Huard: More likely Wagner, not Wilson, played final Seahawks home game
That the Seahawks got a blowout 51-29 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday isn’t the big storyline surrounding the team. Rather, it’s the question of whether Seattle’s 2021 home finale was the end of the current era of Seahawks football.
With Seattle sitting at 6-10 with just one game left in what has been a poor season, the focus is shifting from the current on-field product to what the future holds for the organization, namely when it comes to star quarterback Russell Wilson.
Wilson, who is wrapping up his 10th NFL season, caused quite the stir last offseason when he told radio host Dan Patrick he wanted to have more involvement in the Seahawks’ personnel decisions, and that he wasn’t happy with how often opposing defenses were able to pressure him. A few days later, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Wilson wasn’t actively seeking a trade but would consider waiving his no-trade clause to four teams.
But that was after a 12-4 season where the Seahawks won the NFC West. The Seahawks will finish the 2021 season in last place in the NFC West, and it’s both the first losing season in Wilson’s 10-year career and the first Seattle has suffered 10 losses since head coach Pete Carroll joined the organization in 2010.
Going forward, one of the biggest questions in the NFL is whether or not Wilson, who is signed through the 2023 season, has played his final home game as a member of the Seahawks.
“I don’t think so,” Huard said when asked if Wilson played his final home game at Lumen Field on Sunday. “I know we’ve got a lot of time to talk about this (for) weeks and months and into the entire offseason because this is not going to happen quickly. It may be this is just emotional coming off of that game (Sunday) but no, I did not feel like here’s the swan song, this is it, he’s playing one last game (at home in Seattle).”
Salk then asked Huard if Wilson believes Sunday was his final home game as a member of the Seahawks.
“I don’t think so… I think Russ is just trying – and he has with his team – to play the game a little bit, right? I mean he just kind of played the game last offseason and started some of this conversation up,” Huard said. “I just think Seattle holds all of the cards. I mean, obviously Russ has a no-trade clause and the Seahawks have him (under contract) for two more years in today’s QB dollars at a really good rate and a salary cap that’s exploding.”
Salk told Huard he thinks differently, saying he feels Wilson gave it his best shot to gain more control and power within the franchise but was unsuccessful, and will look to find a new home going forward.
Huard doesn’t feel the same way regarding Wilson’s relationship with key members of the franchise.
“I got a sense to some degree almost like an adolescent. I guess they’re kind of in a similar vein, but he’s kind of an adolescent that is upset and is yelling back at mom and dad and isn’t happy with all the circumstances, the parenting, the discipline and the struggles,” Huard said. “But at the end of the day, (the Seahawks are) like, ‘Hey man, you’re my kid. And really, where else are you going to go? What else is going to be a better situation for you? The grass is not always greener.'”
Huard thinks the Seahawks have a star wide receiver tandem in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, plus emerging young players on defense like linebacker Jordyn Brooks, edge rusher Darrell Taylor and cornerback D.J. Reed, and he said that Sunday’s resounding win over the Lions showed how good things can be for Wilson and the Seahawks when the offensive line plays well and there’s a strong rushing attack.
“It’s not perfect, but there are some pieces here around you that are pretty good,” Huard said. “And we’ve got a ton of (financial) flexibility (going forward) to get this thing right.”
While Huard doesn’t think Sunday was Wilson’s final home game with the Seahawks, he feels it may have been for another key member of the franchise’s success over the last decade.
“I went into it, Mike, with pretty clear eyes yesterday, (asking) ‘OK, is this it? Do I feel like this (Wilson’s final home game)?'” he told Salk. “To be honest with you – and maybe it’s because unfortunately Bobby played just one play – but I probably have more of that feeling for Bobby than I do Russell.”
Bobby is, of course, veteran middle linebacker Bobby Wagner.
Wagner, like Wilson, came to the Seahawks in the 2012 NFL Draft and has played his entire 10-year career in Seattle. Wagner is a six-time team captain who earned his eighth Pro Bowl nod in a row this season. Wagner is also a seven-time All-Pro, earning first-team nods six times.
Wagner entered Sunday leading the NFL in tackles with 170, but he now ranks second in the league behind Atlanta’s Foyesade Oluokun after suffering a knee injury on Seattle’s first defensive snap Sunday and missing the rest of the game. Wagner suffered two ligament sprains in his knee, and he likely will not suit up for the Seahawks’ final game of the season in Arizona against the Cardinals next Sunday.
Wilson may be signed through 2023, but Wagner’s deal is up after the 2022 season in which he’s due to make just over $20 million, per Spotrac. But just $3.75 million of that total is guaranteed, meaning the Seahawks could free up nearly $17 million in cap space by releasing or trading Wagner this offseason.
So, does Huard believe Wagner will be back with the Seahawks in 2022?
“I don’t think at that contract there’s any chance he could be back,” Huard said. “And as you saw (Sunday), Cody (Barton) did some really good things (in Wagner’s place), and Jordyn is certainly a linebacker of the future. But at that kind of rate that (Wagner himself) negotiated, there’s going to have to be a talking to.”
Listen to the full conversation between Huard and Salk at this link or in the player below.