Wassell: Questions about Seahawks’ Wilson and Carroll that I can’t shake
There are a few of things bouncing around in my head this week that I can’t let go of. My opinion on each seems to be changing depending on who I speak with, so I’m gonna get everything out of my system here and see where things fall.
Were Seahawks serious about a Russell Wilson trade in 2018?
We keep coming back to this notion of due diligence on the part of Seahawks general manager John Schneider. He explores every last nook and cranny to make sure he hasn’t overlooked an option that may benefit the team. That’s certainly a quality I like in a GM. However, when it comes to your star QB, I feel like it’s possible to go too far in determining if the grass is greener elsewhere.
Let’s say that the rumors about Schneider entertaining a trade two years ago with the Browns – Russell Wilson for the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft – is true. How serious would he actually have been about making a franchise-altering move like that? Can you think of another GM that’s had the guts to pull off something so controversial and risky?
I’ve heard the counterargument that Schneider was just guarding against the possibility of Russell bolting for another city in free agency when contract negotiations came up the following year. Well, how often have we seen star QBs do that? Teams tend to keep their guy and their guys tend to stay put unless there’s a serious disagreement about that player’s value. I don’t see that here.
If I’m Russell Wilson and I know my GM took that offer seriously, I’d be hopping mad about it. If Russell knew about it in 2018, it’s no wonder we heard rumors about him wanting to go to New York or LA. How could you blame him? What if Schneider did the same thing with Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman or Bobby Wagner? While there may be better players at those positions, isn’t there something to be said for continuity and stability?
The position that stabilizes a franchise more than any other is QB. Why even mess with that?
Seahawks’ Pete Carroll: Victim of optimism?
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll’s “Flying Coach” podcast that he hosts with Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr is something I wish more coaches would do. That kind of insight they provide is beyond fascinating.
We got one little nugget the other day when Pete remarked that when it comes to players in the draft, he gets more hopeful than he should with certain guys. He sees flashes of brilliance or uniqueness and gets tunnel-visioned on those qualities, thinking he’ll be the one to hone in on them and turn that player into a superstar. This is something many of us have long suspected about Pete – that he thinks some players are way better than they actually are. And it would explain why when everyone thinks the Seahawks should go right, they go left in the draft.
I think that we should let him off the hook a little. Pete isn’t the only guy who has whiffed on draft picks. Theoretically, any coach or GM that misses on a pick probably thought that the player was going to be much better than they turned out to be. So while I appreciate Pete’s honesty in admitting that he lets his excitement over players get the best of him, he’s certainly not the only one to do so. This is supposed to be fun, right? If Pete’s going to make mistakes, why not let it be because he was having too much fun? OK, I don’t really mean that.
Why doesn’t Cam Newton have a job?
I was watching SportsCenter on Wednesday night, and ESPN reporter Jeff Darlington was discussing with host Scott Van Pelt why Cam Newton is still unemployed. This is a direct quote Darlington said he got from a GM: “It feels like it does go beyond the simple injury history. We weren’t interested in dealing with all that goes along with Cam Newton. He’s a heavy personality that requires real management”
I’ve never been a Cam Newton fan. Celebrations and showmanship are not for me, at least by a QB. I want the guy under center to be boring, focused, corporate, cold – someone who prioritizes winning above everything. I definitely don’t want a guy who appears to be putting “brand” ahead of winning. Still, Newton is a little older now (31 years old) and perhaps more mature after his nine years in the league. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, maybe he’s learned from the mistakes he made during and after Carolina’s Super Bowl loss in January 2016. Pulling away from a fumble late in that game and then silently pouting in the press conference afterward made him look like he A) wasn’t doing everything he could to win, and B) childish. Apparently even teams with major QB issues don’t think that Cam has grown up since then.
But even if he hasn’t, it’s not like you have to commit five years to the guy. Whichever team nabs him is probably going to draft another QB if they haven’t already. Why not use him as the most physically-gifted placeholder of all time. That way you can let him be himself and not worry about being on the hook financially over a long period of time. Seems like a win-win to me. The flip side is that Cam is deluding himself into thinking that he deserves the moon after a handful of injury-riddled seasons. If that’s the case, good luck. He needs to prove to both the league and himself that he’s worth investing in before it’s too late, but I believe he still has the ability to do exactly that.