Russell Wilson

Dunlap: Russell Wilson Assured He Will Stay With Seahawks

Russell Wilson‘s agent listed four teams that would be acceptable trade destinations, and the one of those franchises (the Bears) proceeded down that path. However, one of the Seahawks’ recent signings indicated the superstar quarterback plans to play next season in Seattle.

Despite being released earlier this offseason, Carlos Dunlap re-signed with the Seahawks on March 25. The veteran defensive end, a 2020 Seahawks trade acquisition, confirmed he asked Wilson if he would be back next season. Wilson assured Dunlap he would.

I did ask him if, obviously, he was going to be with us. Because if I’m coming back, I’m coming back because I see him as my quarterback — and the rest of the team. I want to pick up where we left off,” Dunlap said, via Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune. “And he told me that he’s with us and that he’s here to stay.”

Wilson is one of the few NFLers who can control his own fate, being in possession of a no-trade clause. If the 32-year-old passer intends to return, the Seahawks will surely accept that and move forward with another Wilson-centric team. While the Wilson trade rumors may not stop because of this, there has been some movement since the rumblings started in February.

The nine-year Seattle starter went public about his issues with the team, pinpointing offensive line issues publicly. He also wanted a greater say in how the team proceeded with its offensive coordinator search. The Seahawks did bring in a notable outside O-lineman, in ex-Raider guard Gabe Jackson, and included Wilson in an OC search that ended with Shane Waldron. Following a report indicating Wilson and Pete Carroll butted heads last season, the quarterback and head coach have spoken periodically this offseason as well. And the Bears’ efforts to acquire Wilson proved ineffective.

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Seahawks Shut Down Bears’ Russell Wilson Push

The Bears made a move to address their uncertain quarterback situation Tuesday afternoon. It was not the splash most Chicagoans likely wanted, but Andy Dalton has a connection with OC Bill Lazor and nine-plus years’ worth of starter experience.

However, Chicago did begin a “very aggressive” Russell Wilson pursuit, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Thus far, the Bears have been the team most closely connected to making a run at the somewhat disgruntled Seahawk, but Seattle has thus far rebuffed any trade inquiries. The Seahawks informed the Bears they are not trading Wilson at this time, Schefter adds.

The “at this time” part of this report certainly sticks out, but Wilson has not requested a trade and has spoken periodically with Pete Carroll during this saga. Wilson expressed frustration at points last season and made it known he would like the Seahawks to better address their offensive line. They have yet to do so during the legal tampering period, but the team did receive Wilson’s blessing when hiring OC Shane Waldron earlier this offseason.

Chicago now has Dalton and Nick Foles on its roster. While the team may well continue to try to acquire Seattle’s superstar QB, potentially including one of its veteran passers in a trade package that would need to be fronted by far better pieces, the Seahawks have put the Wilson-to-Chicago rumors to rest for the time being.

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Latest On Seahawks, Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson trade winds continue to blow, but this process may not reach that point in the near future. The Seahawks are not believed to be seriously listening to offers at this point, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link).

The Bears’ rumored push for Wilson has yet to move the needle for the Seahawks, Rapoport adds, though it is unclear if an offer has come from Chicago. The Seahawks have received calls on Wilson since around Super Bowl LV, after which he took his concerns about his situation public.

While Wilson and Pete Carroll were viewed to be at odds at points last season, the two Seattle power brokers have spoken periodically this offseason, Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com report (Insider link). This communication has not progressed to a sitdown meeting between the longtime coworkers, but it would back up talk about the Seahawks being uninterested in moving their franchise quarterback.

It would cost the Seahawks $39MM in dead money to deal Wilson before June 1 — by far a record dead-cap hit — and it would certainly be a major hit to the team’s contention hopes were it to unload the best quarterback in franchise history. Wilson has not formally requested a trade but has identified four destinations. Three of those — the Bears, Raiders and Saints — would remain viable, with the Cowboys having extended Dak Prescott last week.

