Seahawks coach Pete Carroll last week called any talk of the Russell Wilson trade speculation that dominated Seattle’s offseason “old news.’’
And no doubt, as the Seahawks begin the most significant part of their offseason program this week — Phase 3, when full team on-field workouts are allowed — all involved will work as hard as possible to put the uncomfortable months of rumors behind them.
But the general perception around the league is that the issue of Wilson’s NFL future is simply on hold for a year — he’s a Seahawk in 2021, with little certainty after that.
And showing how the story may not go away as easily as the Seahawks might like, Monday brought one new theory about why Wilson may have been pushing for a trade this offseason — his oft-stated desire to someday be an owner of an NFL team.
According to a story on the Go Long with Tyler Dunne website that detailed the Chicago Bears’ attempts at landing a quarterback this offseason, Wilson’s choice of four teams to which he would approve a trade — the Bears, New Orleans Saints, Las Vegas Raiders and Dallas Cowboys — was motivated in part by his future ownership hopes.
According to the story, Wilson “wants to ‘maximize the amount of billionaires in his Rolodex’ and meet as many rich and successful people as he can.’’
And according to Monday’s story, that wish helps further explain a choice of teams some found a little perplexing (since Wilson has a no-trade clause in his contract, he has veto power over any trade).
As the story notes, Dallas owner Jerry Jones might be the most powerful owner in the league while Chicago is in a huge media market, and Las Vegas is one of the national centers of entertainment.
Wilson has often talked publicly of his desire to own pro sports teams — he is a part-owner of Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders and is also part of a group trying to bring Major League Baseball to Portland. (He enthusiastically quote tweeted a story Monday about a report the Oakland Athletics will visit Portland on a fact-finding mission as they examine relocation options.)
Wilson was also affiliated with a group trying to bring back the Sonics.
And on his own DangerTalk podcast last November, Wilson told guest Mark Cuban — owner of the NBA Dallas Mavericks — of his wish to own the Seahawks themselves.
“I’m fired up to get there,’’ Wilson said. “I would love to own the Seattle Seahawks one day. The city is so special. … That would be one of my biggest goals in life.’’
For now, Wilson is “just’’ the team’s quarterback.
Wilson has not talked to the media since February but could over the next few weeks as Seattle holds OTAs (Organized Team Activities) if Seahawks veterans decide to attend.
Seattle was scheduled for its first of 10 voluntary OTAs Monday.
But the Seahawks were among 21 teams that released statements through the NFLPA last month saying players would not take part in voluntary on-field drills out of continuing concerns over COVID-19.
The statement said players hoped for a “positive shift’’ in COVID-19 before a mandatory three-day minicamp June 15-17.
But many teams are altering schedules and/or formats to try to accommodate players’ concerns.
The NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Monday 22 teams have “modified’’ their plans, and veterans are showing up as a result. Carroll said last week he would talk to team leaders about options for OTAs, while saying he expected the 31 players who took part in rookie minicamp to show up, as well as any veterans who wished to attend.
A report from SI.com Monday, though, stated Seahawks veterans were “holding firm’’ in their commitment to for now sit out voluntary on-field workouts (the team has no media access for OTAs until Thursday).
The report stated Wilson is among those veterans not taking part in on-field drills as OTAs begin, noting he remains in his offseason base of Southern California working out. (He was reported to be at the Mariners-Padres game Friday night in San Diego.)
As Carroll noted last week, all players have been taking part in virtual meetings throughout the offseason — meetings that began in mid-April.
So, even if not in Seattle doing on-field workouts, Wilson and other vets are still doing the work of learning the playbook, which is critical for the offense with new coordinator Shane Waldron.
When Wilson does show up, will he have to mend some fences with coaches or offensive linemen after stating he was also frustrated with getting sacked so often during his career?
Carroll indicated he didn’t think that would be an issue.
And Monday’s Go Long story reiterated what has been previously reported — that it was Carroll who put the brakes on trade talks that got serious with the Bears.
Interestingly, Monday’s story stated Seahawks GM John Schneider “was willing to trade the disgruntled Wilson because he had grown tired of Wilson in the building.’’
But as previously reported, Carroll — who turns 70 in September — wants no part of a rebuilding project at this point, which any trade of Wilson would inevitably have been to some degree.
The Go Long story also said Wilson ultimately decided not to push for a trade too hard, in part not to tarnish his public image.
During his appearance last week on “The Rich Eisen Show,” Carroll — as might be expected — put the best possible spin on the reports of Wilson’s discontent this offseason.
“We’ve had a really good offseason of working, and there was an ongoing media discussion that I did not take part in,’’ Carroll said. “John (Schneider) and I did not. We refused to be party to that. And Russ did what he could once he saw it happening to stay as quiet as he could because it was going to play and have a life of its own anyway. What it amounted to was, I think, a refocusing, making sure that we were on the same page, making sure that we were clear so that we could withstand any of the scrutiny that would come towards us, and we did that.
“… He’s fired up about his team, he’s fired up about his coaching staff, he’s fired up about the season coming up.”