Brock and Salk: The 5 pressing questions about Russell Wilson and the Seahawks
Feb 21, 2021, 10:41 AM
We’re roughly two weeks removed from the end of the 2020 NFL season, but there’s been no down time when it comes to news about the Seahawks.
That’s largely due to the recent actions of the team’s best player.
A day after it was reported that the Seahawks had received calls about star quarterback Russell Wilson’s availability via trade – Seattle reportedly said he was not available – CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported that Wilson and his camp are upset with the amount of times he’s been hit since entering the NFL in 2012 and feel that the Seahawks haven’t done a good enough job protecting him.
The next day, Wilson both went on The Dan Patrick Show and had a virtual press conference, the latter of which was held mainly to discuss him winning the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. During both interviews, Wilson confirmed that he’s frustrated with how much he’s been hit in his career.
The comments are seen as out of character for Wilson, who typically gives fairly scripted answers that don’t offer a whole lot of substance, and that of course caused a mountain of speculation including whether he wants a trade and regarding his relationship his teammates and coaches.
The ongoing drama surrounding Wilson and the Seahawks was the main topic in the latest Brock and Salk Podcast from 710 ESPN Seattle. Mike Salk offered five questions about the situation and he and Brock Huard shared their answers.
Here’s a look at what the duo had to say.
Question 1: How serious is this issue?
Salk said that one of the biggest surprises with Wilson’s situation is that most people have not tried to frame it as a “media creation” like they have with other dramas surrounding the Seahawks in the past. And because it’s not a “media creation,” Salk said it’s a “very serious” situation.
“This is not an offseason soap opera, this is not contrived by the media, this is Russ and his people going on a very public campaign,” he said. “And this is new for Russ because he’s had plenty of opportunity to go public in the past.”
Huard noted that last offseason, Wilson “dipped his toe” into being more vocal with a comment about the Seahawks needing to add more superstars. While that comment came across as positive, it was also “slightly authoritative.”
In regards to these latest comments and reports, Huard explained how serious a situation seems can differ from person to person.
“From (general manager) John Schneider and (head coach) Pete Carroll’s camp, how serious? I think right now they’re probably in mockery mode,” Huard said. “… I think Pete’s probably a little warm. Maybe it’s registering just a little bit. How serious from Russell’s camp? Pretty darn serious, I’m with you.”
Salk, though, thinks Schneider is the one who is most upset about what’s going on with Wilson.
“This is in many ways (taking a shot at Schneider),” Salk said. “‘Why don’t I have better offensive line help?’ Well, who’s been choosing the offensive line?”
Salk added that he’s “upset with Russ” even though his comments are technically correct, while Huard said no one he’s talked to has taken Wilson’s side.
“I don’t think I’ve had anybody think ‘good for Russ,'” he said. “… I think almost every radio host or media member I’ve talked to (publicly or privately) is like, ‘What is he doing? This is so off-brand and off-putting.'”
The duo each thought Wilson didn’t sound comfortable going public with his thoughts like he did, and that Wilson and his camp must have thought his comments were going to be received better by fans and media members.
Question 2: Would the Seahawks trade Wilson?
Huard said early last week that there’s no chance the Seahawks trade Wilson. During the Brock and Salk Podcast, Salk agreed.
“It is a no. A hard no. I can imagine only very, very few trade offers that would even be entertained, and they wouldn’t be offered,” he said.
Salk said that the only way the conversation even gets remotely started is if the Jacksonville Jaguars offered the No. 1 pick because Seattle could get an elite talent in Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who would be much cheaper than Wilson. Even then, Salk says Jacksonville would need to send over even more picks.
Question 3: If Wilson stays, what’s next for the Seahawks?
With both Salk and Huard thinking Wilson remains with the Seahawks, what’s next? Salk thinks that the Seahawks – not Wilson – have three things they must do as an organization. The first is to reach out and make peace.
