Russell Wilson

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson Was Willing To Rework Deal

Russell Wilson may have denied that he asked for a trade, but he did make one acknowledgement today. The Seahawks quarterback told reporters that he approached the team about restructuring his contract (via ESPN’s Brady Henderson on Twitter).

[RELATED: Russell Wilson Denies He Requested Trade]

“We’ve talked about it,” Wilson said (via SI.com). “Pete and I have talked about it for sure. Me and him had a long conversation about it, I brought it up and he talked about it too and we both, you know, in the sense of just doing whatever it takes to win. … If the situation calls for it. Like I said, winning’s everything.”

This wouldn’t be the first time Wilson has reworked his deal; as Henderson notes, Wilson and the organization pulled off a similar move in 2017. For Wilson, the move makes plenty of sense; he’s helping the team’s books while taking little risk in converting signing bonus to salary. It’s a bit more complicated for the organization. While the team could have easily saved around $12MM in space this offseason by making a simple tweak to Wilson’s contract, the team would be compromising future flexibility in what’s already an uncertain future at the position.

Plus, as Pete Carroll noted, the organization found other ways to the open up the necessary cap space for signings and draft picks, making the whole conversation about a Wilson restructuring irrelevant.

“As always, we have all of the options available to us,” Carroll said recently (via Peter Socotch of NBC Sports Northwest). “We have talked about all of that, as we do every year. What are our possibilities? Where do we need to go? What do we need to do, if we get to certain levels of need to stay in compliance (with the cap)?”

Wilson still has three seasons and $69 million remaining on his contract. The 32-year-old earned his eighth-career Pro Bowl nod in 2020 after completing a career-high 68.8-percent of his passes for 4,212 yards and a career-high 40 touchdowns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Russell Wilson Denies He Requested Trade

The Seahawks’ foundation may well be stronger than it appeared a few months ago. Late in an offseason in which Russell Wilson was mentioned in trade rumors, the 10th-year quarterback appears comfortably in the fold with his team.

Although Wilson said the list of acceptable trade destinations — Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, New Orleans — his agent revealed was accurate, the superstar quarterback added that he never requested a trade out of Seattle (Twitter link via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta). While identifying prospective trade partners can be considered in the trade-request realm, Wilson attempted to differentiate the two Thursday.

Wilson’s issues with Pete Carroll and the Seahawks’ offensive line came to light this offseason. But the 32-year-old passer said he and his head coach are in a good place and that he engaged in offseason talks with GM John Schneider and team president Chuck Arnold following the trade rumblings, per Condotta (Twitter links). Wilson attributed his winter comments about the offensive line to “frustration” and noted Thursday that he bears some of the blame for the protection issues, Condotta tweets.

Continuing to diffuse the situation, Wilson said he has “always wanted to play” in Seattle and that he would like to stay in the Pacific Northwest for the remainder of his career, Condotta and ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson note (Twitter links). Wilson, whom the Bears attempted to acquire via trade, is under contract through 2023.

The Seahawks gave Wilson input into their offensive coordinator search, which ended with Rams assistant Shane Waldron coming in to replace Brian Schottenheimer, and traded for seven-year Raiders starting guard Gabe Jackson. While Seattle’s offensive front does not look like a top-tier unit, Jackson’s presence should help. The Seahawks also selected a prospective No. 3 wide receiver — Western Michigan’s D’Wayne Eskridge — with their top draft choice.

Through a big-picture lens, this saga may not be finished. But for 2021, Wilson departure drama looks to have ceased. The seven-time Pro Bowler, who informed multiple Seahawks free agents he was not going anywhere, gave no indication any franchise-altering trade will take place in the near future.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks’ Russell Wilson Reports To OTAs

Seahawks star Russell Wilson will be on hand for the Seahawks’ voluntary offseason team activities (Twitter link via Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN). Wilson has been upset with the team’s inability to build a strong offensive line around him, but it appears that he’s now on the same page with Pete Carroll & Co. 

