Russell Wilson

Seahawks To Retain HC Pete Carroll, GM John Schneider; Latest On QB Russell Wilson

Surviving Black Monday does not necessarily mean that a head coach or GM will keep his job (just ask Joe Judge). However, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider will officially be retained for 2022. Per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (Twitter link), Carroll and Schneider recently met with owner Jody Allen, and Allen was apparently convinced that retaining her team’s top power brokers was the best course of action.

In fact, it sounds like Carroll’s and Schneider’s status was never really in doubt. Mortensen added that the meeting was the usual end-of-season review with a look ahead to 2022, and that there was no discussion about job security.

That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. It was reported in December that Allen had become “very involved” in the Seahawks’ operation — which was a significant departure from her usual approach and that of her predecessor, the late Paul Allen — and that led to plenty of speculation that a major shakeup could be on the way. But from 2012-20, the ‘Hawks failed to post double-digit wins just once under Carroll and Schneider, and Seattle captured its first Lombardi Trophy during that span, coming just a whisper short of another. The club’s disappointing 2021 campaign, which saw quarterback Russell Wilson miss game action for the first time in his career, does not undo all of those accomplishments.

Now, all eyes will turn towards Wilson. The 33-year-old passer also had a little something to do with the Seahawks’ productive run in the 2010s, but trade chatter and rumors about his desire to leave Seattle have swirled for about a year now. Last week, we heard that the ‘Hawks plan to retain Wilson, and Mortensen’s above-referenced tweet said that “all systems are go” with respect to the QB, though the team wouldn’t say anything different at this point and risk losing leverage in trade talks.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported this morning that Wilson wants to at least “explore his options.” He has not demanded a trade, and he may not make such a demand, but he wants to see if another club might offer him opportunities that the Seahawks cannot. Last February, of course, his agent told the club that Wilson would waive his no-trade clause if he were to be dealt to the Cowboys, Bears, Raiders, and Saints, and in December, a report surfaced indicating that Wilson would approve a trade to the Broncos, Giants, or Saints.

Interestingly, when Carroll left his meeting with Allen, he appeared to acknowledge that a Wilson trade was a possibility. “Whatever is there, we got to exhaust every opportunity for our club and right from the owner, she wants us to take a look at every single opportunity to better the franchise,” he said. “That’s what we do. It’s going to take us some time to put it all together and we have a lot of difficult decisions to make this year.”

Carroll followed that statement, however, by saying, “I love this team. We’ve got the nucleus of a championship right here and we’re going to try to keep that together.”

In other words, Wilson’s future with the Seahawks will, as expected, be one of the top storylines of the offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks Plan To Keep Russell Wilson

Despite all the speculation, the Seahawks have no plans to trade Russell Wilson this offseason, according to team sources who spoke with NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo. However, the future of longtime head coach Pete Carroll remains in question.

Wilson went on record this week to reaffirm his loyalty to Seattle and his desire to win more championships for the Seahawks. But, in the past, he has been a vocal critic of the team’s offensive line issues. Just last year, Wilson told the Seahawks that he would accept trades to the Raiders, Bears, Cowboys, or Saints. For now, the Seahawks will pass on any trades with the belief that they’ll iron everything out between now and September.

Win or lose today, the Seahawks will finish with a sub-.500 record for the first time in Wilson’s tenure. Wilson, who missed three games with a broken finger, ranks in the middle of the pack in QBR with a 65.2% completion rate and 22 touchdowns against five interceptions.

Carroll, 70, has no retirement plans and hopes to stay in Seattle, Garafolo hears. Still, it’s not a given that the feeling is mutual. We may know more this week, when top front office officials meet with chairwoman Jody Allen to discuss the offseason ahead.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll

After an offseason in which Russell Wilson‘s long-term Seattle future suddenly became cloudy, the 10th-year quarterback suffered his first major injury. And he has not played to his usual standards upon return. The Seahawks will finish below .500 for the first time in his tenure.

Wilson is signed through 2023, though the events of this past offseason figure to put him back in trade rumors fairly soon. The decorated passer made an interesting comment regarding his Seattle status ahead of Week 17 as well.

I know you guys asked Bobby [Wagner] about ‘Could this be your last game?’ this and that and all that. I know for me personally, I hope it’s not my last game,” Wilson said of the prospect Sunday is his last home game as a Seahawk, via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta. “But at the same time, I know it won’t be my last game in NFL. So I’m just focused on the day and getting better today. And so that’s my focus. That’s my goal. I love this city, and I love this moment. I love these guys.”

