Russell Wilson Clickbait Approach: Russell Remains a Seahawk

by Justin Edminster · Contracts & Free Agency
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Russell Wilson has been the subject of persistent and aggressive trade speculation for too long.

It has to stop.

Divisive Speculation

Russell: “I love Seattle. This is a place I’ve loved every day, every moment . . . I love this place. I love this space.”

Reporter: “Would it be accurate to say you intend to fulfill your contract?”

Russell: “Yeah, that’s my hope. My hope is not just fulfill that, hopefully I get to play here twenty years of my career. Will that happen? I don’t know, but that’s my prayer, that’s my hope.”

It pays to be provocative — I get it. Deadlines demand stories and content must be created. People love drama. I accept that, and I accept that Russell Wilson stirred the pot; but should we continue the pressure campaign? I say no, Russell remains a Seahawk and plays in Seattle beyond his contract. If Russell says he wants to be in Seattle, and team leadership want Russ in Seattle, media should kill the story.

Stirring the Pot

Where did this start? How did we get here? This timeline will help bring you up to speed.

Starting with Jason La Confora of CBS Sports reporting about frustrations brewing within Wilson’s camp a day before Wilson appeared on The Dan Patrick Show:

Dan: “Do you have any say in what Seattle does offensively with free agents or draft picks?”

Russell: “I want to be involved because at the end of the day it’s your legacy, it’s your team’s legacy. It’s the guys you get to go into the huddle with, and at the end of the day those guys you got to trust. When you think about one of the reasons Tom went to Tampa was because he felt he could trust those guys, and Bruce was going to give him the opportunity. You think about guys like LeBron, he was able to be around great players he could trust . . .”

Dan: “Are you involved in personnel decisions? Have you been involved in personnel decisions?”

Russell: “Not as much.”

Dan: “Do you want to be involved, Russ?”

Russell: “Yeah, I think it helps. I think it helps to be involved more. That dialogue should happen more often.”

Dan: “You’ve been sacked 394 times in your career. You’re going to be the most sacked quarterback in the history of the game. Why?”

Russell: “Sometimes you hold onto it a little bit . . . You never want to be sacked that many times. 400 times is way too many, 400 too many. That’s a big thing that we got to fix. It’s got to be fixed and has to be . . . “

And Then the Tweets Pour In

Breaking News:

Russell Wilson doesn’t like getting sacked. He wants to be more involved in team-personnel decisions. He wants what Tom Brady and LeBron James have. Name one great player, of any sport, who doesn’t fancy self ownership — more player control. That player doesn’t exist. More than ever players want organizational trust — they demand it. If a player has won seven Super Bowls, as Brady has, respect is given because it has been earned. Talent attracts talent. Players want to be a part of winning teams and understand they cannot do it alone. Veterans begin to prioritize championships over lucrative contracts. It’s Brady’s success on the football field that enchants players like Rob Gronkowski and Leonard Fournette. There’s six ring-shaped reasons why Antonio Brown chose Brady over Wilson in the 2020 offseason.

Of course, Wilson deserves respect, too. He’s the fastest quarterback to 100 wins. He’s also among the highest paid at his position. The Seahawks have financially rewarded him for his elite play. Dan Patrick reported that the Chicago Bears offered three first round picks, a third round pick, and two unnamed starters that Pete Carroll ultimately rejected. This organization values Wilson. The Seahawks didn’t want him to bring this to the media — that’s no surprise — but he purposefully chose the loudest microphone. That’s his leverage. He wants his voice heard, and he knew his relationship with Carroll and John Schneider could withstand the heat. He doesn’t want to waste his precious years in the NFL. It’s called applying pressure on an employer.

Many pundits are covering this story as if Pete and Russell’s relationship is broken. That Jody Allen needs to choose between Pete or Russ. That these two can’t coexist. Really, Russell just wants to be more involved. He doesn’t want to leave this organization, but he also wants his role to grow. It’s a tricky balance for a professional sports team to maintain. But come on, look at these love birds.

Let’s bring it back to the other pillar supporting this bonanza:

“I’m frustrated with getting hit too much.”

Air that dirty laundry for the world to smell. Throw those large bodies under that proverbial bus. Pin the headline and watch the fracture spread.

