The headline on a story Sunday morning on NFL.com — the league’s sanctioned website — was catchy.
“Seahawks QB Russell Wilson wants to explore options this offseason,” was the headline emblazoned across the top of a story written by one of the network’s main information reporters, Ian Rapoport.
And as expected, the story generated lots of immediate social media attention.
But that headline and discussion may have obscured some facts detailed in the story and known to be true — Wilson has not requested a trade. And in Rapoport’s on-air version of the report, he noted that Wilson wants to explore his options “in case the Seahawks would like to trade him or would trade him.”
There is zero evidence that the Seahawks would like to trade Wilson or “would trade him.”
So what is the story saying? Well, possibly, simply that if something were to happen, Wilson would want to use his no-trade clause, which the team agreed to as part of his most recent contract signed in April 2019.
The story cited as its source “those close to Wilson” — but did not specify who while also noting that his agent, Mark Rodgers, did not return calls for the moment — and cited those sources as saying that Wilson “wants to investigate other destinations to see if those would put him in a better position to win another championship and create the legacy he sees for himself.”
But with two years left on his contract and no indication that Seattle wants to trade him or is even thinking about it, it’s hard to know what “exploring options” means.
But if there appeared to be little — if any — news to the story, it indicated that discussion and rumors of Wilson’s future may not go away as easily as some in the organization would hope.
Coach Pete Carroll, general manager John Schneider and team chair Jody Allen met on Thursday.
And as became clear as the next few days passed, those meetings ended without any change in the status of Schneider and Carroll — several national reports Sunday reiterated that point. An ESPN report stated that despite speculation that grew about the future of Carroll and Schneider as the team fell out of playoff contention, their meeting with Allen “was usual end of season review, a look ahead and no job security talk.”
Some structural and other personnel change other than at the top, though, could still occur.
But what appeared to emerge from the week following the end of the Seahawks season is the organization planning to take one more shot at it in 2022 with its three main figures — Carroll, Wilson and Schneider — intact.
All are under contract — Schneider through the draft of 2027, Carroll 2025 and Wilson through 2023.
Wilson’s deal pays him an average of $35 million. And given Seattle’s usual precedent of not redoing contracts that have more than a year left, he would not be due for a new one until after the 2022 season.
Wilson also is coming off his roughest campaign with the Seahawks, missing three games at midseason due to a dislocation and ruptured tendon in his right middle finger, and then enduring a three-game losing streak once he returned.
But a 4-2 finish to the season that included three games in which the Seahawks scored 30 or more points — and 89 in the last two — seemed to reignite enthusiasm in the organization about the current direction of the team.
Wilson was asked several times about his future in the last few weeks of the season and repeated each time that his hope is to stay with Seattle.
Those questions were asked in part because of the events of last offseason, when Wilson went public with frustration over how often he has been sacked in his career and an ESPN report later stated his agent, Rodgers, had given the Seahawks a list of four teams to which Wilson would approve a trade. Seattle was reported to have had serious trade talks with the Bears before Carroll said he didn’t want to trade Wilson.
“You guys keep asking me the same question, but I think maybe you guys know something that I don’t know,” Wilson said Jan. 9 after Seattle’s 38-30 win at Arizona. “I think the biggest thing is that I love playing here. I love being here and everything else. I also love winning. We also have to do whatever it takes to make sure that we’re doing that, and that’s the standard, and that’s what I believe in. So I have to do my part. It starts with me first, and the rest of the guys and all of us together, collectively what we can do better. Obviously, I love this city, and that’s my hope and prayer.”
After what was an exasperating offseason a year ago that the Seahawks don’t want to repeat, their hope and prayer may be that this is the beginning and end of rumors about Wilson’s future.
But given the nature of the NFL offseason, that’s one that may go unanswered.