It’s been a far more interesting beginning to the offseason than anyone connected with the Seahawks or their fan base might have anticipated.
So, let’s get to some questions in our latest mailbag, the first centering on the topic of the week — Russell Wilson and his comments about the offensive line and where things go from here.
Q: @isuwiq asked: “What are the chances Russell Wilson actually gets traded?’’
A: I’d still put the odds at basically none for this season, if any at all.
Seattle would take a $39 million cap hit if he is traded before June 1, and he also has a no-trade clause that basically allows him to veto any deal.
Also, the last thing the Seahawks were even thinking about heading into this offseason was Wilson’s future.
He’s under contract for three more years as part of a four-year, $140 million extension signed in April 2019 that the organization figured meant there would be no reason to have to consider Wilson’s future again until after the 2022 season. That goes with the thought that they’d keep the usual timeline of beginning extension talks heading into the final year of his contract.
But here’s the thing — that the question can even be asked, and it doesn’t seem laughable to ask it, indicates things have indeed changed at least a little bit over the last week.
Wilson’s surprisingly frank comments about wanting better pass protection and more input into personnel decisions aren’t thought to have gone over real well with the organization.
National radio host Dan Patrick — on whose show Wilson made some of his comments Tuesday — said Wednesday that a source told him “the Seahawks management is not happy with Russell Wilson and his camp for taking this to the media.’’
That’s my understanding as well. This doesn’t appear to be a case of Wilson having let anyone in the organization know ahead of time he might say any of this and them saying, “Fine, go ahead.’’
Instead, indications are this was a surprise, and an unpleasant and unwelcomed one at that.
Pete Carroll’s No. 1 rule is to “Always Protect the Team,’’ and I think the team would think this is pretty much the opposite of that.
Not only is there the worry of any possible adverse reaction from the linemen, but it probably doesn’t help the cause of fixing the problem by essentially putting the Seahawks on notice to do something significant. After all, agents of prospective free-agent offensive linemen and GMs of other teams who might be trade partners have internet access, too.
And with Seattle having just four draft picks at the moment — and only one in the first three rounds — and not a ton of cap space (though, yes, moves can be made to create some), a wholesale makeover won’t be easy. (This assumes the Seahawks view it as being as big of a problem as some others do, which they may not, given that before injuries hit, the OL seemed to be performing as well as it had in years.)
I think there is also simply the surprise factor in this.
When Richard Sherman said some things his last few years, no one batted an eye since Sherman was always outspoken about everything.
But Wilson’s interviews in his first nine years with the team have never been anything the team had to worry about. So some with the team may obviously be left to wonder what is going on and what is the real motivation of Wilson or his camp.
And yes, inevitably that leads to the question of whether Wilson really wants out of Seattle, as at least one former teammate — receiver Brandon Marshall — suggested this week.
At the least, I think it’s fair to say this is not something the Seahawks wanted to have to deal with right now heading into an offseason that already posed significant challenges such as securing the long-term future of safety Jamal Adams (who has a year left on his contract) as well as other players who can be free agents next month — K.J. Wright, Chris Carson and Shaquill Griffin.
Patrick’s report Wednesday went as far as to say “the current situation (with Wilson) is unsustainable.’’
That, though, seemed to be tempered by an NFL.com report Thursday that while the Seahawks continue to get calls from teams asking about Wilson’s potential availability, they aren’t inclined to listen much.
According to the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Seahawks “have given no indication that they’re interested in moving Wilson.’’
There’s no reason to doubt that statement.
But that it’s a sentence that even needs to be written is one of the first big upsets of the offseason.
Q: @Christo_Blue asked: “Would the Seahawks move (Damien) Lewis to center and just focus on getting guards? Also, is it time to start grooming an LT (left tackle)?’’
A: That’s an interesting thought as Seattle has a potential opening at center with Ethan Pocic now a free agent and Lewis performed admirably when they had to use him at center in the home win over Arizona.
But I don’t think moving him there full time is something they would seriously consider right now.
Other than that game, Lewis has never played anywhere other than right guard in college or the NFL, so there would be a learning curve. By any account, he played well this season, named to numerous all-rookie teams. Why take him away from a position he appears on the way to mastering pretty well to learn a new one? And his listed 6-2 height and arm length also seem to make him a better fit at guard.
I also think the Seahawks were OK with the play last year of Pocic, and while there is going to be a lot of focus on what Seattle does with its line, I wouldn’t rule out that he could be back, with the inevitable caveat of the price needing to be right.
But center and left guard (where Mike Iupati is now a free agent) are the two spots where there is no returning starter, and the Seahawks will undoubtedly explore all options to upgrade those two spots.
As for Lewis, I think they like what they see there where he is.
And as for grooming a left tackle, I think with where things stand right now most personnel moves are going to be as focused on putting the best team on the field as possible in 2021.
As your question suggests, there is somewhat of a long-term question at left tackle with Duane Brown now 35 years old and entering the final year of his contract.
But he is also coming off one of his best seasons and he might be amenable to an extension that could lower his $13.35 million cap number for the 2021 season and also assure he sticks around for another year.
And not to beat a dead horse on the lack of draft picks, but Seattle having just one in the first 120 (at No. 56 in the second round) isn’t going to make it real easy this year to draft guys to groom at a spot as significant as left tackle.
I’m sure the Seahawks will figure out a way to get more than four picks and drafting a tackle somewhere makes sense.
But with potentially limited picks, and probably mostly in the mid to late rounds, this may be a draft to just take the best of what you can get.