A Seahawk Season For Change Part Two: My Case For Russell Wilson

Why not you, Russ?

Dear Seattle Seahawk Fan,

This is Part Two of a series that I am going that will make arguments in favor of key individuals in the Seattle Seahawks organization now that a losing season is upon us, and an off-season of some significant changes could be well in order.

In the first part of this series, I championed Pete Carroll, and why he should remain as the head coach of this team. if you haven’t had a chance to read it, you can by clicking here.

This one focuses in on Russell Wilson, who has been my guy for years, but I get the many beefs peeps have against him. I really do.

I know well what many are thinking with their criticisms. Russell Wilson hasn’t played that well this year and he makes $35 million annually to play professional quarterback at an elite level. I’m sure some of you are reading this write now and thinking to yourself that he hasn’t actually played well enough for about a season and a half now. I wouldn’t argue against that, either.

Many folks look at his third down stats over the years, and how spotty (at best) he’s been there. I think the fact that he doesn’t check down to the open receivers enough also probably bothers the masses just like it bothers me.

I’m sure there’s times when ya’ll just want to see him run for yardage instead of continuing to look down field while eating a sack. That last thing induces fits of supreme annoyance from me every single game, almost.

I bet many of you might also be reading all the headlines that the New York Giants might be willing to trade away their two first round picks that will be in the top ten of this years draft (and change), and you are convincing yourself more and more that Daniel Jones in Seahawk blue won’t look that bad next year as a cheap game manager. It’s a thought that crossed my mind a time or two.

Honestly, I get all this.

It’s a very tempting thought of trading Russ now, especially if the Giants become desperate enough to toss in.. oh, say.. Saquon Barkley, cornerback James Bradberry, and defensive tackle Leonard Williams just to out compete the Eagles and Saints and Broncos for RW3’s services, if there’s a bidding war. If that happens, I’d be beyond tempted to make that deal. Seattle has a lot of holes on their roster, and that haul would fill and upgrade a lot of those needs.

Here’s the thing that continues to make me push the pause button on all of this talk though. Suppose the Giants were desperate enough to make that offer? What does that say about Russell Wilson and what does that say about Daniel Jones?

I think the clearest answer to those questions is that the league views Russell Wilson, at age 33 and having an off year (probably largely due to injury), as being an elite quarterback capable of carrying a team on a championship run, if used correctly. This would all be confirmed if the Seahawks float him on the trade market after the Super Bowl, and there is a multi team bidding war that creates this type of offer as mentioned above.

So, if this then happens, wouldn’t a better idea be for Seattle to hang onto their star passer and just do whatever necessary to make him happy?

If people are making the argument that he is a poor fit for Seattle because Pete Carroll wants to be a run first team and play good defense, but then, in the same breath of a sentence, say he would work well in a Sean Payton or Andy Reid scheme somewhere else, well then, why not simply bring that scheme and coach up here to the PNW?

Why not lure Sean Payton to Seattle, or bring in Doug Peterson who is from the Andy Reid tree?

If you are so hung up on what Seattle could land with two top ten picks for Russ this Spring, why not just look more at what they could land in free agency with a more determined effort to finally spend extra on quality players instead of bargain shopping for former first round flame outs to see if there is still talent left to uncork cheaply?

Lets say Payton comes up here, and creates a scheme that he thinks will suit all of which Russ does well, and with what could be become a ton of cap space available, Payton brings into town his free agent pro bowl left tackle, Terron Armstead for the next four to five years. Additionally, maybe he even brings in center Ryan Jensen from the Bucs, and pries defensive tack Sebastian Joseph-Day away from the Rams, and edge rusher Dante Fowler comes in and pairs up with Darrell Taylor.

With a new offensive minded head coach committed to fully taking advantage all that Russ does well, and four very quick free agent signings, Seattle could finally get back to being a team that is built up in the trenches and would have in possession that one thing that most NFL clubs are annually looking for, a true franchise quarterback.

This is the place where I always circle back to whenever I play out the scenarios of whether, if push comes to shove, Jody Allen needs to choose between Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson due to whatever unresolved philosophical frictions between the two. As much as I love Pete Carroll (I do), if I have to choose between a 33 year old franchise quarterback, and a seventy year old head coach, I can see an extremely easy case to be made to choose the passer (even with his current flaws), and figure it out with him.

I look at it this way. It’s fun to fantasize about Pete Carroll working with Saquon Barkley and better built up offensive and defensive lines in Seattle with Daniel Jones playing game manager (or Jameis Winston if Seattle wants to bring him in, as well). I enjoy the powerful run game and play stout defense thing-y as much as anyone, and would enjoy seeing this team back into the playoffs playing that sort of clearly defined and dedicated way again. I think it’s good football, if you have the right pieces in place.

