BY Art Thiel 06:00AM 02/26/2021

Thiel: In one sentence, the Carroll-Wilson split

Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll have different views on how to get the Seahawks to the pinnacle again. Wilson’s agent hasn’t asked for a trade, but he’s pushing trade partners.

Darrell Bevell lost his job as offensive coordinator largely because coach Pete Carroll wanted him to demand more of Russell Wilson. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

The staredown between Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson hasn’t changed, although The Athletic did a good a job Thursday explaining the history and context of the fraying that has captivated the NFL, and by extension, most of sports.

The pressure on the Seahawks, however, did go up a bit later Thursday. Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that, while no trade has been requested, there are now just four teams for which he would agree to waive his no-trade clause:

There’s no reason to think that those teams are written in quick-dry concrete. Why would they be? Starting with the opening free agency in a couple of weeks, the other 27 teams begin re-making themselves for a season in which all will have nearly $20 million less to spend than the previous year, thanks to financial blows from the pandemic.

Teams can become more or less attractive to Wilson. And teams not on the list may make offers the Seahawks prefer. But team identities are less important right now to Wilson’s side than the playing of the card of limitations.

It is an attempt by Wilson to assert some control over the situation. The Seahawks and all teams hate surrendering any control.

In this case, Wilson’s media campaign continues to pressure the Seahawks, who don’t dare get into a public pissing match because they still want him as their starting QB in 2021 and beyond.

They particularly don’t want a trade right now, because a $39 million dead-money charge would be applied in full to their 2021 salary cap. However, NFL contract rules say that after June 1, that money (already paid to Wilson), can be accounted for over the remaining years of his contract (2021, 2022 and 2023) at $13 million per.

But June 1 is likely too late in 2021 for a quality re-build that would be necessary after the trade of the franchise icon, even with the relief provided by the absence of Wilson’s $32 million cap hit.

The permutations are so many regarding this pivotal juncture in Seahawks history that speculation is futile.

Yet how it reached cliff’s edge is becoming a little clearer. Based on what I’ve seen, heard and read, here’s my attempt at a single sentence to explain the crevasse between coach and player after so much success.

Staying in NFL contention bearing one of the largest contracts in history is difficult in the extreme when legacy becomes paramount in an age-33 quarterback, who believes his best chance to be the best ever requires both long-term health and a head coach with a shared view in game strategy regarding risk tolerance.

The most astonishing feat in Wilson’s likely Hall of Fame career is that he has never missed a game to injury. That is nearly unfathomable. Which doesn’t mean he hasn’t been hurt many times.

He’ll never tell. But someone did, indirectly.

The best on-the-record quote in The Athletic story came from former Seahawks RB Robert Turbin, a close friend and a groomsman at Wilson’s wedding.

Said Turbin: “The reason that we’re here is because he’s on pace to be the most sacked quarterback in the history of the NFL.”

It’s true. At 394 sacks, Wilson is already 20th on the career list in nine seasons. His idol, Tom Brady, is second at 521, but he’s been at the job 12 more seasons.

Responsibility for the high rate has two parties. The offensive line during Carroll’s tenure is the unit that has had the least resources devoted to it, and Wilson hangs on to the ball longer than any quality QB. Parsing the percentages is irrelevant at this point, because Wilson said on his media tour that he’s tired of being hit so much. He said something must be done to improve pass protection.

His call, no matter whose feelings get hurt, because it’s his body that is getting hurt.

In retrospect, there was a game in 2020 that illustrated how things are changing for Wilson.

It was the first of the three games with the Rams, a 23-16 loss in LA Nov. 15. In the second quarter, Wilson threw a 22-yard pass toward TE Will Dissly that was intercepted in the end zone. The bad throw was compounded by Wilson’s failure to opt to run through a huge opening created by his rollout.

After the game, Carroll was blunt: “I’m screaming for him to run because he’s got 10 or 15 yards. It was a decision we’ve rarely seen . . . bad play.”

Wilson reluctantly agreed. But it sounded a bit as if he was being self-pitying.