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NFC West Notes: Seahawks, Watt, 49ers

Following a season in which the Seahawks failed to reach the NFC championship game for a sixth straight year, Russell Wilson set about communicating his goals for what he views as the second half of his career with his camp. Those goals center around returning the Seahawks to a Super Bowl-caliber team. Wilson then brought those to Pete Carroll, per Albert Breer of SI.com, who notes the perennial Pro Bowl passer communicated he wants more say regarding the direction of the team.

Wilson also mentioned to Carroll he would like the Seahawks to make a genuine investment in a high-end offensive lineman, Breer adds. The Seahawks did trade for Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown in 2018, but he will turn 36 this year and is signed only through 2021. And they have not otherwise made big moves on their offensive front in recent years. Beyond guard Damien Lewis, the Seahawks could certainly use more help up front. One of Wilson’s goals — a new offensive philosophy — has come to pass, with Breer adding Wilson was “fully on board” with new OC Shane Waldron.

For what it’s worth, the 32-year-old quarterback does not expect to be traded. But he has, as you may have heard, revealed a destination list. And the Bears are taking that quite seriously. Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • The Seahawks have a few of their defensive contributors on track for free agency. One of those UFAs-to-be, Shaquill Griffin, is not certain he will return to Seattle. “I would love to be back in Seattle, but I know there’s a business aspect behind it,” Griffin said during an appearance on the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football (via OregonLive.com). “But that organization knows I love it over there — the fans and coaches know how much I love Seattle. But at the end of the day, I know it’s strictly business.” This puts him in a similar position to K.J. Wright, who wants to stay but not on a hometown discount. The Seahawks have less than $5MM in cap space, so the franchise will need to create a bit more cap room going into free agency.
  • In order to preserve some cap space in a year in which the cap is expected to decline for only the second time ever, the Cardinals structured J.J. Watt‘s contract unusually. Watt’s two-year, $28MM deal ($31MM max value, via incentives) will only count $4.9MM on Arizona’s 2021 cap sheet, per OverTheCap. The Cards have tacked on three void years to prorate Watt’s signing bonus. Those years will void in 2023, creating $7.2MM in dead money, CBS Sports’ Joel Corry tweets. With the cap expected to go up again starting in 2022, it is not surprising to see the Cardinals opt to preserve cap space this year and worry about additional charges down the line. They still hold $12MM-plus in cap room; that sits in NFL’s top half.
  • Even though Trent Williams has expressed interest in staying in San Francisco, the 49ers are unlikely to keep the decorated left tackle off the market. Williams cannot be tagged. Were Williams to depart, the 49ers would have a major void up front. They should not be considered a destination for disgruntled Ravens tackle Orlando Brown, per Matt Barrows of The Athletic, who notes Brown’s 345-pound frame and mobility issues make him a poor fit for Kyle Shanahan‘s scheme (subscription required). The Ravens are listening to offers on Brown, who wants to play left tackle.

Bears Plan To Pursue Russell Wilson Trade

The Bears are taking their status as one of Russell Wilson‘s acceptable destinations seriously. They plan to prioritize making a run at the Seahawks quarterback, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune notes.

Wilson’s agent listed the Bears, Cowboys, Raiders and Saints as the teams for whom he would agree to waive his no-trade clause. The Seahawks passer has made it clear he is not happy with the present state of affairs in Seattle. For the first time, envisioning the nine-year veteran quarterbacking another team does not seem foolish.

As of now, the Seahawks do not want to trade Wilson, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes. It would tag Seattle with a record $39MM in dead money to make such a trade, assuming a deal commenced before June 1. Wilson has not officially requested a trade, but the way this developing saga has played out, that news would not be especially surprising. Of course, it would take a monster offer to pry Wilson from the team that drafted him.

Chicago still has Nick Foles under contract, and the journeyman QB may still loom as a fallback option for a Bears team that has featured a need at quarterback for much of the past 30 years. The Bears were involved in the Carson Wentz and Matthew Stafford sweepstakes, being tied more closely to the former. But no offer emerged, and Wentz is now a Colt. Chicago has not been closely connected to Deshaun Watson, though it would seem the team would love to be involved in those sweepstakes.