“They should defuse this publicly, make peace behind the scenes,” he said. “If trading isn’t an option – which it’s not – you’re going to have to live together, so that means deescalating the situation, swallowing pride even though they did not start this, and letting Russ feel like he’s won.”
The second thing is taking care of contracts for safety Jamal Adams and linebacker Bobby Wagner so the team can free up money going forward.
And thirdly, Salk thinks the Seahawks need to understand that Wilson, even though he may be going about this the wrong way, is correct.
“He’s being a pain about it, I don’t like the way he’s going about it, but he’s right,” he said. “… You haven’t protected him well enough, you’ve had issues running the ball, (and those issues) all start on the offensive line. Get on it. Stop spending money on three (cheaper players who aren’t great) and go out and get yourself a great right tackle to go with your great left tackle (Duane Brown).”
Salk also said that the argument that Wilson is responsible for some sacks shows the team needs to get better up front going forward.
“Understand that this far into his career that’s probably not going to change, and if anything it’s going to get worse as he slows down, so help him,” he said.
Huard said that the Seahawks will deescalate the situation in the near future and that one of Carroll’s greatest strengths is the ability to defuse situations, find common ground and build bridges. But as far as the team admitting that it’s wrong, the Seahawks have already done that this offseason.
“They moved (offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer) out for philosophical reasons. And now they brought (Shane Waldron in as offensive coordinator) andby all accounts, he was the guy that Russ wanted and brings a scheme that makes the job easier on the guys up front. And they hired an assistant O-line coach (Andy Dickerson to be the running game coordinator), and he is going to help implement that system to make that job a little bit easier for guys up front,” Huard said. “They made that move. And even after that move was made, now Russ is going to take these shots. So didn’t they in some ways admit they were wrong?”
Question 4: Can Wilson and Carroll still work together?
Both Salk and Huard believe that Wilson and Carroll can make their relationship work going forward, and that’s largely because of the head coach.
“Pete’s a genius at this,” Salk said. “They can continue to work together. Pete will speak to the media, he’ll calm down the noise.”
Huard said that Carroll is someone who doesn’t mind some “colorful friction” from his players and that the situation isn’t too big for him. The issue isn’t Wilson and Carroll, Huard said, but Wilson and the front office.
“I think it’s going to be harder for Russ and John Schneider. I think it’s going to be harder for Russ and some of the management and the scouting department,” he said, adding that offensive line is another place Wilson will have to work to restore that relationship. “I think Pete in some ways is the easiest of any of those scenarios.”
And with that “colorful friction” hanging in the air, Huard thinks Carroll is excited to get back to work.
“I think Pete’s kind of anxious to get back and mend this,” he said.
Salk thinks the two sides can work together for at least a few years but noted that many relationships have a shelf life. He thinks the countdown clock for a Wilson-Carroll split didn’t occur this offseason, though, but rather during negotiations for Wilson’s last extension ahead of the 2019 season.
Question 5: Are there enough checks and balances on Carroll?
FOX Sports’ Colin Cowherd, who grew up in Washington state and is well connected when it comes to the Seahawks, said on his show recently that he’s talked to people around the league who believe Seattle’s offense is outdated, including former Seahawks players. He added that Wilson is fine with everyone in the organization aside from Carroll and that since owner Paul Allen passed away in 2019, Carroll has had too much power.
Huard believes Allen did help with checks and balances with Carroll because he pushed him to be better and was someone who always wanted to learn about the ins and outs of a team and know why things were happening. But Cowherd’s assessment of Carroll having too much power isn’t what Huard sees.
“I do think there’s a bit of a void there,” Huard said of Allen’s passing. “Do I think all of a sudden Pete Carroll has run rampant and is a tyrant and is (all powerful) and pushing everybody around? No, because I think John Schneider is some of those checks and balances.”
“I think there is something to this about there not being a lot of checks and balances on Pete right now,” Salk said, but he stopped short of calling Carroll a “control freak.”
You can hear the full conversation in the latest Brock and Salk Podcast at this link or in the player below.