Wilson, 33, offered this response unprompted, closing out 2021 with more uncertainty in Seattle. The Seahawks have some leverage with Wilson, having signed him to a four-year, $140MM extension in 2019. Wilson also holds a no-trade clause. Unlike Aaron Rodgers, Wilson did not stage a holdout this year. But the Seahawks are 5-10 and, barring a major trade, will not have a first-round pick in April.

Wagner’s comment about his Seahawks future centered around his $20.35MM cap number in the final year of his contract. The team is, however, projected to hold more than $55MM in cap space — a top-10 figure leaguewide. But, after the Seahawks entered this past offseason after a 12-4 season, they have bigger questions about their future a year later.

Pete Carroll‘s status may be somewhat in question, given this disappointing season coming after a slew of Wilson offseason headlines, but the 12th-year Seattle HC signed an extension barely a year ago. Carroll is locked up through 2025. The 70-year-old coach is also not viewed as ready to step away on his own accord, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. While this is Carroll’s first 10-loss season at any level since his first Jets slate in 1994, Breer adds ownership is not pleased with where the Seahawks football operation stands presently.

After Wilson listed the Raiders, Bears, Cowboys and Saints as teams he would approve a trade to, the Broncos, Giants and Saints appeared on a new list of sorts during the season. Wilson did call the initial report including these new teams a non-story. Nevertheless, how the Seahawks proceed will easily be one of the most fascinating situations to monitor entering 2022.

Indeed, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com says there is a “leaguewide feeling” that Wilson and Carroll will not be together next year. That’s not particularly surprising in light of everything we have heard so far, but as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk points out, Schefter’s report — which includes somewhat vague language — could be interpreted as a renewed attempt by Wilson’s camp to force Seattle’s hand. After all, it was Schefter to whom Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, released the statement last year that Wilson would be willing to waive his no-trade clause for a handful of teams, which is what precipitated the Bears’ efforts to acquire the seven-time Pro Bowler and the rampant chatter about his future.

One way or another, Florio believes the ‘Hawks will make a decision on Carroll before deciding how to handle the Wilson situation.

Rory Parks contributed to this post.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Seahawks QB Russell Wilson

We already expected the Russell Wilson trade rumors to swirl in the upcoming offseason, just as they did earlier this year, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com is helping to fan those flames before the calendar flips to 2022. Earlier this week, independent reporter Jordan Schultz said that the Seahawks’ franchise QB would consider waiving his no-trade clause for the Broncos, Giants, and Saints (Twitter link), and Rapoport’s sources have confirmed that report.

Underscoring the trade chatter that began in earnest in February was the fact that Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, told the Seahawks that, if the team were to consider a trade, Wilson would be open to the Cowboys, Saints, Raiders, or Bears. The Cowboys and Bears have since addressed their QB situations, and while it’s unclear what direction the Raiders will go in 2022, the Saints clearly still need quarterback help. Meanwhile, the Broncos and Giants profile as clubs that could seek an upgrade in the coming months, so it stands to reason that Wilson would add those outfits to his list.

As Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports recently pointed out, the Giants — who are presently slated to have two top-10 picks in the 2022 draft — have the resources to get a deal done, and the New York lifestyle is one that would appeal to Wilson and his celebrity wife, Ciara. Big Blue is likely to move on from GM Dave Gettleman, ownership is starting to get impatient with the Giants’ poor performance in recent years, and a Wilson trade could immediately propel the team back into contention.

The Broncos, of course, have been connected to both Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson, so GM George Paton would have to think long and hard about Wilson if the seven-time Pro Bowler is indeed open to a move to Denver. However, neither the Broncos nor the Saints presently have the draft capital that the Giants possess.

The latest reporting on the Seahawks’ mindset suggested that the club may be more amenable to moving Wilson in 2022 than it was in 2021, though as Rapoport writes, Seattle is still largely in control of the situation. Wilson is under contract through 2023, and the ‘Hawks could deploy the franchise tag after that if necessary.

On the other hand, Wilson could make life difficult for the team if he decides he wants to leave, and when asked about the Schultz report, he did not offer a denial of any kind. He said simply, “I’m focused on what we’re doing here. Obviously I love Seattle. This is a place I’ve loved every day, every moment.”

The 4-8 Seahawks will attempt to keep their slim playoff hopes alive by taking down the 2-10 Texans this afternoon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Evaluating Steelers’ 2022 In-House QB Options

After 18 years in the National Football League, it’s sounding more and more likely that the 2021-22 season will be Ben Roethlisberger‘s last. Over the last few years, Pittsburgh has taken stabs at potential replacements for Roethlisberger, usually utilizing late-round draft picks in hopes of molding a young prospect into a starter. But Roethlisberger potentially putting an end to his career when the season concludes places a lot more pressure on the Steelers to come up with a solution.