Wilson would carry far more trade value than either Stafford or Wentz, and with the Bears not having a viable QB1 to include in a trade and holding the No. 20 overall pick, presenting an offer the Seahawks would entertain will be difficult. Other options for the Bears include signing a stopgap-type QB to fill free agent Mitchell Trubisky‘s spot or drafting one in the first round, Biggs adds. Though, it is possible the team would need to trade up to land one of the top five QBs in this year’s draft pool.

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Seahawks Notes: Wilson, Carroll, Dunlap

One of the reasons for the trade rumors swirling around Seahawks QB Russell Wilson — and perhaps the primary reason — is Wilson’s relationship with head coach Pete Carroll, which appears to be strained. Apparently, his relationship with Carroll’s sons hasn’t been much better.

According to a tweet from The Athletic, Wilson believes Carroll and his sons, Nolan and Brennan, answer to no one (Nolan serves as the team’s WRs coach, and Brennan had been working as the run game coordinator before accepting a position at the University of Arizona). And, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes, Wilson is 100% correct.

Former owner Paul Allen “stayed deep in the background” when he was alive, and his sister, Jody Allen, has largely done the same since she inherited the team. Some league sources believe the Seahawks are essentially run by the Allens’ parent company, Vulcan Inc., which in turn defers to the head coach as the club’s de facto CEO. So while Jody Allen could intervene in light of the Wilson trade rumblings, her track record suggests that she will not do so, and that Pete Carroll will ultimately be the one to decide whether to deal Wilson.

While Wilson himself has said he does not expect to be dealt, Florio believes the 32-year-old will ultimately request a trade either this year or next. If QB and HC do not mend fences soon, it’s easy to envision such a scenario.

Now for more from the Emerald City:

  • Unlike Florio, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com does not believe Wilson will be traded. One of the reasons for that is the fact that — as our Sam Robinson wrote several days ago in the piece linked above — a trade will leave $39MM in dead money on the Seahawks’ cap. While a post-June 1 trade will allow the team to spread out that hit and actually create $19MM in 2021 space, Seattle is lacking a first-rounder and third-rounder this season, so a Wilson trade might be more beneficial if it happened prior to this year’s draft and not after June 1.
  • Still, Henderson believes the ‘Hawks will make a trade that both sheds some salary — the team has less than $8MM of cap space relative to the $180MM floor — and adds some much-needed draft capital. There is no indication as of yet that Seattle will look to trade players like Carlos Dunlap, Bobby Wagner, or Jamal Adams, but Henderson could see it happening.
  • As of now, though, Henderson predicts that the club will cut Dunlap and look to re-sign him to a less expensive contract — the former Bengal is due to carry a $14.1MM cap hit in 2021 — while restructuring the contract of franchise icon Wagner and extending 2020 trade acquisition Adams.
  • Proven performance escalators for several 2018 draftees have played a role in Seattle’s cap crunch. Since he earned a Pro Bowl nod in his rookie season, punter Michael Dickson has a $3.384MM salary for 2021 — the amount of the second-round RFA tender — while cornerback Tre Flowers is due to earn $2.183MM since he met the snap count requirement for the Level One PPE (Twitter link via Henderson). If you need a refresher, OverTheCap.com offers a comprehensive explanation of PPEs.
  • Presently, the Seahawks’ highest draft choice is their second-rounder (No. 56 overall). Given the state of the club’s offensive line, and Wilson’s recent comments in that regard, most mocks have Seattle selecting an OL with that pick, as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times observes. Ohio State guard Wyatt Davis and Tennessee guard Trey Smith would be worthy Day 2 selections.

