BY Art Thiel 02:36PM 02/12/2018

Thiel: Is it time for Seahawks to deal Wilson?

After the events around Nick Foles, Jimmy Garoppolo and Kirk Cousins, the quarterback marketplace has changed dramatically. Can Seahawks afford to keep Russell Wilson?

Is it timer to think the unthinkable with Russell Wilson? / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

It’s hard to know which list is longer: The Seahawks’ NFL-leading penalties, or the club’s off-season to-do list. Now, league-wide developments have added emphasis to an issue that didn’t seem to be much of a question before December’s seasonal fade:

What to do with QB Russell Wilson?

Matters internal and external have worked together to ratchet up the uncertainty around many things inside team headquarters in Renton.

We know that despite earlier speculation otherwise, coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider remain at their posts and fully engaged in an emergency overhaul after an abrupt fall-off in performance combined with an equally abrupt rise in the quality of NFC West competition, including new coaches for all three division rivals since the end of 2016.

But the marketplace for quarterbacks has abruptly disrupted planning across the NFL, and the ripples are splashing against the VMAC.

Internally:

Despite being harassed more than a lame sheep at a wolfpack’s birthday party, Wilson led the NFL with 34 touchdown passes last season. He accounted for approximately 233 percent of the Seahawks offense, and could have had more if he’d had the guts to insist on kicking field goals. According to Pro Football Focus, Wilson was the first QB in NFL history to account for 100 percent of his team’s passing yards and at least 30 percent of his team’s rushing yards in a single season.

Yet Carroll, despite knowing that Wilson’s 238 career sacks taken leads the NFL over his six-year career, found the guts to jump on Wilson’s case at halftime of the must-win final game against Arizona to get him to do better. Not long after that, Carroll fired two of Wilson’s supervisors, coaches Darrell Bevell and Tom Cable, in some part because they weren’t getting Wilson to do the right thing with sufficient frequency.

And with both coordinators fired, it is reasonable to presume that a majority of the 25 coaching positions the Seahawks had last year will change hands.

Externally:

Jimmy Garoppolo, a quarterback with an impressive but minimal record of seven wins in seven starts, signed the past week a $137.5 million deal over five years with the suddenly robust San Francisco 49ers. It was the largest deal in NFL history (although in the NBA, that money would get a team a seventh man from eastern Europe who averages six points and four rebounds).

But that benchmark likely will eclipsed as soon as March 14, when free agency commences. Kirk Cousins, 29 (three months older than Wilson), is expected to land a larger contract than Garappolo’s because of his resume that includes 57 career starts. Despite receiver injuries on a mediocre (7-9) Redskins team, he had 27 TD passes last season and has rushed for 13 scores over his past three seasons. He finished 2017 with a 93.9 passer rating. Wilson was 95.4.

Wilson has two years remaining on his current contract, whose total value is $87.6 million, a handsome sum by any reckoning but barely enough to cover the tab for Garoppolo’s pool boys. According to Spotrac, Wilson’s contract ranks 10th in the category of overall value, remarkable considering that two years ago he seemed to have signed a deal that might have allowed him to purchase a small European principality.

Additionally, the emergence of Philadelphia’s Nick Foles as Super Bowl MVP behind wunderkind Carson Wentz, and the surplus in Minnesota, where Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford are all more than competent NFL quarterbacks, health permitting, suggests that some version of 52-card QB pickup will be underway.

Coupled with the pre-draft speculation that Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen and Wyoming’s Josh Allen could all be among the first 10 picks, suggests that potential game-changing levels of talent are in rare abundance.

Already the Kansas City Chiefs delivered a shocker, trading QB Alex Smith, 34,  to Washington, where he was given a four-year contract extension worth a bit more than Wilson’s deal. That put second-year QB Pat Mahomes in charge at KC and sent Daniels into free agency.

So, with many internal changes within the Seahawks, and many external marketplace alternatives, it’s at least plausible to consider whether the Seahawks are giving thought to doing something besides the conventional wisdom for 2018 with Wilson under some new management, then starting talks for a contract extension ahead of 2019.

The issue is not about dissatisfaction with Wilson, because his relatively small  number of problems were more a function of a poor offensive line and no running game. The issue is the sudden number of roster holes exposed by the three December losses, and whether the Seahawks dare try to survive in 2020 with Wilson eating up close to $30 million annually under the salary cap.

We all understand the virtue and value of a franchise quarterback. But the greatest successes under Carroll came when Wilson was very affordable under his third-round rookie contract, which allowed the Seahawks to spend more generously on the defense and O-line.

