What’s worth remembering in all that happened in the last six weeks is that the Seahawks never wanted to trade Russell Wilson.
But blindsided and thrust into a situation they hadn’t foreseen — their franchise quarterback letting it be known that while he wasn’t demanding a trade, he’d be just fine if the Seahawks traded him to one of four teams — they were left with little choice but to consider their options.
You can argue that given all that Russell Wilson has meant and will continue to mean to the Seahawks, they shouldn’t have even done that.
And that $39 million dead cap hit for the 2021 season if Wilson were traded before June 1 — the most logical time to do it to try to get some immediate draft capital — was a huge impediment even if the Seahawks were inclined to deal Wilson.
Not that age is everything, but Wilson will be 33 in November. While he has three years left on his contract, in the new-world NFL it won’t be long until talk of what Wilson’s next contract might be will start up.
Then there’s his apparent unhappiness, with Wilson’s camp letting it be known that he/they have some issues with Pete Carroll’s desire to rededicate to the run, the way the team has built its offensive line and how much say Wilson (or his camp) has had in personnel/coaching decisions.
Which is why, according to reports from the NFL Network Wednesday morning, Seahawks general manager John Schneider found himself meeting with Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace in Fargo, North Dakota, last week talking about a possible trade.
The two were ostensibly there to watch the pro day of North Dakota QB Trey Lance. But the news that Schneider was there raised some eyebrows since the Seahawks don’t have a pick until No. 56 and no apparent reason to take a quarterback.
Schneider surely wanted to see Lance just in case. After all, it’s a GM’s job to know as much as they can (not to mention the gossip and side conversations with other NFL execs and agents that come with such events).
But now we know what might have been the real reason — to hear how serious the Bears, who always loomed as the most likely of the four teams on Wilson’s list to try to make a deal, really were (the others being the Cowboys, Raiders and Saints).
According to “The Dan Patrick Show,” the Bears offered three first-round picks, a third-round pick and two unnamed starters.
Not knowing the unnamed starters leaves this a bit hard to judge. Was it standout rush end Khalil Mack and receiver Allen Robinson (and yes, we’re setting aside the cap issues) or backup QB Nick Foles and, hey, maybe one-time Seahawk Jimmy Graham? (For what it’s worth, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reported that the Seahawks were offered at least one of a long list of players that apparently did include Mack and defensive end Akiem Hicks).
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the offer was enough to make the Seahawks think about it.
“The Seahawks slept on it,’’ he said Wednesday. “They discussed it. (On Tuesday), they decided — specifically, coach Pete Carroll does not want to rebuild. They decided, ‘We are not trading Russell Wilson to the Bears.’’’
The Bears reached out to Dalton, effectively ending this act of the drama (and we’re guessing it’s the Bears who leaked the details of the trade Wednesday to show how hard they really tried to get Wilson after all the criticism they got for settling on Dalton).
Maybe if the Bears had a quarterback to offer that the Seahawks thought they could win with, then possibly it’s an offer they consider more seriously.
Without that, the offer was indeed tantamount to rebuilding — and with draft picks that might not have been all that good. Chicago has the 20th pick this year, and obviously had the Bears gotten Wilson they’d have become even more of a contender for playoff bids, consigning the future picks to be in that range or lower.
Carroll turns 70 in September, so rebuilding isn’t something he’d want to do at this stage even if he does have a contract carrying him through the 2025 season.
Carroll is wise enough to know that the difference between 8-8 and 11-5 in the NFL is far thinner than fans might think, and usually that difference is a quarterback.
When the Wilson trade rumors first erupted, those on the pro-Wilson side of things pointed to the Seahawks’ 7-9 records in the two years before he arrived, and that they had double-digit wins every year but one since.
Close Seahawks watchers know it’s a bit more complicated than that. Bobby Wagner arrived in 2012, as well, to put the finishing touch on a defense that became one of the best in NFL history. It was midway through the 2011 season that they committed to a Marshawn Lynch-powered running game (going 5-3 in the second half of the season) which complemented Wilson’s running and ability to operate the zone read perfectly.
And those who might have been in the camp of wondering if maybe it was time to trade Wilson note that the Seahawks have won just two playoff games in the last six years — and that Wilson’s cap hit has made it harder for the Seahawks to build the kind of roster around him that they had in the Super Bowl years.
While the Seahawks appear to have approached the ledge of finding out what life without Wilson may be like, it appears that for now — as Wilson hopes they will do more often on the field in coming years — they decided to pass.
So now comes fence-mending time — and maybe the news that Carroll shot down the trade will help — and lots of speculation that the Wilson-Seahawks relationship at this point is best viewed as a year-to-year proposition.
Which means Wilson trade rumors shouldn’t be considered over with, just put on hold for a while.