It was a year ago Friday a report first surfaced that Russell Wilson would waive his no-trade clause and approve a deal to four teams — the Saints, Raiders, Cowboys or Bears.
Twelve months later, Wilson is still a Seahawk.
But that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill, which continues to churn about all things Wilson (did you hear he just changed his Twitter profile picture from one as a Seahawk to one from his high school days!) and doesn’t figure to slow down now that the NFL is entering its annual combine/free agency/draft season, when most big personnel moves are made.
Friday morning brought even more of the reports/rumors you can probably expect more of the next few weeks/months.
Jordan Schultz, son of Howard and host of several sports-related podcasts, tweeted that sources have told him that Colts owner Jim Irsay, currently saddled with Carson Wentz as his quarterback, is a “huge Russell Wilson fan” (hey, isn’t that nice!) and “would love to trade for him” (well, we all have things we’d like to do in life) while noting that the Colts don’t have a first-round pick this year (yeah, there’s that).
At roughly the same time, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network said on the Pat McAfee Show (where all NFL stories go to be broken these days) that he thinks Wilson will remain with the Seahawks.
“Until Seattle has a better option for them to compete next year I just don’t see them trading him,” Rapoport said. ” … I don’t know what QB gives them a better chance to win.”
Rapoport’s comment was noteworthy because he’s one of the NFL’s leading news-breakers, working for the league’s own media entity, and also has had about the only actual report of apparent substance (depending on your perspective, anyway) related to Wilson this offseason. It was Rapoport who reported in January that sources told him that Wilson “wants to explore his options” this offseason and see what else might be out there for him (But who knows? Maybe that just meant Wilson wants the Yankees to trade him).
OK, before going too far into just trying to poke holes into any Wilson-related rumor/report, it’s worth remembering that there was some legitimate fire behind the smoke last year. Wilson provided much of it with comments about his frustration over being sacked as often as he has been in his Seattle career, and there were legitimate reports of the Seahawks engaging in trade talks with the Bears (with rumors of talks with a couple of other teams, as well).
There has been none of that this year so far, though. While Wilson’s future continues to be a hotly debated topic on all of the usual (and rapidly increasing) NFL-content platforms, other than Rapoport’s report things have been relatively quiet.
Wilson has said only, and repeatedly, that his “hope and goal” is to stay with the Seahawks (though some point out that statement leaves the door open just a smidge for a move to happen).
Also worth remembering through all the smoke are some practical realities:
1. Despite last season’s 7-10 record, the Seahawks don’t appear to be in rebuild mode.
In fact, with coach Pete Carroll returning for what will be his 13th season in 2022 and turning 71 in September, the Seahawks appear in “win-now” mode more than ever, with Carroll talking enthusiastically of how he thinks the team’s 4-2 finish to end the year shows Seattle is right there with the rest of the NFC West. As Rapoport noted Friday, unless the Seahawks could somehow get a quarterback in return as good as Wilson, it makes no sense to trade him with the position the team is in now. (At the moment, the only other QB on Seattle’s roster is Jacob Eason, which is worth remembering because at some point, the Seahawks will sign/draft a quarterback or two for depth/competing-to-be-the-backup purposes, signings that shouldn’t be viewed as having anything to do with Wilson).
2. Wilson has two years remaining on his contract.
The typical time for a player to try to renegotiate his deal — and possibly use that as leverage to force his way out — is entering the final season of his contract. That’s why most don’t think anything would happen this year, but that next offseason would be the one to watch (especially depending on how Seattle does in 2022). If Wilson were traded before June 1, the Seahawks would take a dead cap hit of $26 million, saving $11 million. Those numbers turn far more favorable for Seattle in 2023 (dead cap of $13 million, savings of $27 million).
3. Wilson also has a $5 million roster bonus due March 20.
Maybe that doesn’t seem like a lot given the overall numbers of QB contracts, but it’s not nothing, and it also impacts what Wilson’s franchise tag numbers will be down the road. If you really think there’s a chance that Seattle could move Wilson, it probably happens by that date.
And the changing of his Twitter profile picture? The new picture is of Wilson and his late father, Harrison, and Wilson made the switch after receiving the Bart Starr award during Super Bowl week, having given a speech in which he talked in part about the impact his father had on his life.
There’s also that pesky no-trade cause — Seahawks GM John Schneider could work out the best deal ever, only to have it nixed by Wilson himself (and who knows for sure which teams he’d approve a trade to this year).
Meaning, all signs point to nothing really going on with Wilson.
Still, it’s probably best to never totally rule out anything in the NFL; only the general managers ever really know what they are talking about behind the scenes.
This figures to be a crazy offseason of potential quarterback movement, with the futures of the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Jimmy Garoppolo and Deshaun Watson all unclear, and teams like Tampa Bay, Denver, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and maybe San Francisco, the Giants and Carolina potentially in the market for a QB.
Which means rumors may not stop anytime soon.
But if you’re hoping they eventually will, the date to mark on your calendar — aside from March 20 — is April 28, when the first round of the NFL draft will be held.
Get past that and you can pretty much rest assured Wilson will be a Seahawk in 2022.
Now as for 2023 …
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