But with so many core players on the defense aging, injured or expensive, having no picks in the second or third round in April, and without much room under the salary cap, Carroll and Schneider are in a bind. They have to fix the defense and the running game simultaneously with the disadvantage akin to taking a knife into a gunfight.

In his season-closing presser, Carroll, unsolicited, itched to dispute the contention that the personnel decisions in 2017 reflected a final push to win it all with the core players, because the re-set button would have to be hit in 2018.

“We’re trying to go for it every time we go,” Carroll said. “There’s not a year where it’s, ‘OK, let’s sit back and wait until next year.’ There’s not a week, there’s not a day, there’s not a moment that we think like that.”

So falling back in one season to move ahead apparently is not an option.

The ability of Foles to do what he did for the Eagles evoked surprise similar to what surrounded Wilson in his rookie year. Certainly, some things are different, but the larger point is that there seems to be available this spring, via draft or trade, an unusual number of above-average QBs who potentially could do well in Seattle.

Moving on from Wilson is hardly a must-do for 2018. But events unknowable ahead of the 2017 season have caught up to the Seahawks. And Carroll said there’s not even a day the Seahawks think about not contending for a season.

If the Seahawks aren’t at least thinking about it, in the wake of Foles’ play, Garoppolo’s deal and the pending free agency of Cousins, Carroll isn’t being true to his words.


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YourThoughts

  • Gary Patrick

    I’m a 49er fan wholeheartedly in support of the Seahawks trading Russell! LOL!!!

    • art thiel

      I can’t think of another fan base that would be more excited.

      • Husky73

        I just moved back here after five years in the Bay Area. The 49er fans REALLY hate the Seahawks.

        • art thiel

          Have authorities and bartenders been alerted to your presence?

        • coug73

          I was in Jackson CA and noticed two guys on their phones outside a bar discussing the first of the season 9’er Hawks game. Asked for a score and told them I was a Seahawks fan. One guy turned his back on me the other groaned but gave me the score.

  • DB

    If you were looking to fire up the comments section, this article should do it, Art. At least as interesting are Wilson’s perspectives related to getting paid more in line with what others are getting and whether he thinks winning is more likely in Seattle vs somewhere else. I think he is more likely to force a change than Carroll-Schneider, although I don’t think either side will be doing anything. Fun to speculate though.

    • art thiel

      Wilson’s agent asked for and got market value two years ago, plus a four-year deal instead of the five the Seahawks wanted. I don’t see anything different for the coming extension, and I’m sure Wilson believes he can make a winner out of almost any team. Look at how the Rams soared with a second year under Goff and a new coach.

  • Ron

    Really, Art, you’ve stooped to pandering to Effzee?

    • art thiel

      Oops. I forgot to pander to you. My bad.

  • Vincent Lee

    Trade the BUM Wilson! We want Charlie Whitehurst and Matt “no game played for the Seahawks as a starting QB” Flynn back, pay them a small fortune and we will be right back to the SB!!!

    Is this article even worth writing, if it wasn’t for Wilson running for his life on almost every play, Pete Carrol should be put in military jail for dereliction of duty to find an offensive line that can actually play. I swear I’ve seen some games this past year where Wilson would be pulling out from the center and the defense would be in so quickly, they could have taken the hand off instead of the RB.

    Yes, Wilson is that important…. I can’t imagine another QB beyond Newton surviving behind this garbage of an O-Line.

    I personally don’t like the escalating salary but the market will pay whatever it will bear. I remember when A-Rod got 2 x USD $250 million Contract, I thought it was the death of baseball or when many of these basketball players are making USD $30+ million/year. These sports are still around and thriving, so in the final analysis, paying Wilson what is negotiated will not break the Seahawks, they will just have to reallocate resources like every other NFL team or professional sports.

    • art thiel

      The difference is that the NFL operates under a salary cap, so that giving a single player such a large percentage of available resources limits what can be done, especially if a team drafts with such poor results as the Seahawks have the past three seasons. The Seahawks are closing in on drastic options.

      MLB is beginning to operate with a de facto salary cap, now that the new CBA penalties for going over a $197M payroll limit are more onerous. That’s why the free agent market has been so slow.

      • Vincent Lee

        The QB position is the hardest to find in football, teams can go for a decade without ever finding a franchise QB and setting back the franchise. The reality is what choice do you have? Even QBs coming out of college with literally no experience are commanding huge salaries. Let’s say you trade Wilson and draft a QB in the top 5, it is very unlikely you will find a GOOD QB in the 2+ rounds, yes you will find the exceptions like Brady, Wilson, etc.. in the late rounds. I have not looked at any stats but I would think most of the top QBs taken in most drafts have occurred in Round 1 and usually in the top 10. Basically you are going to pay an inexperienced QB top dollars and within 4+ years, the BIG MONEY will start rolling in. If you have a franchise QB, you do not trade them away as it will provide almost a decade of stability and possibility of going to the playoffs every year. Even without a running game, possibly the worst OLine in the league the Seahawks were a few plays away from going to the playoffs. Franchise QB can cover the weakness of the overall team.

