Seahawks bosses reportedly “aren’t happy” Russell Wilson went public with his dissatisfaction. He’s hardly the first superstar to try to talk his way out of town.
Just for, um, fun.
Here’s a random sampling of pro-team superstars, and how long they lasted with their first major league team, followed by career length. Not saying there’s anything immediate happening in Seattle, but suddenly there’s a whole lotta WTFs in the air regarding a certain quarterback who has become the town gossip.
LeBron James — 7 seasons (21 total and counting)
Peyton Manning — 13 (17)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — 6 (20)
Shaquille O’Neal — 4 (20)
Bill Walton — 4 (10)
Roger Clemens — 13 (24)
Justin Verlander 13 (17 and counting)
Tom Brady — 20 (21 and counting)
Brett Favre — 16 (20)
Steve Young — 2 (13)
Charles Barkley — 8 (16)
Kevin Durant — 9 (13, and counting)
Allen Iverson — 12 (17)
Wayne Gretzky — 8 (20)
Alex Rodriguez — 7 (22)
Gary Payton — 13 (18)
Shawn Kemp — 8 (14)
Ken Griffey Jr. — 11 (22)
Babe Ruth — 6 (22)
Russell Wilson — 9 (??)
Baseball fans can go back many years to find most players spent their careers with a single team. But since baseball’s reserve clause was abolished in 1975, ushering the first real free agency, players in all sports have acquired much more leverage to move to another market for reasons of money, city, teammates, better chance to win and, perhaps, the opportunity to avoid Aaron Donald.
Even when under contract. There is no way fans like this sort of gamesmanship. Nor should they.
Nevertheless, if Seahawks fans enjoy having SS Jamal Adams, even though he bully-whined his way off the New York Jets, they have to accept the fact the Russell Wilson may attempt to bully-whine his way off the Seahawks. (Bully-whine is my new verb for players who seek something they don’t deserve, like influence over player selection — a bully; and have a legitimate complaint but look bad bringing it up, like poor pass protection — a whine).
Regarding Wilson’s bully-whine, it was given a big national boost Tuesday with his interview on Dan Patrick’s radio show. Wednesday, Patrick offered some commentary about it, including talking to an unidentified source who told him Seahawks management is “not happy” that Wilson aired his grievances publicly.
It’s really, really rare if he says anything in a negative way about anybody,” Patrick said. “He’s been quiet for a decade. But I think that Russell wanted to create (with the interview) a sense of urgency, just like Aaron Rodgers did in Green Bay. He’s creating a sense of urgency — ‘take advantage of what you have with me right now.'”
I must disagree with Patrick. A sense of urgency was what the Seahawks had this season. And that’s why they’re in a bind regarding Wilson, and pissed he took it public.
The brutal flame-out in the playoffs’ first round against the Rams, particularly when Jared Freaking Goff — he of the recently broken thumb who came off the bench to complete nine passes, only to get run out of Los Angeles — led the victory, was devastating beyond a single loss.
The additions of Adams and DE Carlos Dunlap, and the return to health of nearly all the regulars, produced a 12-4 record and a championship in the NFL’s toughest division. With the Rams starting a rookie backup QB, coach Pete Carroll couldn’t have asked for much better, as he looked over an NFC that seemed to lack a dominant team.
Then a bad play call that was also poorly executed turned into a second-quarter pick-six, and the Seahawks never recovered.
Playing in a shoulder harness that meant he couldn’t raise his arms, Adams whiffed on two plays that turned into 44-yard gains, Wilson completed only two more passes than the breathtakingly mediocre Goff, and Football Hogwarts has since been in disarray.
By spending draft capital and free-agent money close to the max in order to go for it in Wilson’s age-32 season, and get zero playoff wins for it, the Seahawks are in trouble in a year when the salary cap shrinks $20 million.
Yes, the cutback is the same for all teams, but few of them have a $35 million QB and an $18 million linebacker like Bobby Wagner. And Wilson picked this moment to go public with his apparent unhappiness.
Patrick made another point.
“According to my source, if (Wilson’s agenda) doesn’t happen, then you wonder if this is going to be able to continue,” he said. “You wonder if Russ and the Seahawks are going to be able to coexist. If they don’t act on that, right now the current situation is not sustainable.
“That’s what I was told. Management’s not happy. Russ got their attention.”
On the point of coexistence, I agree with Patrick. Wilson is looking at a 10th season with a team that he may see as having peaked in 2020. Would he want to keep going?
To trade him now adds $39 million hit to their cap, but gets the Seahawks a max-premium return. To keep him requires some bridge-building and team-building that look more difficult with each passing interview.
It’s worth keeping in mind that Carroll and GM John Schneider each signed their own long-term extensions in 2020. And they’re the Type A personalities that would relish outdoing the people who traded Kareem, The Great One, the Kid and the King.