BRANDON GUSTAFSON

If this is the end of Seahawks’ Russell Wilson era, it was quite the sendoff

Jan 9, 2022, 6:02 PM | Updated: 6:40 pm

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson...

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson had four total touchdowns against the Cardinals. (AP)

(AP)

The Seahawks wrapped up what has been a disappointing 2021 season in a big way, beating the playoff-bound Arizona Cardinals 38-30 in Glendale.

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Now, all eyes are on what’s next for this team.

Was this game the end of an era? Was this the final game with the Seahawks for one, multiple, or all of quarterback Russell Wilson, head coach Pete Carroll, general manager John Schneider or middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (who didn’t play due to injury)? That much is unclear.

We’ll get a better idea of what’s next in the coming days, perhaps as soon as Monday as it pertains to Carroll and Schneider, though Carroll told reporters after the game that he’s not worried about his future.

When it comes to the two cornerstone players mentioned, that may take more time.

With Wagner, it’s unfortunate that he closed out the 2021 season by suffering a knee injury on the first snap a week ago and sitting out this week as he’s been a pillar of consistency for this team since he was drafted in 2012. He’s admitted it’s unclear what his future holds – Wagner has one year left on his deal and very little of it is guaranteed – but both he and Carroll said this last week that the hope is Wagner will be with the Seahawks in 2022 and for years to come.

Wilson’s future is where things really get interesting.

Does Wilson want to return with both Carroll and Schneider in the fold? Would he want to return if one or both are gone? Does he want out of Seattle outright?

That will play out in the coming weeks and months, and Wilson holds really all of the cards with his no-trade clause.

But if this was the end of this current era of Seahawks football with Russell Wilson leading the charge, it was quite the sendoff.

No, there wasn’t some crazy goal-line stop or a miraculous fourth-quarter touchdown drive, but that it occurred with a big win in Arizona would be awfully fitting as it would end where everything started for No. 3.

Wilson’s first NFL game came in Week 1 of the 2012 season in Arizona against the Cardinals. Wilson completed just 53% of his passes with one touchdown and two turnovers in a 20-16 loss 10 years ago. Arizona is also where the Seahawks hit some incredible highs with huge wins over the Cardinals and the lowest of lows with Wilson’s goal-line interception against the Patriots in Super Bowl 49.

Wilson has been great overall for the Seahawks during his 10-year career, exceeding really everyone’s expectations for the undersized, 5-foot-10 third-round pick who was old for his draft class, spent time at two different colleges and played two seasons of minor league baseball.

Wilson would win the starting job as a rookie, beating out the incumbent starter (Tarvaris Jackson) and a high-priced free-agent signing (Matt Flynn). He’d lose his first game and start out with a 4-4 record, but Wilson helped lead the Seahawks to a 7-1 showing in the second half of that year and a playoff win, giving a glimpse of what was to come for years and years. And on Sunday, Wilson set an NFL record for the most wins for a quarterback in their first 10 NFL seasons, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.

Wilson wasn’t perfect by any means on Sunday. He had two ugly turnovers that resulted in 14 points for the Cardinals and completed just 57.7% of his passes. But Wilson threw for three scores, rushed for one more and with Rashaad Penny had a strong running game to lean on, which was a staple of Wilson’s earliest years with the Seahawks.

All in all, 2021 was a season to forget for the 7-10 Seahawks as well as Wilson, who injured his right middle finger in Week 5, missed three games and battled the injury upon his return.

If this is the end of his time in Seattle, Wilson undoubtedly goes down as the best quarterback in team history as he re-wrote the record book, gave this franchise its first Super Bowl title, made the playoffs eight of 10 years, and won four NFC West crowns. Wilson led the Seahawks to 10-plus wins in each of those playoff seasons, and has nine playoff wins to his name.

If it’s not, these last two games should certainly give Wilson, the coaching staff, his teammates and the fanbase plenty of reason to be excited about the 2022 season. The team has plenty of firepower set to return on both sides of the ball as well as a plethora of cap space to make some big signings and extensions happen.

But for now, it’s all wait and see.

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