        Wilson – shot at the playoffs
        No Wilson – no shot at the playoffs

        • Vincent Lee

          Btw,

          Thank you providing feedback!

        • art thiel

          What if they trade for Foles? Or Keenum?

  • Matt Kite

    No.

    • art thiel

      There’s one.

      • Matt Kite

        Sorry, Art. I couldn’t think of anything more to say. ;)

        • art thiel

          There’s eloquence in brevity.

  • Gabe Snyder

    It’s a pipe dream, but if we could trade to the Giants for some pics and eli, then draft Baker Mayfield….

    • Effzee

      Why do we want Johnny Manziel, Part 2?

      • art thiel

        No word on whether Mayfield is bi-polar, which is now the word on Manziel’s travail.

        • Effzee

          I was more referring to anointing a knucklehead as the face of the franchise. The “Giving a Questionable Guy a Chance” thing seems to be too risky at the QB position, to me.

  • Effzee

    When you take a step back, set emotion aside, and calmly look at the big picture, it makes no sense to keep Wilson. They need to put resources back on the defensive side of the ball. They’ve proven they can win with a rookie/young QB, and they are just not interested in tying up the money at the QB position that Wilson will inevitably demand. Its not a part of their philosophy. Wilson was “Bevell’s project,” per Pete upon drafting him. Cable was hired to build an offensive line to suit Wilson’s game. Both of those coaches are now gone, and the philosophy has completely changed. Pete and Doug Baldwin have both implied that, regardless of the state of the running game or offensive line, there were plays to be made at the QB position that weren’t made. Warren Moon, Hugh Millen, and Mike Holmgren have all observed on numerous occasions that there are things that Wilson simply cannot see. I personally think that we have seen the best that Wilson has to offer. Clearly, it worked while he was new, without much game film on him, and with Lynch by his side. But zero of the factors that contributed to his early success remain. Very few other teams in the NFL would have drafted Wilson. Do we even know if Schottenheimer wants Wilson? Maybe that is why he hasn’t had an introductory press conference yet. Maybe they don’t want to make him lie about his feelings for Russ, while they are working on a trade? I think the time is prime to do this. Cleveland, the Jets, and Giants all need a QB, and they inhabit 4 of the top 6 picks of the draft. Wilson is better than any free agent QB on the market. How could the perpetually QB starved Browns or Jets possibly turn down the opportunity to get a Super Bowl winning QB in his prime??

    • Wheezy

      Effzee…has Warren, Mike or Hugh ever advocated that Seattle should trade him? Do they suggest Seattle would ultimately be better off without him?

      Love exploring other people’s thoughts. This topic, I disagree with the premise. Several years of air balls on o-line and RB picks, and Father Time caught up with LoB. Without Numero 3, where are we in 2015 and 2016?

      And a final thought which NOBODY can argue: Ciara (mic drop)

      • Effzee

        They have not advocated trading him, but they are also not the kind of guys who would come out with that idea. This is not a part of the discourse yet. If it becomes rumor or fact, I am sure they will chime in with opinions. They are respectful of what Russ has done here, even though they each questioned him when we drafted him. In fact, Millen infamously said of Russ “If that guy ever does anything in the NFL, I’ll come over there and eat your microphone.”

        • art thiel

          Keep in mind that Wilson has compensated immensely and successfulyl for his lack of verticality. But it still gets him once in a while in a game of small margins.

          • Effzee

            True! Though there seems to be a specific defense to run that is particularly effective at neutralizing his talents. I call it the “Bum-Rush On Every Down” defense.

          • art thiel

            It’s about keeping him in the pocket, not rolling left or right or spinning out the back door.

      • art thiel

        None of the air talents has advocated Seattle would be better off without him, but I think each would understand my logic if they were asked how they would fix this roster without sliding back.

    • art thiel

      As with all good quarterbacks, quality teammates make many of them great. It’s easier to see Wilson’s flaws when he doesn’t have Lynch or an average line. But as I wrote, this is less about Wilson’s flaws and more about the salary cap and the team’s multiple urgent needs.

  • coug73

    Et tu, Artem? I’ve seen Mayfield, Darnold, and Rosen play not impressed.

    • art thiel

      Well, then, that’s that.

      I think Darnold will be a good pro, and some scouts say Allen will be the best of the ’18 group.