“I should have ran it,’’ he said. “I think I’ve just got to get better. I’m not going to make it overly complicated. It’s not on anybody but me.”

Unless, of course, he’s grown weary of getting beat up by the Rams, and shying away from contact.

In that game, operating without injured RBs Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde, Wilson had a passer rating of 57 on 22-of-37 for 238 yards and two interceptions (he hit DK Metcalf twice in four targets for 28 yards).

Worst of all, Wilson was sacked six times and hit 12 times.

That figures. Aaron Donald, Death Eater. Right? No.

Donald didn’t record a single stat. Apparently nursing an injury, he played only 68 percent of the snaps, his lowest of the season. When he was in, he drew double-teams, opening lanes for teammates. When he wasn’t in, he was still in Wilson’s head. And Wilson was on his back, his worst game of the regular season. Donald was mostly a decoy.

During the next week, I was in touch with someone who had spoken to Wilson after the game. He had a one-word description for him: “Demoralized.”

That game also featured an episode that speaks to risk tolerance. This was about 4th-and-1, a subject that may demoralize Wilson in Seattle as much as pass/run ratio.

On Seattle’s first drive of the third quarter, Wilson’s third-down scramble left him inches short of a first down at the Seattle 39. After Carroll burned a timeout in a fruitless challenge of the spot, the offense stayed on the field while Wilson tried to draw off LA’s defense with a hard count. When that failed, Carroll called for a punt instead of going for it with the league’s highest-scoring offense.

Carroll defended the decision: “I don’t want to give them the ball at the 40 — if we don’t get it, that’s like a turnover, like you just handed them an interception. Let (punter Michael Dickson) kick the ball inside the 10-yard line and go play defense.

“It was too early in the game. I just felt like it wasn’t worth it.”

Dickson did his job, punting to the 12. The beleaguered defense didn’t. The Rams went 88 yards in 14 plays for their only points of the second half and a 23-13 lead.

Carroll wouldn’t second-guess himself.

“The players would love to go for it, and I know that and I’d love to go for it too,” he said.  “I have to work against my nature to go ahead and kick that ball right there. But I would probably do it the same way again.”

Wilson, going diplomatic on a hot Zoom mic: “You obviously want to get that opportunity to convert. It could go either way. I don’t think it was a bad decision.”

Yes, he did. Any good quarterback would want the chance, especially one who was operating atop the league.

It’s true that all coaches and QBs have disagreed over fourth-and-short since before Brady drew Bill Belichick’s first scowl, in the Jurassic period. But this is different now in Seattle. Two strong-willed, successful men with different football views have reached a crossroads. There is no Paul Allen to mediate.

Entering his 10th season of play, Wilson wants Carroll to trust him to take more risks. In his 48th season of coaching, Carroll wants Wilson to trust him to take fewer risks.

The football world awaits a blink.


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YourThoughts

  • Nads

    Since it looks as though Pete and JS are going to be here for a while, it is an opportune time to move Russ off to the LV Raiders. Russ is at peak as a performer, Gruden would love to have him. The Hawks would have to get Carr in return plus a pirates ransom to include multiple high draft choices and current worthy personnel from the Raiders roster. Part of the deal might be the Raiders selecting the Hawks choice of this years 1st round selection and then consummating the deal after June 1st to make cap issues palatable. But the demeanor being shown by the Hawks upper echelon (Carroll), one gets the impression he would favor a reboot.

    • 1coolguy

      As Adams cost (2) #1’s, (1) 3rd and a player, I can’t imagine how a team could afford RW in terms of draft picks given.
      I don’t know why any sane GM would burden his team with Watson’s salary, no matter how good he is. That salary condemns any team to the second tier.

      • art thiel

        Any deal likely would include young impact player(s) besides draft picks.

        Every quality veteran QB carries a similar burden. Price of doing business.

        • Richenge

          Except Tom Brady, who has consistently taken less money to make sure he has players around him and then it all comes back to him in post Super Bowl endorsements/advertisements.