The easiest solution is to use the materials you already have. Pittsburgh currently has two quarterbacks on the active roster behind Big Ben and one on the injured reserve. Former first round pick Dwayne Haskins and Joshua Dobbs, currently on IR, both have contracts that expire at the end of the season, but it’s easier to have contract discussions with players already in the building than not.

Mason Rudolph is the team’s current primary backup. Rudolph beat out Dobbs for the second quarterback job and took over as the team’s starter in 2019 when Roethlisberger was ruled out for the season after an elbow surgery. Rudolph went 5-3 as the Steelers’ starter before getting benched for Devlin Hodges after struggling against a winless Bengals team. He completed 62% of his passes for 1,765 yards and threw 13 touchdowns to 9 interceptions on the year. Before the 2021 season, Rudolph signed a one-year extension, pushing his free agency back until after the 2022 season. Rudolph has appeared in one game this year, filling in as Roethlisberger was held out with COVID-19. In a game that resulted in a tie with the winless Lions, Rudolph completed 30 out of 50 pass attempts for 242 yards, throwing 1 touchdown and 1 interception.

Haskins was taken in the 2019 NFL Draft with the 15th overall pick by the Washington Football Team. He saw some game time for Washington in two games in the first 8 weeks of his rookie year, but earned his first start in Week 9 after the season’s original starter, Case Keenum, could not play with a concussion. Haskins took over the offense for every game but one for the rest of the season as he missed Week 17 with an ankle injury. Haskins retained the starting job to begin the 2020 season, but was benched in a Week 5 game against the Rams. He returned to the field when new starter Alex Smith left the game in Week 14 with an injury. Haskins started the next two games before being benched once again, this time for Taylor Heinicke. Haskins was released the next day due to some controversies with breaking COVID-19 protocols and not meeting the team’s standards off the field. In two years of play, Haskins completed 60% of his passes for 2,804 yards, throwing 12 touchdowns to 14 interceptions.

There are plenty of different directions Pittsburgh could go to replace Roethlisberger should this be his final season. While they haven’t quite proven to be world-beaters, Rudolph and Haskins do provide the Steelers with workable options that are already in the building. If the Steelers decide that they don’t think they can win a Super Bowl with the talent currently in their QB room, they’ll be sure to explore some options via free agency, trade, and the 2022 NFL Draft.

If the likes of Pitt’s Kenny Pickett, Ole Miss’s Matt Corral, North Carolina’s Sam Howell, or Liberty’s Malik Willis don’t pique the Steelers’ interest, Pittsburgh may look into a short-term free agent rental as they have in the past with quarterbacks Michael Vick and Bruce Gradkowski. Quarterbacks Jameis Winston, Andy Dalton, and Teddy Bridgewater are some of the bigger names set to hit the market this offseason that could delay the Steelers’ need to draft a quarterback until some more attractive prospects potentially surface in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Pittsburgh could also trade, as they did for Dobbs, with a number of quarterbacks rumored to be available for a price. Texans’ quarterback Deshaun Watson is obviously the most available option, due to a league investigation that could result in disciplinary action. 49ers’ quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has been rumored to be available due to the expected emergence of 2021’s No. 3 overall draft pick, Trey Lance. Garoppolo is not known to be flashy, but has still accomplished a 30-13 record as a starter in the NFL. Two other veterans that have shown a little frustration with their current squads and may be open to a trade are Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.

While Steelers’ management is certainly preoccupied right now with making the playoffs in a wild AFC, they will have much to consider when the season comes to an end. Whoever ends up under center for the Steelers in Week 1 of the 2022-23 NFL season, it will certainly be a change of pace for the franchise if the jersey doesn’t have fourteen letters across the top.

NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Darnold, Cowboys

Imagine a loaded Buccaneers offense with…Jonathan Taylor at running back. It could have been a possibility, as the Buccaneers had their eye on the Wisconsin product during the 2020 draft, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Bucs were armed with the No. 14 heading into that draft, and Taylor was on the “short list” of players the organization was considering with that selection. The team ended up with their preferred prospect, offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs, and they traded up to No. 13 to make sure they got the lineman. However, if Wirfs was off the board at that point in the draft, then Tampa Bay likely would have pivoted to Taylor, who didn’t hear his name come off the board until midway through the second round.

“I loved him,” Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said recently (via Schefter). “He could do it all, and it was just a matter of time — playing behind that offensive line — that he was going to be the force that he is.”