The Only NFL Players With No-Trade Clauses

It’s fairly common for disgruntled NFL players to give their teams a short list of acceptable trade destinations. However, it’s still quite rare for players to hold contractual veto power over a trade. Currently, there are only nine NFL players with a no-trade clause in their deals, as ESPN.com’s Field Yates tweets

▪️ Drew Brees, QB (Saints)
▪️ Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, OL (Chiefs)
▪️ Jimmy Garoppolo, QB (49ers)
▪️ Jimmy Graham, TE (Bears)
▪️ DeAndre Hopkins, WR (Cardinals)
▪️ Patrick Mahomes, QB (Chiefs)
▪️ Deshaun Watson, QB (Texans)
▪️ J.J. Watt, DL (Cardinals)
▪️ Russell Wilson, QB (Seahawks)

The Chiefs, who represent 25% of the list, furnished LDT with a NTC as a part of his contract restructure. Historically, there haven’t been many offensive lineman to secure the clause. However, Duvernay-Tardif had a bit of leverage in 2020 when the Chiefs needed extra cap room. He was scheduled to count for nearly $9MM, $6.45MM of which was comprised of base salary. Instead, he converted some of that money into a signing bonus over the remaining three years and came away with a perk typically reserved for quarterbacks.

Watson and Wilson are among the QBs who can block trades. They’re both putting it to use, albeit in different ways. Watson wants out — even after finally meeting with new head coach David Culley – and he’s steering himself towards a small group of teams, including the Dolphins and Panthers. Wilson, meanwhile, says that he doesn’t want to get traded and doesn’t expect to get traded. But, if the Seahawks do shop him, he wouldn’t mind joining up with the Bears, Cowboys, Saints or Raiders. In beating out several other teams for Watt, the Cardinals included the clause in the star defender’s contract.

Russell Wilson Not Expecting To Be Traded; QB Clashing With Pete Carroll?

The Seahawks have run into a seminal issue with their franchise quarterback, with trade destinations coming out Thursday. At this point, Russell Wilson does not expect the Seahawks to trade him, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets, though multiple NFL executives believe the team will make the decorated quarterback available.

This rift between Wilson and the team stems from several factors. A central component in Wilson’s frustration is Pete Carroll‘s insistence on an offense that features the run more than most NFL attacks do, and The Athletic’s Michael-Shawn Dugar, Mike Sando and Jayson Jenks report Wilson and Carroll have clashed over the past several months on both the Seahawks’ philosophy and personnel (subscription required).

Following a midseason stretch that featured seven Wilson turnovers in two losses, the Seahawks reverted to a more balanced offense. They then finished the regular season with wins in six of their final seven games to post a 12-4 record — the team’s best mark since 2014. Prior to the turnaround, however, Seahawks coaches dismissed Wilson’s ideas for how to repair a suddenly ailing offense, according to The Athletic. This led to Wilson storming out of a meeting.

Wilson fell well off the MVP pace on which he started the season, after he threw 26 touchdown passes in Seattle’s first seven games, and closed the year with an 11-for-27 performance against the Rams in a wild-card loss. After the season, Wilson expressed dissatisfaction with the Seahawks’ offensive line plan publicly. But that came after the nine-year veteran went to Carroll on this matter — one that had bothered him for years. Carroll’s insufficient response to Wilson’s O-line-related concerns, in the 32-year-old passer’s eyes set off the public commentary that has led to trade rumors, per The Athletic.

The Seahawks have not put a tremendous amount of resources into their offensive line in recent years, and Wilson has taken 394 sacks — the most by any quarterback through his first nine seasons. QBs, of course, bear responsibility for sacks alongside offensive linemen.

Past flirtations with trades or other quarterbacks have pushed this situation to this point as well. The Seahawks’ trade talks with the Browns in 2018 — however brief they were — led to Wilson’s 2019 extension containing a no-trade clause. GM John Schneider being on-hand for Josh Allen‘s pro day factored into Wilson’s situation as well, and The Athletic adds that Schneider’s fascination with Patrick Mahomes would have led to the Seahawks taking him had he fallen to them at No. 26 — an unrealistic scenario based on the future MVP’s pre-draft rise — in the 2017 draft. The Cardinals and Saints were prepared to draft Mahomes ahead of the Seahawks.

Beyond the four teams that Wilson’s agent mentioned today as trade destinations his client would approve — the Bears, Cowboys, Saints and Raiders — The Athletic’s report indicated Wilson’s camp discussed trades to the Dolphins and Jets with the Seahawks. Considering both teams’ draft capital and their respective links to Deshaun Watson, it makes sense they would be connected to Wilson as well. It is certainly notable that they were omitted in Mark Rodgers’ Thursday comments, however. The Seahawks have yet to approach Wilson about any potential trades, Fowler notes.