          Outside of some league wide agreement on limiting QB salaries this seems to be the only avenue for sustained success in the NFL besides the occasional luck of getting a precocious star like Wilson or Mahomes that get you to the promised land before they get paid!

    • art thiel

      The Raiders are the best fit among the four, although I’m unclear whether a post June 1 deal is plausible given that FA and draft for ’21 will be over, setting costs and roles already for all teams.

    • Husky73

      Seahawks with Russ…12-4. Seahawks with Carr….7-9.

      • LarryLurex70

        It was a deceptive 12-4, though. Still not sure how they accomplished it.

  • Alan Harrison

    Familiarity breeds contempt, wrote Chaucer. It happens. It’s been Russell and Pete, Pete and Russell for some time now – longer than most. If there’s a breakup, who’d be surprised? If there’s not, who’d be surprised? If I were the GM (thankfully, for all of Seattle, I am not), and knew in my heart that I had to make a trade, I’d go with the Saints and immediately trade the draft pick portion to Houston for Watson. But that’s not going to happen.

    • art thiel

      I’m advancing you to GM right now if you can get Watson.

      We saw superstar vs. franchise happen in 2000 with the Mariners. Circumstances are different, but the outcome eventually could be the same.

    • eyeroq

      lol. I understand Houston is the worst run franchise in football, but I don’t think even they would fall for a fleecing that transparent.

  • DJ

    Nice synopsis and setup, Art! We’ll see how this goes. I get Russ’ timing and this all smacks of capturing the moment of Man-O-Year attention and upcoming free agency to fix the long standing issue that we’ve all witnessed are are frustrated with. I’m glad that Russell is making his stand.

    I still think that a whole lot will be fixed with a new tailored scheme, but if a couple new dominating OL bodies can be leveraged, so much the better.

    The big worry I see that you pointed out is the psychological impact the constant abuse is apparently having on Russell, and affecting his in-game decisions. I always thought that he was above flinching. Time to amp up those couch sessions with his sports therapist so as not to have that continue to be an issue for him, just when the scenery has a chance to get better. Go Hawks!

    • art thiel

      Thanks. Wilson sees other offenses and QBs doing things he’s easily capable of, but he believes Carroll’s risk-averse strategies are denying him the chance to do as much or better. Since he’s given his body to the cause, he figures he has a right to speak up.

      • DJ

        Yep, we all see other offenses doing things Russ is capable of and I believe would accel at – especially given the weapons that we currently have. I believe the combined talent that the Seahawks have on offense now would rival or exceed any prior Seahawks team. Scheme and predictability are their biggest weaknesses.

        I think this story is all about urgency – to do everything possible to make the offense the best possible, given the current personnel. Is Russ not happy with the OC choice? Heck no – he likes the choice, and other than being a rookie OC, it seems like a great move. But past fixes have been incomplete. The OL was its best back in the ‘13 Super Bowl, has seen huge dips and few peaks since. The offense has largely survived because of Russell’s extreme abilities, used out of necessity. We have never seen the Hawks operate consistently at level where Russell’s movement and other abilities aren’t a fire drill, rather than adding to the list of complementary offensive threats.

        Things hit rock bottom this season when the offensive game plan and play calls became too predictable and lacked chess move strategy in attacking the defense. They also didn’t complement Russell’s strengths, akin to say how KC does for Mahomes. Instead, Russell became more trapped by traditional pocket passing formations. But the biggest hit was the Rams ability to snuff Russell’s escapes. We forget that Russell Wilson influenced defensive strategy change when he came into the league because of his mobility and wisdom in keeping his physical risks low. The Rams have a PHD in covering all of his escape routes, neutralizing RW, making him ordinary, by way of having the right personnel mix to properly execute Operation Stop Russell.

        I don’t care for the public approach that Russel and agent are currently taking – leaves too much room for misinterpretation. We also don’t know what conversations have or are taking place with regard to and between Pete & Russell. Isn’t it currently a time when team/player communications are on negotiated blackout? However, with the upcoming free agency and draft chances to make improvements to the OL, a new potentially more protective scheme likely already being formulated, it makes sense to me for Russell to use whatever leverage he has seek for everything possible be done to improve and not just another, now typical, half-baked attempt.