But if I have to watch Seattle continuing its annual early departure from the playoffs for the next four years under Pete, while Russell Wilson and the New York Giants are routinely playing in championship games, that is going to leave an incredibly poor taste in my mouth as a fan, and if Seattle doesn’t make the playoffs while Russ does, it will be considerably worse. Just saying.

This is the thought I have that stops me in my tracks of clamoring for a Russell Wilson trade just so we can all get back to better Pete Ball with a cheaper solution at quarterback. The idea that Russ will be playing in championships somewhere else, and we won’t be, and Pete will retire in a few short years, and Seattle will be left hanging.. looking for a quarterback, and a head coach, as well. Gross.

Yeah, that’s an awful thought, right there.

So, while it would be fun to see maybe a big time interior rusher in Seahawks blue, along with a Barkley type running the ball, it’s all not likely to matter much, if this team doesn’t have a legit franchise quarterback. Russell Wilson is that guy. That’s why the Chicago Bears offered three first round picks for him last Spring, and why we could see multiple teams going ever further with offers this Winter.

I see a lot of comments on Twitter about how Russ isn’t nearly as fast anymore, and once his legs go, he won’t be able to cut it. I think those are comments from folks working hard to build cases against him being in Seattle. Sure, he’s not nearly as fast as he was in 2012, but he’s still quick enough to slip by a rush (if he isn’t weirdly spinning himself into a sack), and if Tom Brady can figure a way to get quicker as he has aged (he has), I’m sure a workaholic like Russ will figure that way out for himself, as well (he most likely will).

In fact, I would place more of a bet on Russ continuing to have a long productive career than I would that his career falling apart quickly because his wheels come off. Call me naive, but I just don’t see that as a very likely thing.

I would bet he has about six to eight years left of top end play, and he just needs to pair with a head coach who will hammer the details more, push him harder than Pete Carroll maybe does, and will create a scheme that will lean the furthest into his strengths. In my opinion, Russ has never had that in Seattle, and I think it makes a ton of sense to try that here with him first before shipping him off just to get a punch of draft picks.

If Andy Reid was able to alter his traditional west coast offensive that he ran for years with Alex Smith and others to a more vertical spread attack that better suits the unique talents of Patrick Mahomes, then a good offensive mind should be able to muster up something that best suits Russ. My guess is that there will be teams this off-season targeting Russell Wilson with that sort of plan in mind.

So why not simply do that here in Seattle?

It’s a very fair question to ask, and it’s one that I would think ownership is more than likely considering these days. We will see soon enough where this all goes.

Before I end this argument for RW3, I would like to quickly address this CBS Sports report from Jason La Confora that appeared this Sunday. It basically states that Russell has no intention of signing a fourth contract with the Seahawks, even with a coaching change occurring.

My sense is that the information in this article was leaked to La Confora by Seattle’s front office simply because it mentions a clear divide between those in the organization who believe the team needs a major roster rebuild and see Russ as the biggest chip in landing the picks and players to do it, and Pete Carroll, who doesn’t want to trade Russ and be a part of any rebuild at age 70. Personally, I found this report pretty revealing in terms of the many divides within the club, and it’s very obvious that there are those in this clubhouse who want that division known to the public.

If all this is true that Russ has no intention on signing another deal, I can honestly see the logic on trading him if the right deal is offered. This, in my mind, is why you can move on from a premiere passing talent with the right moves that would follow.

However, it should also be noted that while Russ’s contract ends after the 2023 season, Seattle could elect to use the franchise tag on him two years in a row until it becomes too cost prohibitive to do if for a third and final year that the tag method is an available option. That would mean that Russ could easily kept here in Seattle for four more seasons, all the way to 2025, the same year Pete’s contract ends with the club.

If I had to bet exactly where Pete’s head is in all of this, I think he’s seeing an easy path where he can keep Russ in Seattle for as long as he’s intending to coach. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported last week that, even though Russ and Pete have philosophical differences on how the offense should run, both men remain tight with each other, and are on good terms.

So with all the smoke coming out of New York about the Giants making a serious run at Russ, if Jody Allen isn’t going to make any coaching change, it’s not totally inconceivable that Pete could dig his heels in again, and the dynamic coach/quarterback duo return back for another run year with a bit more tweaking of the offense to appeal to the plucky passer.

If that happens, maybe it will be general manager John Schneider who will be looking for his exit. That will be my Part Three piece in this series.

Go Hawks.


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