020
Even if Newton would have been a fit in Seattle, Colin Cowherd was blown away by the fact that Seattle would entertain the idea of adding a second star QB.
“I saw this story this morning that makes no sense. Of all the teams in the league, guess where the Cam Newton rumors are? Not a bad team that could use his dynamic flair and athleticism. Not a team who doesn’t really know who their quarterback is. Not a team who has a quarterback who needs to get pushed. Nope, here’s the latest: The Seattle Seahawks would be open to adding Cam Newton.”
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) May 13, 2020
In addition, Cowherd aired his grievances about not only the Cam rumors but the trade reports from the day before as well, saying Wilson isn’t getting the respect he deserves in Seattle.
“In the last two days, two stories: we wanted to trade Russell and why not bring in Cam. Absolute nonsense that Russell Wilson once again has to deal with this crap.”
Cowherd might be onto something, considering this nugget of truth:
SOUNDS IMPOSSIBLE BUT IT'S TRUE
Russell Wilson has NEVER received a MVP vote
Seahawks Under Russell Wilson
Win Pct% .676 2nd
10+ Win Seasons 7 2nd
Playoff Wins 9 2nd pic.twitter.com/tTgI0wNGU5
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) May 14, 2020
It seems Wilson is indeed a little undervalued, but at least he’s not underpaid. He will enter the 2020 season as the NFL’s highest-paid player once again, assuming the Dallas Cowboys don’t break the bank in paying their quarterback Dak Prescott.
We’ll see what Russ can put together on the field this year. We’ve rarely seen him let Seattle down before.