Wilson’s $35MM-per-year contract runs through the 2023 season. It would tag the Seahawks a record $39MM in dead money were they to trade Wilson before June 1, per Spotrac (on Twitter), with a post-June 1 trade defraying $26MM of the hit to 2022. To avoid such a scenario becoming the lead trade in a seismic offseason for quarterback movement, the Seahawks and Wilson may have some fence-mending to do in the coming weeks.

Seahawks’ Russell Wilson Open To Cowboys, Saints, Raiders, Bears

Russell Wilson has not demanded a trade, agent Mark Rodgers tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). However, the quarterback has told the Seahawks that if a trade were to be considered, he would be willing to join the Cowboys, Saints, Raiders, or Bears. Wilson, armed with a no-trade clause, will not consider any team outside of that group. 

The Jets, Dolphins, and Panthers have been heavily linked to Deshaun Watson and would surely be interested in Wilson. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t make the cut. Ditto for the Broncos, Patriots, 49ers, and the Washington Football team, who were runners-up for Matthew Stafford. Of course, it’d be difficult to imagine Wilson in San Francisco, anyway.

Given the Bears’ recent struggles, their inclusion on Wilson’s short list is a bit surprising. Ditto for the Raiders, though they could parlay their current top two quarterbacks — Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota — into additional offensive support for Wilson. The Saints would be especially intriguing for Wilson, though Drew Brees has yet to make his retirement official. Meanwhile, Wilson-to-the-Cowboys would spin this year’s quarterback carousel out of orbit and send Dak Prescott elsewhere.

Wilson, 32, has been the face of the Seahawks for years. He’s also been sacked at an alarming rate. Recently, Wilson expressed frustration with the Seahawks’ inability to protect him. As a pro, Wilson has been sacked 394 times with 40+ sacks in each season since his rookie year.

The Seahawks furnished Wilson a brand new deal less than two years ago. Today, his average annual value of $35MM/year makes him the third-highest paid player in the NFL. So far, the Seahawks have rejected all trade inquiries on him, but that hasn’t stopped teams from trying.

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More Teams Contacting Seahawks On Russell Wilson

Amid a complex quarterback trade landscape, the Seahawks continue to receive calls on a player who was not expected to be part of it coming into the offseason.

As Russell Wilson continues to voice dissatisfaction about his situation, more teams have called the Seahawks about their quarterback’s trade availability, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes (video link). Thus far, the Seahawks continue to rebuff teams’ interest in the perennial Pro Bowl passer.

Despite the QB trade market including Matthew Stafford, Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson (and others, like Sam Darnold and Marcus Mariota, on the fringes), Wilson has become the biggest-name player to be linked to a prospective trade. However, the Seahawks have shut down inquiries at each turn. That said, they are not exactly thrilled about their nine-year quarterback’s recent run of comments centering around the state of his offensive line.

Wilson has wanted a bigger say in personnel matters for years, per Pelissero. The Seahawks included Wilson in their offensive coordinator search, which ended with Rams assistant Shane Waldron coming north to replace Brian Schottenheimer, and have him under contract on a $35MM-per-year deal through 2023. That contract contains a no-trade clause.

The Colts and Bears have been the teams primarily linked to Wentz; both were in on the Stafford sweepstakes. The Jets, Dolphins and Panthers have been the teams in the center of a potential Watson derby, and Washington, Denver, New England and San Francisco were also in on Stafford. (Though, the 49ers can safely be ruled out of any Wilson discussion, should this developing saga progress to the point of offers.) Other teams would likely come to the table for Wilson. At 32, Wilson is only a few months younger than Stafford, despite entering the league three years later. But the Seattle QB1 would certainly drive more interest given his accomplishments and consistency.

While Wilson has not requested a trade like Watson has, this long-stable situation certainly qualifies as one to monitor in a busy offseason at the game’s premier position.

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