        • Husky73

          There is no rock bottom in a 12-4 season. You are spoiled by success.

          • DJ

            Yeah, I agree with you. The season record isn’t rock bottom. But to have gone an amazing 12-4, in a offensive record setting season, then to have ZERO chance in the playoffs, fire the OC, followed by making a potentially game changing hire at OC, and then your model citizen, future HOF QB puts out suggestive trade partners for his services, with a supposed rift between him and your HOF Head Coach?! I don’t consider that a dream off season, do you?

            Husky73, I need to go back read your comments to see where you’re coming from on Art’s article and excellent take, and will. Until until next season, 98% speculation and interpretation.

            Cheers

          • art thiel

            Of course, it’s speculation. That’s why you’re reading and commenting, You care. No need to play Joe Cool.

          • DJ

            Fair enough. Thanks

        • Howard Hart

          Predictability is a problem. Superior execution overcomes predictability. Superior execution is something the Hawks just don’t have and haven’t had for a while now.

          • DJ

            Yeah, good point. Reminds me what Chuck Knox would say similar to that – if you execute correctly, it doesn’t matter if the other team knows what you are going to do, you will succeed.

  • tor5

    Your usual good insights, Art! You gotta be wondering what Waldron is thinking. No pressure, man!

    • art thiel

      I was wondering about that too. It’s like he walked into an episode of “All in the Family.”

  • jafabian

    Typical DangeRuss. Says via his agent (so he can say he never said anything) that he doesn’t want to leave Seattle but promptly gives a list of preferred teams. This so much reminds me of when Junior began his disagreements with the M’s. If sacks are an issue he needs to look up the records for most sacked QB in a season. David Carr has the record of 76 with Randall Cunningham right behind at 72. Wilson has yet to crack the All Time top 20.

    I would be mildly surprised if Wilson leaves but the silence from the Carroll/Schneider camp speaks volumes. A no-trade clause is always negotiable. To say the team doesn’t listen to him is laughable. They’ve brought in players like Jimmy Graham, Josh Gordon, Duane Brown. They’ve drafted Pocic, Lockett, Metcalf. The team is doing what it can with its resources. And at this time because they invested so much in a “It’s Now Time” mode the Hawks upcoming draft doesn’t have many picks. Deshaun Watson hit 62 in 2018. The criticism is valid however complaining won’t fix things. To suddenly criticize players and coaches and not acknowledge their effort is making it all about Wilson. Which is inconsistent to the Russell Wilson we’ve seen in the past who would typically accentuate the positive. Makes me wonder where exactly all this criticism is really coming from because it’s out of character for Wilson to make things all about him.

    When you see the Rams make a bold move to win now and how the Hawks will probably stand pat with what they have I wonder if Russ is drawing the same conclusion. But if the Rams end up winning the division and go to the Super Bowl and the Hawks have another first round flame out with Wilson looking like the next David Woodley and the salary cap is preventing the Hawks from doing any roster improvement then a QB change could be considered. Especially if Russ again makes his usual subtweeting and offhand comments. He’s slowly moving away from being Theodore Cleaver and becoming Eddie Haskell.

    • art thiel

      Seems you’re off Russ bandwagon, John. I kinda like the Haskell analogy.

      The fact that he hasn’t had the worst single year for sacks doesn’t diminish the fact that his career pace is the worst, and he is partly responsible. I don’t think Wilson has said they don’t listen; he just wants more input. It is fair to say that the Seahawks were all in with resources to win in 2020, so the first-round blowout was not only a failure on its own, it leaves them resource-poor for 2021.

      Standing pat with Wilson is hardly a bad outcome, especially considering the $39 million cap hit for a pre-June 1 trade. And going nine years before clearing his throat about Seahawks shortfalls is, in my view, hardly a cause for scolding. He’s as unhappy as most fans with the 2020 outcome, especially after the spectacular start.

      Wilson is subject to the fair criticism that he seems to be averting responsibility for his own misjudgments, misplays and shortness that contributed to the offensive decline.