Taylor has obviously had a standout season with the Colts, leading the league with 1,348 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns (naturally, he’s also leading the NFL with 1,684 yards from scrimmage and 18 total scores). Of course, things have worked out fine for the Buccaneers. Wirfs has started all 28 of his career games, while the duo of Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones were more than capable during Tampa Bay’s 2020 Super Bowl run.

Some more notes out of the NFC…

  • Sam Darnold seems to be out of the picture in Carolina, but the Panthers still owe the quarterback $18.8MM in guaranteed money in 2022. The team already paid Denver $7MM to inherit Teddy Bridgewater, leaving the organization with $17MM in dead cap. As a result, Joseph Person of The Athletic believes Darnold will stick around as a high-priced backup vs. being involved in a salary dump. Person specifically cites a 2017 trade where the Texans attached a second-round pick to Brock Osweiler to dump his salary on Cleveland; league sources tell the reporter that “an Osweiler-type trade involving Darnold is unlikely.”
  • Cowboys senior defensive assistant George Edwards is a candidate for the head coaching job at his alma mater, Duke University, reports NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). Edwards was a four-year player for Duke, and he served as an assistant on the Duke staff way back in 1996. He’s had a long coaching career since that time, including a recent six-year stint as the Vikings defensive coordinator. Edwards has been a senior defensive assistant with the Cowboys since 2020. Duke parted ways with David Cutcliffe last month.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com recently tweeted the 10 highest salary cap hits for 2022, and the top three spots all belong to the NFC. Falcons QB Matt Ryan and his $48.7MM cap hit leads the way, following by Packers QB Aaron Rodgers at $46.1MM and Vikings QB Kirk Cousins at $45MM. Other NFC players on the list include Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (sixth, $37MM), Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (ninth, $34.5MM), and Lions QB Jared Goff (10th, $31.2MM).

Seahawks Owner Jody Allen Concerned With Team’s Performance

The Seahawks find themselves at 3-8 and at the bottom of the NFC West, and unless they run the table, they will post a losing record for the first time in the Russell Wilson era. As Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reports, owner Jody Allen does not consider the disappointing 2021 campaign — which saw Wilson miss games for the first time in his career — as a one-year blip (via Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk).

Allen inherited the team from her brother, Paul Allen, who passed away in October 2018. Like Paul, Jody has largely stayed in the background and has allowed head coach Pete Carroll to function as the de facto CEO. Garafolo, though, says that Allen has recently become “very involved” in the operation, which suggests that a major shakeup could be on the way.

Of course, trade rumors swirled around Wilson last offseason, and there has been speculation that the Seahawks could end up dealing their franchise signal-caller in 2022. Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus hears that if Wilson is still anxious to leave Seattle, he may not need to force his way out, as the club may be open to swinging a trade in the coming months. After all, the team is without a 2022 first-round draft choice as a result of the July 2020 Jamal Adams trade, and trading Wilson would doubtlessly yield a bounty of draft capital.

On the other hand, this year’s class of college QBs is not considered particularly strong, and Wilson’s bottom-line statistics in 2021 are consistent with his career marks. If Allen truly does believe a dramatic change is in order, then a trade might make sense, but it will be very difficult to pull that particular trigger.

The same goes for Carroll. Now 70, Carroll is signed through the 2025 season, and he said last September that he wanted to coach well into his 70s. It’s unclear if he would want to coach through a rebuild, though if the Seahawks end up trading Wilson and can find a way to adequately replace him, there may not be much (if any) rebuild to speak of. And unless Carroll wants to step away, either because of a strained relationship with ownership or some other reason, it is still hard to imagine Allen going in a different direction.

There is obviously a great deal of uncertainty here. The real story is that Allen has apparently deviated in a significant way from her own modus operandi and that of her predecessor. What that ultimately means for the Seahawks remains to be seen, but it is at least possible that significant changes could be on the way for one of the decade’s most consistent outfits.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Parsons, McAdoo, Giants

The Cowboys are more than happy that they landed on linebacker Micah Parsons with the 12th-overall pick in this year’s draft. Parsons has started each of his 11 games for Dallas, collecting 67 tackles, nine sacks, and two forced fumbles, and he’s the runaway favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year. However, if the Cowboys had had their way, they would have used their selection on a cornerback.

As Jon Machota of The Athletic writes, the team’s “original plan” was to select either South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn or Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II. However, those cornerbacks were scooped up at No. 8 and No. 9 respectively, forcing the front office to pivot. They ended up landing on the Penn State linebacker (after trading down), and the organization couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out.

