Cliff Avril: Neither Seahawks nor Russell Wilson want to ‘end the marriage’
Whether or not the Seahawks decide to trade star quarterback Russell Wilson has been the top NFL storyline of this offseason as we’re set to enter free agency in just a few days. But according to one of Wilson’s former teammates, this story has gotten out of hand for a number of reasons.
That former teammate is Cliff Avril, who starred as a defensive end for the Seahawks from 2013 to 2017. He joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Wyman and Bob on Friday and said that he’s scratching his head when it comes to consistent trade rumors because it all stems from Wilson’s interview with The Dan Patrick Show right after the Super Bowl, which was over a month ago.
During that interview, Wilson voiced some displeasure at being hit and sacked as many times as he has been since entering the NFL in 2012.
Since then? Wilson, his camp and also the Seahawks have been pretty quiet.
“He hasn’t said anything, the Seahawks haven’t really said anything either,” Avril said. “And then when you listen to the actual interview, all the extra stuff that came about in the last month, it’s not like he’s putting more information out there.”
Avril called this time of year between the end of the NFL season and the start of free agency the “dead period.” Since we’re still in that period of time, the conversation about the Seahawks potentially trading Wilson keeps getting repeated even if nothing may come of it.
“The dead period, you have to find things to talk about, and I feel like that’s exactly what this is,” he said. “It’s we don’t have much to talk about, so we’re going to dive too deep into what he said … but for the most part, he didn’t say much. I don’t feel like he said much for it to have this reaction.”
Avril thinks Wilson’s comments regarding the pass protection were said “in a way where people can run with it,” and his perspective is that Wilson was simply asking for more help, rather than trying to get out of Seattle. Avril also said Wilson takes blame for some sacks because of his play style, but that those sacks come with the territory as Wilson regularly extends plays and finds huge gains down the field.
“He has been sacked quite a few times, but I think it was more of ‘I just need some help up front. I’m not saying the guys I have up front aren’t good enough, but (Mike) Iupati isn’t coming back and you’re losing pieces left and right, so can we get some consistency maybe up front?'” Avril said. “… Duane Brown has been the staple for the last few years, but who else? I think that’s more of (what the conversation is).”
It’s been speculated that some of Wilson’s teammates, especially on the offensive line, may have taken issue with what he said and how he’s gone about this offseason, but Avril said that can quickly be taken care of.
“Now, as a teammate, as somebody who would have been in the locker room with him, I would have a conversation with him trying to understand like, ‘Hey, it kind of sounds like you threw me under the bus, what’s up with that?'” Avril said. “He has to explain that. But besides that, anything else that he said in that interview, I don’t disagree with anything else he said.”
And regarding both Wilson and the Seahawks being quiet this offseason, Avril isn’t surprised by that at all.
“I think their whole thing of why they’re not saying anything is I don’t think (either side thought) it was going to be as big of a deal as it (has become),” he said. “And it’s kind of one of those things where if you don’t speak on it, it will die down. And I really do believe that. I don’t think either side wants to (end) the marriage, right? I don’t think Russell Wilson is going anywhere this year, I don’t think he’s going anywhere the next couple years if I’m being honest with you.”
If the Seahawks were to trade Wilson, they’d either have to hope to find a suitable replacement in a trade, in free agency or in the draft. When it comes to the draft, Avril said it’s tough to find a franchise quarterback, and the Seahawks were lucky to get Wilson in the third round in 2012.
“You don’t find Russell Wilsons in the draft that easy,” Avril said. “… We’ve seen busts in the draft every year for the last few years at the quarterback position, so why would you just let this guy walk out of the door and go gamble on someone coming out of college? It doesn’t make sense. He’s the winningest quarterback in franchise history. How do you let that go?”
Another element to Wilson’s reported displeasure with the Seahawks is head coach Pete Carroll. It’s been reported that Wilson disagrees with Carroll’s idea of how to run and operate a team, specifically an offense. That has, of course, led some fans and analysts to say the Seahawks should side with Wilson and get rid of Carroll because he’s outdated or “too old.” Avril isn’t buying any of that.
“One thing we know about coaches is they are stuck in their ways in how they approach (the game), especially when they’ve had success. And again, (this is) another guy who’s won a lot of football games since he’s been here in Seattle as the head coach, so he’s going to be who he is from that standpoint and you’re not going to change up (who he is),” Avril said.
Avril called Wilson “the one consistent piece” when it comes to the success Carroll has had with the Seahawks, as many star players have come and gone while Wilson has remained under center. He thinks that relationship will continue going forward.
“I think they both go hand in hand and make each other great,” Avril said. “I don’t think letting coach Carroll go and then bringing some other coach in necessarily solves anything (because) that coach has to live up to coach Carroll, and that’s not fair to that coach.”
Listen to the full conversation at this link or in the player below.