NFL insider Daniel Jeremiah: Seahawks and Russell Wilson are in a ‘short-term marriage’
After a rather strange offseason, quarterback Russell Wilson reported to the Seahawks for organized team activities this week.
What was strange about Wilson’s offseason was that early on, he voiced displeasure with his pass protection, specifically how often he has been sacked or hit throughout his career with Seattle. That prompted trade speculation almost immediately, and rumors really picked up steam once Wilson’s agent Mark Rodgers provided ESPN with a list of four teams that Wilson would OK a trade to despite him not actively seeking to be dealt.
Eventually, the trade speculation died down as Wilson and the Seahawks went quiet, and head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider made it clear in a press conference after the NFL Draft that they felt the story was blown out of proportion. They said that the Seahawks and Wilson are on good terms heading into the 2021 season and that the two sides are committed to each other for the long haul.
While that’s the picture the Seahawks are trying to paint, one NFL insider believes that we could be seeing the last of Wilson in a Seattle uniform.
That would be Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network, who joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk Podcast to discuss the Seahawks’ offseason and Wilson’s future.
Jeremiah said when Wilson made his comments about the pass protection, he thought it could be awkward for him to return to the team and face his teammates. But when Wilson’s agent gave out a list of teams that the quarterback would be comfortable being traded to, that was a much bigger deal. Luckily for Wilson and the Seahawks, though, there was an even larger quarterback drama brewing in Green Bay.
“If the Aaron Rodgers thing doesn’t happen, this is what drives the whole summer and we’d be talking about this nationally every day,” Jeremiah said of Wilson’s relationship with the Seahawks. “… It’s a huge story.”
In regards to Wilson’s comments on pass protection, Jeremiah said that every offensive line group in the NFL has a group text, including Seattle’s.
“I guarantee you that was a popular topic of conversation on the Seattle Seahawks’ offensive line group text,” he said, adding that the level of “friendship” or “closeness” between Wilson and members of the O-line is likely limited because he threw them under the bus publicly.
So with Wilson’s comments still hanging in the air, what does his future in Seattle look like?
“This feels like Russell Wilson and the Seahawks are going to take like a two-year mission trip together and they’re going to hang out for the next two years and after that they’re just going to kind of go, ‘We’ll go our way, you go your way, but let’s just try to make this thing work for a couple years,'” Jeremiah said.
Jeremiah hosts the Move The Sticks podcast with his NFL Network colleague Bucky Brooks, and they recently compared Wilson and the 2021 Seahawks to the 1997-1998 Chicago Bulls, who have been dubbed “The Last Dance Bulls” after an ESPN documentary highlighted Michael Jordan’s last season in Chicago when the team made one final run at an NBA title.
Jeremiah sees the Wilson era for the Seahawks coming to an end in the near future, and he thinks it would make sense for them to make one final push to win another Super Bowl while Wilson is still in Seattle.
“That’s why the Julio Jones (trade rumors) to me made sense,” he said. “(Push) all the chips in, let’s really go for this thing on this last run here with Russell. If not, you don’t have any picks next year. If you wanted to at that point in time (next offseason), if this whole thing doesn’t work and you’re a one-and-done in the playoffs or you don’t make the postseason, then the time would probably be right to make the trade (of Wilson) and get some picks and try and rebuild this thing. It definitely feels like this is a short-term marriage we have here with Russell and the Seahawks, so if that’s the case, let’s make a run at it.”
Jeremiah, a former NFL scout, did caution that going all-in often doesn’t work out the way you hope, though.
“Really I’ve been in three organizations where we made an all-in push, and to be honest with you, it didn’t work in any of the three when we tried it,” he said.
Why less success than before?
In the early- and mid-2010s, the Seahawks were one of the NFL’s top teams, winning a Super Bowl in 2013 and appearing in the Super Bowl the very next season. But since then, the Seahawks haven’t made it back to even the NFC Championship game.
Jeremiah thinks there’s a reason that Seattle has had less success, and that it isn’t because of being less talented.
“I think the formula changed. And to no fault of Russell’s because he had success so you put more on him so you kind of morphed how you played offense,” he said. “They had a lot of change and roster turnover on the defensive side of the ball. You had a formula that just worked where you were the most physical team when you got on the field every Sunday, you had a dominant defense, you could shorten games and run the football and Russell could make those magical plays he needed to make in the fourth quarter to win the football game.”
Jeremiah said that doesn’t mean the Seahawks couldn’t go out and win with Wilson passing the ball a lot, because he’s proven he can do so successfully if the defense is having a bad day or the running game is off.
“He was enough, but enough to win games here and there or enough to get you into the postseason,” he said. “I don’t know if all that is enough or if that’s the right formula for them to hoist the trophy. They had that formula and I don’t know if they have that formula anymore.”
You can hear the full conversation with Jeremiah in the latest Brock and Salk Podcast at this link or in the player below.