The Seahawks’ interest in Colin Kaepernick has as much to do with the team’s locker-room dynamic as it does with its need for a veteran backup quarterback, according to Bleacher Report writer Jason Cole.
Cole told “Bob, Groz and Tom” on Wednesday that, according to sources, several Seahawks resent the treatment given to Russell Wilson. Cole reported this week that head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider are aware that several Seahawks players are resentful of favoritism shown within the organization to Wilson over the past few years. He said some of that distaste is rooted in how the Seahawks have evolved since Wilson’s rookie season in 2012, when the team was led by its defense.
“Certainly for the past four or five years, the identity of the Seahawks was made on defense and I think some of those guys on that side of the ball are a little resentful of the kind of power that Russell has,” Cole said. “I don’t think it’s anything inordinate for a quarterback; I think it’s just different for this team.”
710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard and Tom Wassell said Cole’s report will only be the start of stories about about issues in the Seahawks’ locker room as at least one other national writer has been digging around the team in the wake of the Richard Sherman trade talks earlier this offseason.
Huard, who backed up Peyton Manning for two seasons in Indianapolis, said he is not surprised by Cole’s report.
“Welcome to the world of having an elite franchise quarterback who makes $20 million a year, who is married to Ciara, who has a huge profile, that has lots of attention, that gets an incredible amount of credit, and on a team that is built to play defense and run the ball,” Huard said, “where much of the ego, much of the money is spent on that side of the ball. Welcome to this level of friction – that I do think is friction, and I do not think it is uncommon.”
Huard said there is undoubtedly resentment with other franchise quarterbacks around the league, including Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees. And it is especially natural for defensive players to feel that way, Huard said, given that they typically have shorter windows to cash in with lucrative contracts compared to quarterbacks.
“Their time is near and Father Time beats all of them, in this generation of football,” Huard said. “But you know what happens to Russell Wilson? He gets another deal of $150 million and he’s gonna continue to move on and keep playing and I can’t believe, and I will not believe, that there is not some level of some resentment from their side knowing that.”
Huard added: “You’ve got a bunch of Muhammad Alis on this team, that ‘I am the greatest and I’m gonna let you know about it and I don’t care.’ And how many of those guys are there? How many Michael Bennetts are there out there around the league?”
Wassell used a musical analogy to describe the difficulty in multiple people thinking they’re the star.
“You need a drummer, you need a bass player, you need a guitar player, keys, whatever,” he said. “Not everybody can be the lead singer. That’s just the way it is.”
Huard said the NFL’s most dominant defenses – the mid-80s Bears and Ray Lewis’ Ravens, for instance – all had “game-manager” type quarterbacks, which Wilson is not. They also didn’t last.
“They are known as one-hit wonders,” Wassell said. “The best of all time, yes, but one-hit wonders. The Seahawks, if they are going to be remembered as more than that through this decade, it’s going to be because Russell Wilson got them back there and then they delivered. It’s about everybody coming together. Look, the general doesn’t go out there and kill everybody himself, but he does lead the way.”
Matt Hasselbeck weighs in
Huard said the R-word at issue with Wilson is not resentment, but more about relatability. Huard points to former Seahawks starter Matt Hasselbeck, whom he considers one of the most down-to-earth quarterbacks, as an example of a star in the locker room.
Hasselbeck spoke with “Brock and Salk” Thursday. He said he was a bit skeptical of the “resentful” talk and said he was surprised at the Sherman trade talks, mainly because of the cornerback’s importance to Seattle’s defense.
“A lot of times you’ll have glue guys, guys who hold the team together and don’t get a lot of credit, but they’re rarely also one of your best players, and that’s what he is,” Hasselbeck said of Sherman. “I don’t know if it’s resentful but I do believe that people easily forget how good that secondary is. That secondary is special, that pass-rush is special. I think you can have a great offense and a great defense, though. You don’t have to have one or the other.”
Hasselbeck said defining the roles and culture ultimately falls on the shoulders of the coach.
“I think Pete does as good a job as any coach I’ve ever been around of clearly defining how we’re going to win a game: special teams, offense and defense,” he said. “I think the Seahawks are in great shape. People are going to try to divide that team because they’ve been successful, and speculate, but I really do think they’re going to be OK.”