My take: This quote is, and was, grossly taken out of context. It ignores Wilson’s love for Seattle. It ignores the blame he lays at his own feet. And it ignores his desire to remain a Seahawk. Most importantly, it ignores his own recount of the event.

Dan: “How long does it take before the Seahawks call you after the interview with me?”

Russell: “Maybe a couple hours, probably.”

Dan: “Just so you know I didn’t plan on bringing this up. I sort of stumbled onto it because I just wanted to know why you didn’t look like you were having a good time, and then it felt like you wanted or welcomed the opportunity to get this off your chest. Is that fair?”

Russell: “No. I think that more than anything else we had all the Man of the Year stuff that we had to do, and I think more than anything else we just had a dialogue, a conversation, and I think it definitely got blown out of proportion in terms of the moment and what it became which was a little unfortunate . . . “

Dan: “Is your relationship different with the Seahawks?”

Russell: “I would say it’s stronger. I think me and Pete have gotten even closer. We’ve always been super close. Pete and I have always had a great bond. We got to have a great heart to heart. He’s got goals and I’ve got goals and we want to do great things. To actually dive into those and really talk about those missions, those goals, it was fun. I think me and coach Carroll’s relationship is stronger than ever and I think that’s the best part about it and also my teammates . . . “

Dan: “Did you ever think you were going to be traded in the offseason?”

Russell: “I think anytime in sports there’s a potential of being traded. I think there’s always a real opportunity of that, but I’ve always wanted to be in Seattle. I’ve always loved being there and it’s a place I’ve always wanted to play and it’s been great.”

In truth, this is a good thing for the Seahawks long term. Wilson recruiting players to Seattle will only help the team. LeBron is brilliant on the court, but it’s his ability to bring in other great players that allows him to contend for championships every year. Wilson and the Seahawks can make this marriage last. He pursues greatness. This is the next step — assume control. Hand over the keys. LeBron’s career in Cleveland demonstrated how individual excellence can still produce results short of the ultimate goal. Russ knows he can help attract talent to Seattle and ultimately help build a stronger team.

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Winning Cures All

Yes, the Seahawks exited early in a disappointing 2020 playoff run, but they ended the regular season 12-4. This year, they were 2-2 with an opportunity to defeat the Rams in week 5, 2021. Then, Russell Wilson ruptures a tendon in his middle finger. He suffers a comminuted fracture-dislocation in his throwing hand — his bone broke into three or more pieces. They would narrowly lose against the Rams. The Seahawks proceeded to lose 20-23 in OT at Pittsburgh, lose 10-13 vs New Orleans, and win 31-7 vs Jacksonville. Wilson returns ahead of his expected injury timeline, because of course he does; however, they get shut out for the first time in a decade at Green Bay.

This isn’t Pete and his conservative play calling. This is Wilson missing a wide open D.K. Metcalf downfield against Jalen Ramsey and the Rams Week 15, and that’s okay. He just broke his throwing finger. It’s a lost season, and no one should expect otherwise.

The media doesn’t need to apply constant pressure on the relationship of Carroll and Wilson. These two have been at the helm of winning football for a decade. Injuries happen. This team doesn’t need to be blown up and restarted. The defense performed admirably, and I encourage everyone to read Corbin Smith’s: Overshadowed By Lousy Offense, Seahawks Defense Emerging As One Of The NFL’s Best. The Seahawks roster two elite receivers in Tyler Lockett and the aforementioned DeKaylin Zecharius Metcalf. And don’t count him out just yet, Rashaad Penny can ball. Yes, the Seahawks had a losing season, but they maintained their winning culture. I advise those paying attention to listen to all the players’ end of season press conferences. They praise Coach Carroll’s approach to the game. They have fun in Seattle, and they’re ready to run it back.

A Message to Russell Wilson

We love you. Your worth goes beyond money. You’re a kind soul and help spread love amongst humanity. The time you spend at the children’s hospital is especially charitable.

But consider this:

You want what Tom Brady has? Consider taking his contract. Brady has often signed team-friendly contracts to help ensure talent around him. Surely $10,000,000 would help sign more skillful free agents. How important is winning to you, Russell?