Three suggestions for Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks
By Martin Rogers
FOX Sports Columnist
In Seattle Seahawks news, the franchise has re-signed running back Alex Collins, who spent time on the active roster and the practice squad last season. Linebacker K.J. Wright was named the city of Seattle’s Male Sports Star of the Year. And the team made three additions to the coaching staff for 2021.
Oh, yeah, there is something going on with Russell Wilson.
Fine, I’m being facetious here because, as we all know, there is only one story in Seattle, and it’s the one that happens to be the biggest current talking point in the National Football League.
Wilson and his dissatisfaction with various factors – coupled with the possibility that he might seek to leave Seattle – are the talk of the town.
Whenever situations such as this arise, there are nuances and intricacies, but in most cases of dispute, the leverage favors the party with the greater number of options.
In this instance, that’s Wilson.
After a mini media flurry that began with an interview Wilson gave Dan Patrick just after the Super Bowl and continued with reports of his unhappiness last week, the narrative is in full flow now. It’s a bigger story than Deshaun Watson’s tiring of Houston, arguably a bigger one than Aaron Rodgers’ annoyance a year ago and certainly juicier than anything else you were diving into to pass the offseason time.
It is boiling down to an arm-wrestling match that could have multiple outcomes. It isn't much fun for Seattle’s still-silent front office, but it is entertaining as heck for everyone else.
The first option is that Wilson stays and is appeased by being given more influence and input into how the Seattle offense is run and extra license to get creative in the QB kitchen.
"Let Russ Cook" was the war cry for much of the past season, a concept embraced initially by head coach Pete Carroll but then largely rejected after a spate of interceptions by the QB contributed to the crumbling of the team’s outstanding start.
Wilson, according to The Athletic, was so frustrated when he felt his concerns were not heeded that he stormed out of a meeting with Seahawks coaches ahead of a Thursday night matchup with the Arizona Cardinals.
"[Carroll and Wilson] have got to talk to each other," former All-Pro Brandon Marshall said on "First Things First." "I don’t understand why they can’t work this out. If Russell Wilson is telling you [he is] growing and maturing and wants to start airing this out, listen to him. Go down with Russell Wilson."
If Seattle decides to not go down the path of giving some ground, things could start to get seriously messy. If the Seahawks don’t want to let Russ cook the whole time, they probably have to consider letting him fire up the grill on a fairly regular basis.
Because the second option is that Wilson remains a Seahawk, but nothing much changes in the system. That outcome is the most unpredictable one, but an unsettled Wilson playing in a tactical methodology he doesn’t like doesn’t hold a lot of appeal for Seattle fans, whose booming hopes for the past campaign gradually dwindled until another unsatisfactory ending with a home playoff defeat to the Los Angeles Rams.
Since Wilson was drafted in 2012, the Seahawks have won one Super Bowl and should have won another. But they haven’t reached the NFC Championship since the 2014 season, and if this is as good as it gets, there would be a sense that the organization wasted the era of the best quarterback in franchise history.
The final choice is a trade, the prospect of which will keep the NFL rumor mill ticking until it is resolved, one way or another.
In regard to any move, Wilson holds the cards there, too. He has a no-trade clause that would allow him to veto any franchise he doesn’t wish to be paired with.
According to Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, the player has not requested a trade but would agree to be moved to one of only four teams: the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Las Vegas Raiders and Chicago Bears.
That’s a hardball power play right there. It's not to everyone’s taste, sure, but it's a clear signal that Wilson isn't messing around with his wish for a new way of doing things.
"I thought it was really bad form for Russell Wilson and his agent to put four teams out there, two of which have an incumbent QB," FOX Sports’ Skip Bayless said on "Undisputed." "It was out of bounds. It looked bad."
It might have looked bad, but it turned up the heat on Seattle and got the NFL world thinking seriously about what it might look like if Wilson were no longer with the Seahawks.
As for the potential trade partners, the Saints have brutal salary-cap issues that hamstrings them, even with Drew Brees yet to formally announce his retirement. Anything involving the Raiders would likely feature a Derek Carr swap, yet Las Vegas has some cap troubles also. Whether the Bears could summon enough personnel and draft capital to tempt Seattle remains highly doubtful.
That leaves the Cowboys, the most fun discussion point of the four, if only because that trade would be an absolute blockbuster if it did take place. It might not be realistic, but it’s juicy beyond belief to even think about. Would Wilson be given the chance to "cook" in Dallas? Yeah, that’s kind of how the Cowboys do things.
It’s all just talk for now, and so the saga continues. Wilson has made his stance clear, and he is undoubtedly one of the elite QBs in the sport. At the same time, Carroll, having presided over eight 10-win seasons in nine years, has reason to believe his way is beyond reproach, too.
There are plenty of options, plenty of possibilities, yet only one answer offers a quick and easy solution.
Wilson wants to cook. Carroll doesn’t really want to let him. Compared to the alternatives, he might be left with no choice.
Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and the author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.