      No one in 2012 believed Wilson would succeed either.

  • Wheezy

    A fun and provocative article, Art. Now set down the bong, and let’s get back to reality.

    Without a quality QB, a team’s chances for success are about as remote as a 15 minute commute in Seattle. DangeRuss has proven he can win, that he can carry the team on his back if needed, in spite of a Swiss cheese o-line. Side note: I recently learned that “Ifedi” is Algonquin for “orange traffic cone.”

    The market is the market. A bigger question to me is how the league can have a market dynamic where one position (QB) consistently eats up well over 10% of a team’s payroll. How does that scale over the long term? With the exception of the Evil Empire in Foxboro, everyone else is playing roulette on a given year with a QB and 52 other guys. What the hell?

    Love your articles Art. Be well. If you partake, you may now return to your regularly scheduled bong…

    • art thiel

      I think the Seahawks and I would agree that it would not be wise to replace Wilson with direct snaps to Mike Davis, or whomever the unfortunate RB will be. My point was to get high value in return for Wilson at his apex, rather than wait until his decline (Felix, anyone?). That could include a veteran QB who may be as productive as Foles, while adding a mid-career vet or a high pick.

      Regarding the QB value, all I can say is it’s the toughest gig in sports — aside from being Bill Belchick’s joke writer.

      • Bruce McDermott

        Fair enough, Art, but Wilson’s “decline,” if his QB equivalents around the league are any indication, is at LEAST one good-sized contract away.
        When he’s 34 or so, depending on how he’s done, maybe this would be a legitimate factor. But physically and mentally, it is still quite likely that there will be more incline first. The Hawks should probably keep ahold of that, especially when their options at this point are Boykin and camp arms…Quarterbacks are not safeties, or running backs. The record is pretty clear that they can be outstanding well past 30…

        • art thiel

          I’m not advocating a trade, Bruce, for your reasons stated. But I think it’s fair to give the question full consideration, and it’s more reasoned than most fans believe. I don’t think Wilson is in decline, and for that very reason has max value to fix multiple Seahawks roster holes while obtaining a quality veteran QB.

          But fans who are skeptical of getting full value for him can point to Harvin/Graham and say, “See?” They will get no argument from me.

      • It’s only Sports

        So if one were to play the Devils advocate lets say Pete is looking over that formidable wish list you clamored on about and suddenly finds himself daydreaming back to that day that turned into night that he was sitting on that Denver airport tarmac waving madly to Peyton Manning (who was in another plane with another prom date not named Carroll) and then Pete’s post QB dilemma in 2012 instantly is partially gone because he has an epiphany. That day? That Moment? It was neither so dire…or so swell as it seemed in the(QB) goods he was working with that he had yet to fully know he had.
        What he had is what he COULD have again.
        An article came out on TD Wire today via USA Today quoting Micheal Vick saying that Lamar Jackson will be the next Michael Vick.
        What if Pete good memory shivers of the Running QB he barely knew he had before the ComPete in Pete would kick in letting RW have a shot at wasting Paul Allens money on a QB named Flynn. Awww the belly full of cherished memories!
        Back to Devil’s advocate…. lets say Denver Tarmac Pete Let ‘er rip in Feb of 2018 and shipped RW out thus turning upside down the NFL World and quietly drafts Lamar Jackson…..Fast forward to the dwindling days of Preseason 2018….Pete calls a meeting with his rook QB at the basketball court of the VMAC…shoots a few hoops with the young man after game 3 of the preseason and says Lamar? I…swish….want you to…swish…. take over my football team and play QB for my Seattle Seahawks! Cllllaaaaang!!! Or does he swish that 3rd shot as he has been there before?
        Think of the 22m reasons as they say on shark tank that you “Do that Deal?” Never thought I would ever utter an audacious plan like this but you know? Lose a Peyton Manning(012) …gain more guts in bold moves(018 rebuild)….it just might work.

    • RadioGuy

      In fairness, Wheezy, there IS such a thing as a 15-minute commute in Seattle. That’s all the time it takes to commute from Pike to Pine, but you have to walk.

      • art thiel

        So how are you affording the rent along Pike? Dumpsters are going for $1,100/mo.

  • DJ

    Art – that was a wild ride of emotions and thought – thanks. I get the premise, and you’re right, every solution toward making the team better should be considered – no stone unturned. Based on the whole scheme that Carroll operates by, competition Wednesdays, and his preachings of always looking to get better, I would bet considerable cash that he and Schneider have overturned that stone and spent a moment or two of thought on dealing Russ. It’s my opinion that the shedding of Bevell and Cable reinforced their long term commitment and belief in Wilson. There are multiple solutions to getting into championship form. There’s no way to duplicate the past – not another QB like Russ available for cheap that brings as much to the table (that we know of). What happened before was a unique circumstance and alignment of talent and opportunity – Russell was the final piece to the puzzle. They don’t do what they did without him.

