The Seahawks need to accomplish many things this offseason, but here’s the first and maybe most important: Make sure they are aligned with Russell Wilson on the issues of importance to the quarterback.
The last thing they need coming off a bumpy 7-10, playoff-free season is to have a repeat of last year, when a variety of Wilson’s grievances came to the forefront. Some were expressed by him, some by his “camp,” but the result was a months-long distraction centered on whether Wilson would be traded.
You could say it was overblown, but when the player’s agent takes the step of giving Seattle a list of teams his client would agree to be traded to, there’s more than just smoke. And that was coming off a 12-4 season that resulted in a division title. A first-round playoff ouster followed, and the seeds of Wilson’s discontent seemingly blossomed as he watched the Super Bowl in person, sitting awkwardly with commissioner Roger Goodell, as recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
The Seahawks must get assurances from Wilson, as quickly as they can, that he’s all in — or at least that there’s a viable path forward to get him there — without public airing of any dissatisfaction. And if such an accord is untenable, that would be valuable information to know, too, so they can act accordingly.
The encouraging news is that Wilson said Sunday, following a rousing 38-30 win over Arizona to end Seattle’s season on an upbeat note, that he planned to sit down with coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider shortly after the season. (By the way, this discussion is under the assumption that Carroll and Schneider are retained, which technically should be the first item of business this offseason).
“Pete and I obviously have a great relationship, so I will definitely talk to him and John and all that stuff too, and we will chop it up and have some good times together,” Wilson said Sunday after joking that he might get on a plane to Hawaii with Carroll.
You might recall that Wilson went on “The Dan Patrick Show” last February and said he wanted a bigger voice in the Seahawks’ operation, including personnel decisions.
“I want to be involved,” Wilson said on the show. “At the end of the day, it’s your legacy, your team’s legacy. … It helps to be involved more. That dialogue should happen more.”
That’s not to say Wilson should be given carte blanche to determine the Seahawks’ course of action. But I believe it would behoove them to let Wilson feel that his input is being sincerely heard and taken into account — as apparently was the case with last year’s decision to hire Shane Waldron as offensive coordinator.
The sides must also be squarely on the same page as far as the Seahawks’ offensive philosophy. This has been a large source of whatever discord has existed, by all accounts. Carroll made it crystal clear Sunday, and again in his season postmortems Monday, that he still adamantly believes in his core principal of striving for a balanced offense. And he pointed to the success of the Seahawks’ attack once Rashaad Penny got rolling — more than 30 points in five of their last six games — as indisputable proof that it works.
Speaking Monday on his radio show on 710 ESPN, Carroll said: “The factors that make this game happen in a successful fashion have never changed. You have to control the football and not give it to your opponent. … Over the course of time, in my world — in my 20 years of being a head coach — I’ve found, if you create real, true balance on your football team, and you can play in all aspects of your game, and you can run the ball and throw the ball with a balanced sense about it, and not give it to the other team, you’ve got a great chance of winning.”
Furthermore, Carroll said it is a formula Wilson embraces as well.
“He had a blast last night. He loved that football game. He doesn’t care what the numbers are. He really doesn’t. He just wants to win. Look at him. That’s who he is. He’s said that a thousand times to me. He just wants to win. So whatever we’ve got to do to do it.
“It’s not like we’re running the ball so Russell doesn’t get to throw. We’re running the ball so he can kill them when he throws the football. That’s the point. He gets it.”
Wilson is under contract with the Seahawks for two more years, and it behooves them to have a contented quarterback to maximize that stint — and possibly extend it. Yet we don’t know exactly what Wilson is feeling in his heart of hearts about his situation with the Seahawks, and how he views his future with the organization. He has made encouraging pronouncements recently but has not been definitive in declaring his desire to stay.
Whatever that sentiment is, it would help all involved if it’s clarified and resolved sooner than later.