Everything Seattle has done in recent weeks points to the team planning on having Russell Wilson as its quarterback in 2021.
The Seahawks re-signed key veterans in Carlos Dunlap and Chris Carson (to name two), traded for a veteran, proven offensive lineman (Gabe Jackson) and assured one of Wilson’s favorite targets (Tyler Lockett) will be around for a few more years.
But rumors regarding Wilson’s future — even if they have quieted markedly in recent days — persist.
On ESPN’s Get Up! Monday morning, NFL reporter Adam Schefter said again that he thinks Seattle would be “open and interested in moving on from Russell Wilson” if the Seahawks could get a viable replacement in return.
“They wouldn’t do that (a trade) without a sure-fire quarterback solution,’’ Schefter added.
That Seattle appears to have done its most significant salary cap maneuvering without restructuring Wilson’s contract — which by pushing his salary cap hits more fully into the future would be viewed as making more of a commitment to him — also continues to raise some eyebrows.
But Monday afternoon, one rumored scenario for Seattle replacing Wilson — trading for Sam Darnold — went out the window.
The Jets instead dealt the former USC standout, who was the third overall choice in the 2018 draft, to the Panthers for three draft picks, including a second-rounder in 2021.
Recall that three weeks ago, a report from the New York Daily News stated that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has “a high opinion’’ of Darnold and speculated that the Seattle could view him as a possible suitable replacement for Wilson.
That report, though, came before the Seahawks reportedly turned down a trade offer from the Chicago Bears, which meant all four of the teams on Wilson’s list of suitable trade partners no longer appeared to be viable options (the others being Dallas, New Orleans and Las Vegas).
The Bears signing Andy Dalton basically put a death knell into Wilson trade speculation for this year.
But Schefter, whose 8.3 million Twitter followers speaks to his standing as one of the most plugged-in NFL reporters, has kept the rumor mill alive, if maybe just barely.
His report Monday, though, came before the Darnold trade later in the afternoon. And the Darnold trade might kill Wilson trade talk for now — unless you think Seattle would have interest in Teddy Bridgewater, who the Panthers might now be inclined to trade, having appeared to commit to Darnold for the next two years (it was reported the Panthers will pick up an option on his contract for 2022).
You’d also assume at this point anything involving Houston’s Deshaun Watson can be ruled out until his legal situation is sorted out.
That all makes it pretty hard to see where a logical, immediate “sure-fire quarterback solution’’ would come from for this year.
And at some point before the draft, Carroll and Seahawks general manager John Schneider are expected to talk to the media, and a strong statement that Wilson isn’t going anywhere can tamp down the rumors for good. But this being the NFL, even that might not be enough.
One interesting footnote to the Darnold trade is that Carolina’s new general manager is Scott Fitterer, who worked from 2001 until January in Seattle’s front office, the past six years as either co-director or vice president of football operations.
The Panthers are thought to have turned to trading for Darnold after realizing they weren’t going to get one of the top three quarterbacks in the draft (they have the eighth choice) and also realizing that any attempt to get Watson isn’t viable right now.
It’s also thought they tried to get in on Matthew Stafford and might have been interested in Jimmy Garoppolo.
So, Darnold might have been something of a fallback choice for the Panthers.
But if Carroll truly had a high opinion of him, you’d assume Fitterer heard that at some point along the way and is hoping now that assessment turns out to be valid.
Either way, what we know for sure is that for now, Darnold won’t be coming to Seattle anytime soon.
Seahawks make Woods signing official
The Seahawks on Monday officially announced the signing of defensive tackle Al Woods, a move initially reported 10 days ago.
Woods signed a one-year deal said to be worth up to $3 million to help replace the departed Jarran Reed, who was released and signed with the Chiefs.
Woods joins Poona Ford and Bryan Mone as defensive tackles who have experience on Seattle’s roster, with those three likely to form a rotation at that spot in the team’s base defense.
The announcement of Woods also means that all of Seattle’s reported free agent signings have now been made official by the team.
However, as of Monday afternoon, the contract for Woods, as well as the new deal for Lockett, had not yet been processed so it’s unclear exactly what Seattle has left in salary cap room.