    We also know that under different circumstances Russell can be even better.

    I think it’s a done deal. Carroll and Schneider are taking a different tact than before, building now on Russell, in a different environment, and whatever other parts they value, giving him the chance to blossom, which makes this off season perhaps the most intriguing so far.

    • Effzee

      I do not think it is a forgone conclusion that Russell, in a different environment, would blossom. I think he was a gimmick that took the league by surprise, with Lynch playing a huge role in his success. As I’ve said before, the only other team hot on his tail in the draft was the Eagles, when Chip Kelley was the coach and GM. And we all know how freaky Kelley’s system is, and how good he was at judging NFL talent.

  • Husky73

    Trade Wilson? The market has been the market since free agency. Teams adjust. They always do. But, trade their best player, one of the best QB’s in the game and the face of the franchise? If so, join with the Broncos, Bears, Browns, Jets and the other also rans for the next 3-5 years. The Seahawks were two kicks away from 11-5. Why would they panic and trade Wilson? In their primes, would the Chargers have traded Fouts? Or the Dolphins traded Marino? Or the Bills traded Kelly? Yes, there will be churn in terms of trades, draft picks, age and injury. There always is. But, only the good or advancing teams have “a Russell Wilson.” Trade Wilson and enjoy the next few 6-10 seasons.

    • art thiel

      When the market reaches extremes, do you buy or sell?

      There’s no analogy to QBs of the pre-free agency era that brought a salary cap. My suggestion is almost exclusively about money and not talent or sentiment.

  • Kevin Lynch

    Great phrasing in the article but I can’t see it. Wilson is too ingrained in operations. Too many game saving plays have been made by him. I see them sticking with him in 2018 and then looking at his contract demands at end of season. That could finish him with the Hawks, of course. But yes, it’s very unclear who at the QB position will be available in a year’s time.

    • art thiel

      Wilson’s history here is unquestioned. It’s the future we’re talking about. And he’s not so ingrained that he could stop Carroll from firing Bevell and Cable. But I’m not saying it should be done, only that it worthy of consideration. We can’t know the potential return.

  • Jeff

    The Alex Smith trade was not a shocker. If you were to trade #3, you’d do it in the sequence the Chiefs did. Use a high pick on a QB, evaluate him during his rookie season, on the bench, and if you thought he was ready year 2, trade the big money QB going into the final year of his contract.

    That said, when you underperform in the draft and squander picks on players who already have big contracts and don’t prove worth re-signing, you normally take your medicine and keep your franchise QB, trying to fix the issues with season(s) where you’re not competing for a ring. Hence the Steelers or Saints playing .500 ball a few years before reloading to contend. Guys like Peyton or Brady have been able to bypass that need by being all-time great QBs to be a vanishing cream for their team’s flaws during years they had weaker rosters.

    • art thiel

      But as I pointed out, Carroll refuted that strategy. You can argue that the statement was mere rhetoric, but I think it’s his legit MO.

      And to suggest it’s necessary for a rookie to chill in his first year contradicts the narrative of Wilson, Watson and a handful of other exceptional rookies.

      • Jeff

        That’s because if you’re posi-Pete you assume you will hit home runs in the ’18 draft and the guys in waiting from the ’17 draft will be the next Kam, Sherman, Bennett, Earl, etc. If the Saints for example had the success of their ’17 draft in the three 7-9 years prior, they likely wouldn’t have had those mediocre seasons. The swings and misses by JS in draft, free agency or re-signings have had a similarly deleterious effect on the Seahawks since the ’13 draft. #MakeSchneiderGreatAgain

        • art thiel

          Now you’re on to something. A Wilson trade is the forced counter-measure to the weak drafts of the last few years, and the simultaneous injuries among the DBs.

  • Tom G.

    C’mon now, Art.

    I mean, you’re not wrong with your logic that the Seahawks need to go in a direction where they get more picks, cap room and younger players and I’m not disagreeing either that it’s harder to win in the NFL when your QB takes up a large percentage of the salary cap pie.

    But it’s really freakin’ hard to find a franchise QB. It’s never going to be as simple as going to Costco, Wal-Mart or Target.

    • art thiel

      Not even if you shop at Needless Markup?

      Of course it’s hard to find a franchise QB. It’s also hard to win under the cap when one guy makes $30M+. But as Foles and others before him have established, Super Bowls can be won by mutts too.

      • Tom G.

