Wassell: Are the Seahawks angling for life without Russell Wilson?
Russell Wilson is going to be a Seahawk for life, right? Star quarterbacks don’t typically change teams right in the middle of their prime. Why? Because no matter how much this franchise prides itself on bucking conventional wisdom, trading the one thing that every team would kill to find is an act of lunacy.
Sports Illustated’s Jim Trotter said Thursday on the NFL Network that Seahawks general manager John Schneider had gone to scout Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen at his pro day and that Russell Wilson’s camp expressed concern to the team about the quarterback’s future in Seattle.
Put aside the logistics of what it would take to get Allen here for a second. I’m more interested in how the two parties – the Seahawks and Wilson – feel about one another. In any business relationship there’s going to be tension, and that tension may tighten or loosen depending on the day. It takes both sides doing their jobs to make something work. But the question as to how much credit everyone should take for the shared success is the one that often fractures these relationships beyond repair.
Do I think the Seahawks and Russell Wilson have a fractured relationship? No. But right now is a critical point for each of them that could determine success or failure depending on how things play out, and feelings could get hurt along the way.
The Seahawks are rebuilding – or reloading or whatever – presumably for the next several years. I’ve always thought that the reload would have Russell Wilson at the center of the plan. Not that they’d necessarily make every move with the idea that it augments Russell specifically, but in the end, his play would determine their success or failure. Does that plan overvalue Wilson? That depends on how you rank him against his peers.
I have him as the seventh-best QB in the game behind Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers – and as time goes on, he’s better than all except for Rodgers.
If I’m Russell’s camp, I’m trying to play up the idea that within three years, he’s a top three QB in the league. How can you trade that away? In addition to the fact that he’s a great ambassador for the team, the city of Seattle and the NFL, he’s still the Seahawks’ best chance at another Super Bowl.
Your employer can always try to convince you that there’s someone else out there that’s better than you – and cheaper. They may even try to go so far as to tell you that you’re lucky to be where you are. The reality is that finding the next Russell Wilson is a lot harder than paying for the Russell Wilson that the Seahawks already have. The team knows this, but they’ll still take every measure they can to save money. And who can blame them? That’s what businesses do.
It’s also possible that they just think that a top five quarterback isn’t essential to what they’re doing. Many believe that the 2013 team could have won the Super Bowl without Russell Wilson there at all. They constructed an impenetrable defense with Marshawn Lynch carrying the ball, rendering the quarterback nothing more than a figurehead. I don’t agree with this theory, but there is at least some evidence to support it.
So is there anything to Schneider scouting another QB? There are plenty of possibilities, including protecting themselves against an injury to Wilson. That’s not what Allen is for, though. That’s what Colin Kaepernick would be for (sorry, I had to sneak that in there).
The Seahawks have a few options here.
• 1. Trade Wilson and draft a QB, freeing up money that they can spend on other positions. Basically, do what the Rams are doing.
• 2. Pay Wilson and hope that your current and future players materialize into something special.
• 3. Get into a Kirk Cousins situation where they have to franchise tag him a handful of times, which isn’t really beneficial to either side in the long term.
It’s important to note that No. 2 has already happened once before. If the Seahawks had already reloaded like they’d hoped and won another Super Bowl, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
Now we’re talking about altering the plan to not include the best player in the history of the franchise – while he’s in his prime. I don’t buy it.