The Seahawks haven’t exactly overhauled the O-Line, but they did trade for talented right guard Gabe Jackson. They also explored a trade for Julio Jones to give Wilson another weapon alongside D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, but the Titans beat them to the punch on Sunday. So, while Wilson didn’t get everything he wanted, it seems like he’s willing and ready to stay in Seattle. That’s consistent with what he told newcomer Carlos Dunlap, who re-signed with the team in March.

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. “And he told me that he’s with us and that he’s here to stay.”

Wilson is one of less than ten players in the NFL to hold a no-trade clause. With that leverage, he told the Seahawks that he’d be willing to play for the Bears, Raiders, Saints, or Cowboys. Ultimately, nothing came of that — the Seahawks rebuffed every call to keep their franchise QB and avoid a whopping $39MM in dead money on the cap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks Interested In Julio Jones

Add another team to the Julio Jones sweepstakes. This morning, we learned that the Rams and Titans have discussed a Jones trade with the Falcons, with Tennessee being viewed as the likeliest landing spot. But as Dianna Russini of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter), the Seahawks have also talked trade with Atlanta. Russini adds that Seattle QB Russell Wilson and Jones have spoken about the possibility of playing together.

Earlier this year, Wilson was the subject of his own trade speculation, and one of the catalysts of those rumors was Wilson’s public dissatisfaction with his offensive line. The club acquired talented RG Gabe Jackson via trade but otherwise didn’t do a ton to supplement Wilson’s cadre of blockers. However, adding Jones to a WR corps that already includes D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett would probably make Wilson pretty happy, especially if new OC Shane Waldron implements a pass-heavy game plan.

Like several of Jones’ other suitors, the Seahawks do not possess a 2022 first-round choice. But most reporters are skeptical that the Falcons will actually get that type of value in a Jones trade, and it seems that a 2022 second-round pick is the more likely compensation. Seattle only had three selections in this year’s draft, which is reflective of the club’s willingness to move draft capital in exchange for proven talent, though if it were to deal its 2022 second-rounder, it would have to wait until Round 3 to pick its first collegiate player next year.

Plus, the ‘Hawks did select deep threat D’Wayne Eskridge in the second round of this year’s draft, and the team would need to create significant cap space to facilitate a Jones acquisition. So there are hurdles to be cleared if the Seahawks are serious about making a run at Jones, but it appears to be in the realm of possibility.

Meanwhile, reiterating his report from yesterday, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com says the division-rival 49ers are still a team to keep an eye on, and that the Ravens would be willing to get involved if the price is right (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks Notes: Wilson, Wagner, Wright

While the Russell Wilson saga never reached the point when it looked like the Pro Bowl quarterback was on the cusp of being traded, the 10th-year passer’s comments about the Seahawks’ offensive line and his list of acceptable trade destinations caused a stir. Trade talks never progressed far, and although Pete Carroll confirmed his quarterback’s frustration, the 12th-year Seattle HC views the Wilson trade buzz as over.

It seems like really old news to talk about this because it’s been such a long time,” Carroll said during an appearance on the Rich Eisen Podcast (via Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams). “The little bit he said carried so much air time that it became bigger than life. Throughout the whole process, Russell, we’ve always been connected. We’ve always been talking. A couple things that came out got magnified and the questions came out, and there was a couple things. He was frustrated when he was talking, just like any of us can sometimes emphasize something that’s on the top of our mind, and it can be played differently than it really played itself out.

… What it amounted to was I think a refocusing, making sure that we were on the same page, making sure that we were clear so that we could withstand any of the scrutiny that would come towards us, and we did that.”