        I guess, but I don’t really want to risk seeing the Seahawks turn into the Browns either.

        Like, I don’t want to be the franchise that never wins and goes through QBs, head coaches, GMs and coordinators like they’re chewing gum in part because you have no long-term franchise QB that can help stabilize things.

        • Effzee

          Paul Allen is one of the best owners in sports. He won’t let them become the Browns. He’s given Pete the keys to the vessel for as long as he wants to be here. And, if Schottenheimer can bring prowess back to the offense, he is probably Pete’s successor.

        • art thiel

          Back away from the cliff, Tom. Deep breath, exhale, turn and walk back to the car.

      • Effzee

        Jeff Hostetler, Doug Williams, Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, Nick Foles, Eli Manning…

  • Chris Alexander

    If we are looking at the dollars and cents then there is, admittedly, some logic to the suggestion. But if we are ONLY looking at the dollars and cents then there is also logic to this suggestion: Sign Wilson to an 8-year, $225M extension today. Adding in the ~$49M he’s scheduled to count against the cap for 2018 and 2019, that makes it a ~$274M, 10-year contract that should carry the team through the prime of his career at a $27.4M per year average that seems *cough* “reasonable” *cough* today while also seeming like a bargain near the end of the contract. THEN, having locked up your franchise QB for something close to “forever,” shed some of the bigger contracts elsewhere (without gutting the team) and hope that some of your draft picks who are still on rookie deals develop the way you hope and …..

    That said, I think that Art’s point remains. If Russ, for all of his utter amazing-ness is leaving plays on the field or missing throws because of his height …. and if the team is TRULY committed to “always looking for ways to compete” then this has to at least be “on the table” (so to speak) and if someone like Cleveland were to call up and offer their 2 first round picks (or a #1 this year and another one next year) then Schneider (and Carroll) should at least LISTEN to the offer.

    • art thiel

      A magnum extension like that makes cap sense for the team, depending on guaranteed money. But Wilson is being asked to throw away his chance at free agency, something his agent is highly unlikely to do. He’d ask Wilson: How would you feel in year 3 when the Seahawks are 2-14?

  • Robert Coppersmith

    It wasn’t Wilson’s falt about the slide they went through, they lost 3 games because of blare Walsh missing the game winning field goals and the offensive line not protecting Wilsn and not creating any holes for the running backs as well as the defense had too many injuries. Trading Wilson would be really stupid idea

    • Effzee

      It could be argued that it was his fault that we even needed Blair Walsh to win those games. Also, it is a total unknown as to how Wilson’s style of play impacts an offensive line’s ability to block for him. Numerous times, guys are called for penalties due to not knowing where the heck he is on the field, and how long he holds onto the ball while running around like a chicken with his head cut off so he can see his receivers.

    • art thiel

      This is not an issue of finding fault with Wilson’s game. It’s about the ability to fund the Seahawks’ short- and long-term needs on multiple fronts thanks largely to unproductive use of high draft picks.

      • Robert Coppersmith

        They need to address their offensive line problems once they take care of that it should also be a big help with the run game as well.

  • Effzee

    Everyone seems to forget that the entire reason Wilson has so many miracle 4th quarter comebacks is because he didn’t get us a lead in the previous three quarters. One could argue that, with this defense, many of Wilson’s late game heroics should have been totally unnecessary. Many people also rely on his stats as proof of his amazingness, but lots of QBs rack up stats once the other defense is tired, the running game is abandoned, and they have to come from behind in the 4th quarter.

    • art thiel

      There is some truth there, Z. Wilson does take more risks later in the game when caution is no longer justifiable, and he, and all QBs, benefit from defensive fatigue, him especially because he extends plays so well.

  • Sarah Anne Whitney

    I think it’s a great idea. Trade Wilson to Cleveland for 1.1, 1.4, their second this year and their 1st and 2nd next, and 1st two years down. Use one of the two picks on the QB you like the most, and use the other to trade down a couple times, draft the kid out of San Antonio, a RB, or one of the elite OL prospects, and still have more ammo in 2 and 3 to fill fill fill more holes.

    • art thiel

      Not sure CLE is quite that daft, but you’re tracking on the possibilities, Sarah. Trading a player/icon of Wilson’s caliber is not done recklessly, but with a careful calibration of short- and long-term benefits to repair multiple holes. knowing that in two years they avoid $30M+ to one player.

  • inlawbiker

    Art you should be above click-bait headlines. Wilson is the duct tape holding the offense together. Some more of the high price D money needs to be shifted to the offense and the Seahawks be fine.