Parsons explained to Machota how he continues to improve throughout his first season in the NFL.

“People always talk about the rookie wall,” Parsons said, “but I just keep climbing and climbing because I’m excited to see what’s on the other side of that wall.

“I love what we have here. I’m just so honored and blessed to represent the star and have an opportunity to be a star here.”

Some more notes out of the NFC East…

  • The Cowboys are dealing with COVID-19 cases throughout their staff, so they’ll be temporarily promoting Ben McAdoo to a coaching role, tweets NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. McAdoo, who had been serving as a “consultant to the coaches” in Dallas, will be in the coaches booth for tomorrow’s game against the Saints. The 44-year-old spent two years as the Giants head coach between 2016 and 2017, and he returned to the NFL last season when he was hired as the Jaguars QBs coach.
  • Guess who else liked Horn and Surtain? The Giants, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, but the Eagles’ decision to trade up (with the Cowboys, no less) to select wideout DeVonta Smith was the move that really threw New York’s draft into disarray. With the organization’s targets off the board, the team ultimately decided to trade with the Bears, with the Giants selecting wideout Kadarius Toney at No. 20.
  • Another Cowboys/Giants connection: Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv writes that the Joe Judge/Jason Garrett pairing in New York was always an “arranged marriage.” Co-owner John Mara was the one who pushed to add Garrett as the team’s offensive coordinator, and the former Cowboys head coach was an “outlier” on a staff that generally had connections to their head coach. Garrett was ultimately canned by Judge and the Giants in late November after the team had collected a league-low 42 touchdowns.
  • Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports opines that the Giants should go all out on Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson this offseason. The writer cites the organization’s draft capital (which, at the moment, includes picks No. 6 and No. 7), Daniel Jones‘ disappointment in New York, and Wilson’s supposed desire to play in the Big Apple. Assuming GM Dave Gettleman is out after the season, this would be a bold way for a new GM to begin their tenure, but the writer believes this would be preferable to rolling with Jones or drafting a quarterback in a weak class.

Seahawks Activate Russell Wilson From IR

Pete Carroll confirmed Russell Wilson will start against the Packers, and the Seahawks made it official Friday evening. Wilson is back on Seattle’s active roster.

On IR since rupturing a right middle finger tendon in Week 5, Wilson will return after missing the minimum three games. The 10th-year Seahawks quarterback underwent two surgeries but beat the six- to eight-week timetable initially floated once the extent of his injuries became public.

Seattle went 1-2 without Wilson and lost to the Rams during the game he suffered the injury — his first notable setback as a pro. Wilson had started 149 straight games prior to this finger issue. His absence led to three Geno Smith starts and the Seahawks tumbling down the NFC standings. They are 3-5 entering Week 10.

Wilson, who will turn 33 later this month, has thrown 10 touchdown passes and just one interception this season. Over his five-game sample, he ranks seventh in QBR. Should Aaron Rodgers clear COVID-19 protocols as the Packers expect, the future Hall of Famers will match up for the ninth time (counting playoff games) Sunday.

Placed on IR the same day as Wilson, Chris Carson will not be activated along with the quarterback. Carroll said his starting running back, who returned to practice this week, will not play against the Packers. Carson is working his way back from a neck injury.

In addition to activating Wilson, the Seahawks also moved rookie wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge from IR back to the active roster. Chosen in the second round, Eskridge has not played since suffering a concussion in Week 1. Following the concerningly lengthy absence, the Western Michigan product will attempt to salvage the remainder of his rookie year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks’ Russell Wilson Cleared To Play

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has been given the green light to return (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). Wilson, who has been sidelined since undergoing finger surgery in October, could suit up as soon as this Sunday against the Packers.

[RELATED: Latest On Seahawks, OBJ]

Wilson has been gunning for a Week 10 return all along, but it all hinged on the healing process. Fortunately, there were no hiccups as Dr. Steve Shin removed the pin from his fractured middle finger.

The surgery forced Wilson to miss three games between Weeks 6 and 8, before the team’s Week 9 bye. It marked the first absence of his NFL career, breaking an ironman streak of 149 straight regular season starts.

Geno Smith took over in his stead with the Seahawks going 1-2 in his three starts. Wilson should provide a big boost as the Seahawks look to rebound from their Week 8 loss to the Rams.

The Seahawks are now down to 3-5 in the competitive NFC West. Fortunately for them, they’re still within striking distance of a Wild Card spot. Barring any setbacks, they’ll have Wilson under center as they prepare for the Packers and Cardinals in back-to-back games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.