Wilson did not expect to be traded this year, though this matter could resurface down the line. The Seahawks shut down the Bears’ trade push, after Wilson included Chicago on his four-city destination list, and both Chris Carson and Carlos Dunlap indicated the soon-to-be 33-year-old QB would be back in Seattle this coming season. Here is the latest out of the Pacific Northwest:

  • Wilson and Bobby Wagner‘s cap numbers combine to comprise more than $49MM — certainly a sizable chunk of the team’s payroll. The Seahawks could have moved to restructure one of their stars’ deals, but Carroll said (via 710 AM Seattle’s John Clayton) no such moves will be necessary this year. Making only three draft picks, without a first-round contract hitting the books, the Seahawks completed that part of their offseason and still have more than $7MM in cap space. While restructures could have helped the team in free agency, they obviously would have moved more money onto future caps. They are not expected to add a free agent on a deal worth more than the league minimum before training camp, Clayton notes.
  • Unless the Seahawks reach another agreement with K.J. Wright, Wilson and Wagner will take over as the team’s longest-tenured players. No indications point to Wright coming back, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes. Wright said earlier this year he would welcome another Seattle deal, but the 10-year veteran linebacker also was not prepared to take a hometown discount. The 32-year-old defender remains in free agency. After Pro Football Focus graded Wright as a top-10 off-ball ‘backer in 2020, he should receive an opportunity for an 11th season. But a big-money deal is highly unlikely at this juncture.
  • The Seahawks are trying Darrell Taylor at a new position. The 2020 second-round pick is, for the time being, moving from defensive end to outside linebacker, Condotta adds. Taylor spent his rookie year on Seattle’s reserve/NFI list, after undergoing offseason surgery on his shin. But the Seahawks traded up 11 spots to land the Tennessee product. The second-year defender was on the field at the Seahawks’ rookie minicamp last week. Taylor will be vying to start alongside Wagner and Jordyn Brooks, but a role as a Bruce Irvin-type hybrid player in the team’s 4-3 scheme should be expected, Condotta adds.

Extra Points: NFLPA, Lawrence, Seahawks

Over half of the league’s teams have now issued statements saying some or all of their players will sit out in-person offseason workouts. While those standoffs continue, we’ve got an adjacent update on the NFL’s COVID-19 policies. The NFLPA told players over the weekend that they’d no longer be subject to discipline for “high-risk COVID conduct,” a source told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link).

That includes things like going to bars and large indoor events. There some high profile discipline incidents for high-risk COVID conduct last season, perhaps most notably when Dwayne Haskins was fined and stripped of his captaincy after being photographed mask-less with strippers. As Pelissero points out, this means that the players who do decide to report to team facilities for in-person workouts won’t have to live in quarantine. Pelissero reports the NFL will still maintain the right to hand down discipline for violating protocols inside team facilities.

Here are a couple other notes from around the league on a quiet Sunday night:

  • Not that it’s any secret the Jaguars are taking Trevor Lawrence, but we’ve got some more info on what’s going down behind the scenes. Urban Meyer pretty much publicly acknowledged a couple weeks ago that the team would draft the Clemson passer first overall later this month, and it sounds like the budding relationship is going well. Jacksonville has been sharing elements of their offensive scheme and playbook with Lawrence to see what he can retain, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter video link). These zoom sessions have apparently been going well, as Lawrence has “impressed them” by “being able to talk like he’s already a member” of the team, Rapoport says.
  • There was a lot of drama surrounding Russell Wilson this offseason, which led to trade rumors, but it sounds like he’s been very engaged in the Seahawks’ offseason plans. Running back Chris Carson signed a two-year deal to stay in Seattle despite interest from a number of other teams, and he recently revealed that Wilson played a big role in recruiting him. “He was definitely in my ear,” Carson said, via John Boyle of the team’s official site. “We talked about it before the season ended that we didn’t want this to be the last year we played with each other. He definitely was in my ear during the offseason.” He also said fellow running back Rashaad Penny played a big role in recruiting him back. Wilson’s efforts here, as well as his recent reassurances to Carlos Dunlap, seem to indicate he isn’t planning on leaving the Seahawks anytime soon.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.