    • art thiel

      If the Seahawks can consider trading Sherman, they can consider trading Wilson, even with all his achievements. It’s a legit question. And your notion of “shifting” money takes years. This isn’t a recipe where you can take a little something out and put something else in.

  • tor5

    I’ll admit you got me thinking, Art. Your analysis and logic is, as always, well considered. But I still call it nuts. Yes, once in a while a Nick Foles wins a Super Bowl, but the Tom Brady’s are there every freaking year. Now think back to the Hawks’ apex, when we had Beast Mode and a decent OL, and the LOB was at full force… Even with all that, would we have even gotten to the Super Bowl without Wilson? Highly unlikely. For all your analytic brilliance, I think you way undervalue the psychological advantage that Wilson brings. The guy has magic. He rallies the team. He rallies the city. As much as anyone, he’s really the one who gave us all the belief that we could win a Super Bowl in the first place. He can be a complete cornball, but I love the guy and am proud that he represents our city with such high character. Pay him. Keep him.

    • Effzee

      Nobody was ready for what Wilson, Lynch and the LOB brought to the table. They absolutely shellacked the league for two years. But Wilson is a known commodity now. How to defend him is no longer a secret. He was challenged to evolve, and he did not. His magic gets less and less effective as time goes by. As Pete said, there are no years off. Its “go time,” all the time. Next man up, and all of that. Nobody can take away what Russ brought us, but this is not a sport for sentimentality. The city will always rally behind a winner, with or without Russ.

      • Bruce McDermott

        Sorry, but this is nonsense. Or, at the very least, it is premature. He had arguably THE worst Offensive Line in football, and also arguably THE worst running backs in football. Nobody can “evolve” under those circumstances at that position. When the line is clicking, he’s shown he can play pocket passer with the best of them…with the added ability to create as necessary. Giving up the single most important player on your team, or any team, is crazy-making. The analogy between Sherman and Wilson fails. Wilson is far, far more important to the team, and Sherm is important!

        • art thiel

          It is not premature if the market this off-season has above-average, proven quarterbacks available. None of them are Wilson, which is why teams may be willing to pay a premium to get him at 29. A smart team cannot not consider it, to use one of Carroll’s rhetorical flourishes, the double negative.

          • Bruce McDermott

            Those “above-average, proven” QBs will also break the bank to sign, a bank that in the Hawks’ case this year is overdrawn in comparison to other teams. Next year, as I understand it, the Hawks’ cap situation should be markedly improved, and perhaps a better time to perform the calculus you suggest.

          • art thiel

            On the other hand, a trade provides cap relief. A high pick that turns into a rookie QB like Darnold, who can be NFL average his rookie year, plus whatever other assets come in the trade such as CLE DT Danny Shelton, fixes a second problem. Another high pick fixes a third problem.

            Wilson in his prime is an astonishingly rare asset, so keeping him is the easy answer. The hard answer is to the question “What if . . .” Any team who doesn’t consider it is derelict.

    • art thiel

      I get why Wilson is revered, deservedly so. But I’m not much into magic except when it was Johnson. Again, this idea is not about past performance, it’s about future consequences when he seeks the world after 2019. I’m not advocating for a trade, I’m suggesting considering it. As did the Seahawks a year ago with Sherman.

      • tor5

        Yeah, Showtime in LA was a golden era. But back to magic (small m)… Certainly you don’t dismiss the value of sports psychology? The belief that you can win — will win — is a real factor. And beyond this, there is a vast realm of how one mentally approaches a contest that makes a measurable difference. It’s a real science that awards PhD’s in sports psychology. Now how many times have we watched Wilson and said “I can’t believe that just happened”? It happens all the time. Then a few days later the experts go back to looking at stats and age and contracts and think they’ve derived Wilson’s precise value, and the miracle play is counted no more than “a completion.” I don’t know how you put a number on it, but Wilson has that magic, and the egg-headed analyses are shortsighted in that respect. And really, Art, with all respect for you, you’re making an awfully big distinction between advocating and “suggesting considering.” Are you preparing to run for some office?

        • art thiel

          It’s fairly simple: Until it’s considered, a team can’t know how to respond to an opportunity. An opportunity, say, like CLE offering their first and fourth picks, or one of them and DT Danny Shelton. Wilson’s value is off-the-charts high to another team. What does that look like?

          If there’s no scenario under which he would be traded, that’s worthy of knowing. If the Seahawks are comfortable paying him $30M+ in two years, that’s worth knowing too. Obviously, that far out, many things can change. But any smart club works out many permutations.

          Regarding Wilson’s unusual capacity for the absurd outcome, I agree. That’s another reason why he’s so valuable.

          • tor5

            Fair enough, Art. I just can’t bear the thought of having to choose between rooting for Wilson OR the Hawks. It rips my heart open. Maybe others are paid to consider it, but I won’t. I can’t!

  • Alan Harrison

    Oh, Art. Looks like you swatted a beehive here. Nice work! As for the Seahawks and Russell Wilson, I think they’re stuck with each other. The difference between the early part of the Carroll regime and now is that now, Pete is not as interested in personnel turnover or competing for a job as he once was, especially with the QB. Hence, no real backup for a number of years now (just giving Russell more and more leverage). Not that there should be 200 transactions a year or anything, but the starters in recent years (except the awful OL) have seemed safe in holding their jobs except for injury. Now, Pete ‘n’ John have to deal with an overpaid QB (not in terms of skill, in terms of % of salary), a team of quarterhorses as running backs, ponies on the offensive line, and broken-down nags on the defensive line — and a fan base that expects thoroughbreds at every position.

    Which means their first pick will probably be a linebacker who wasn’t at the combine.

    • Effzee

      “Pete is not as interested in personnel turnover or competing for a job as he once was, especially with the QB.” Woah. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, Pete seemed to have re-emphasized the commitment to always trying to get better. He emphasized not being afraid to make major changes. He emphasized a return to their bedrock philosophy of always competing. And, personally, I believe he means the QB position in particular. Either thru the QB being one of the major changes (via blockbuster trade), or by bringing in competition to push Russ to never feel comfortable and to always get better.

  • James Jackson

    Art, I typically enjoy your work, but find no sense here. Trading Wilson is pure insanity.

    • art thiel

      What if CLE gives Seattle its first and fourth picks, and throws in DT Danny Shelton?

      • James Jackson

        Finding a franchise QB is way too difficult, and the last thing the Hawks need is to be in a position where they’re looking for that guy again. You spend all that time and those resources just trying to find someone on Wilson’s level. The salary cap factor is certainly difficult, but Wilson is way too valuable to give up on. That being said, if Cleveland wants to send Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer to the M’s as part of a deal, then maybe we can talk…

        • art thiel

          Wilson has the option to give up on the Seahawks in two years, James. What then? Franchising him will be even more costly that year.

  • Dean Da Costa

    So Art the article is interesting, I dont agree with most of it, but at least it got me thinking, However thanks to the troll known as Effzee I will put this whole post and comments in the trash. 1 poster has taken over this thread and ruined it and no one moderated it. Sad

    • art thiel

      Oh, come on, Dean. It’s the innerwebs. Effzee is being civilly disobedient to the conventional wisdom. He’s as entitled to the forum as you.

      • Dean Da Costa

        Says the guy egging him on with the silly click bait article. Sorry Art the more I thought about this the more I realized this was just done for click bait. Even you have to know that no team in their right mind would trade a franchise QB who with no run game, and a bad oline gave you a chance at the playoffs, and in every game. Remember over 80% of the offensive yards and over 95% of the offensive TDs you don’t trade that when they are in their prime, you build around them and make a game plan built for them. Unlike you I can provide a lot of stats and facts to support this stance but you already know them, as I said this is about clicks. You got your last click from me. Let me know when you write a real article, maybe I will read it.

        • art thiel

          Wilson’s big percentage of the offense is not a good sign, Dean. It’s a bad sign for the offense. That he was able to do it doesn’t mean he should do it.

          I write real articles every time. I don’t care if readers agree or disagree. I’d just like to get people thinking beyond conventional. I’ll assume you’re a fan of the conventional.

          • Dean Da Costa

            I am a fan of real articles, that are not designed to get clicks. You said one thing right Wilson being such a bug % of the offense is not good for the offense, but not an indictment of Wilson but of the offense and the philosophy. The fat he had to be such a huge part of it for it to do anything shows how good he is and how bad the system was. All that said the fact that you have allowed 1 what can only be called a troll to dominate most of this thread is an indictment of you and only shows all you want are clicks. The fact that you do not respond to him or challenge him at all prove sit even further, especially given a lot of what he has said has been proven to be factually wrong. All you see is someone generating more clicks. sad really that this is what passes for sports journalism.

  • PokeyPuff

    Glad you are going here in terms of dialogue Art, it has been verboten to even entertain this as a thought with most hawks fans. I’ve often felt Pete’s vision and Wilson’s skill set were never entirely in sync, Winning and going to the playoffs covered much of this fault line but now with the consequences of keeping him skews things even further.

  • Stephen Pitell

    All the complaints about this being “click bait” made me remember I still have adblock on for this site, and I turned it off in an effort to help support your site. Troll on, Art. LOL.

    Naw, this is a valid point you make, and you aren’t advocating it so much as pointing out that it is an option.