      • jafabian

        I’m a fan of DangeRuss but Russell Wilson is another thing entirely. Kinda like the Boz and Brian Bosworth but in reverse. The complaints are valid but the way he’s going about things is not helpful and could cause problems and division. Among both players and coaches. I suppose it worked for Aaron Rodgers but I’d be surprised if Wilson’s goal is to get rid of Pete Carroll. However Coach Carroll’s biggest supporter in Paul Allen isn’t here anymore. Food for thought on that. With success comes scrutiny in professional sports. I’m not sure if Wilson realizes that or believes he’s immune to it. He hasn’t publicly discounted the trade rumors, rather letting them fly around the way the Orange One watched the Capital riots. I guess that makes his agent his VP?

        Much has been made of the offensive lines for the Bucs and Chiefs but I see them only a little better than the Seahawks. There’s much that Wilson could be doing differently but he has been mildly accountable and tends to add a counterpoint. I will say that if the Rams are willing to shake things up to return to the Super Bowl the Seahawks have some decisions to make, especially if the Rams succeed.

        But the way Wilson is handling the controversy is poor though not unlike how other high profile athletes handle such matters but not in the Evergreen State. We never saw any of the Ring of Honor act this way. If I could I’d point out to him that Albert Einstein once said “ Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.” He’s trying to bridge the two evenly but isn’t succeeding. Something that ARod did and we know how that worked out.

      • Howard Hart

        “he just wants more input.”

        If he gets his ‘say’ but not his ‘way’ does that mean to him that he is not getting enough ‘input’?

  • Husky73

    Art, you bring up an interesting point when you say, “There is no Paul Allen to mediate.” Questions: Did Paul Allen ever mediate or insert himself into player discussions? Where is Schneider in all of this? Isn’t that his job? If not, is there anyone inside or outside the Seahawks organization that can be the “honest broker” between RW and PC? And finally, why don’t Russ and Pete simply sit down in Renton and talk things over? Or have they?

    • art thiel

      Carroll and others over time have said that he was in the discussions on pivot points with the franchise. He was said to have been helpful in hearing out the sides and seeking assurance that all aspects were considered. I never heard that he micro-managed the football side.

      Schneider works for/with Carroll. He’s not objective. The sides will talk via Zoom if each thinks resolution is worthwhile. I expect at least that will happen.

      • eyeroq

        And that really is the 500 pound invisible elephant in the room. The one person who actually has a voice to do something, Jody Allen, and her conspicuous reticence. It’s disappointing. If she’s as passionate a fan as is said, it’s hard to understand how she could sit idly by as this train wreck between Pete and the $140 million dollar face of her franchise unravels.

  • woofer

    Good, balanced summary. Important differences exist, but both sides are behaving reasonably, and both sides seem to want to get the problem fixed. A trade would be a desperate resolution to a painful defeat — a defeat based on failed communication. Both Carroll and Wilson pride themselves on their communication skills, so I don’t see either side giving up without a genuine effort at resolution.

    • art thiel

      I think at least one more year is the likeliest outcome. But there’s one more thing to consider: Whether Wilson thinks the Seahawks, with four picks and little cap room, is capable of improving the team in ’21.

  • Hockeypuck

    When you’re capable of demoralizing one of the most positive individuals every to wear a a Seattle jersey (in any sport) then its time to go. RW now realizes that Coach Wonka is arrogant, delusional, out-of-touch, and now completely ineffectual. PC is a toxic combination of Tony Robbins and Elmer Gantry. This team has no future with Coach Wonka in control; their 12-4 record last season was pure Fool’s Gold. The fact they got absolutely obliterated in the playoffs by a team whose QB was playing with a broken thumb is proof of that. The fact the PC gravitates toward players like Jamal Adams, who is basically ineffectual as a DB but masters in the post-game art of primping, preening and pontification with no performance to back him up indicates that Coach Wonka has completely lost it. Next year this team (with our without Russ) will be by far the worst team in the NFC West. RW has had it; he’s not going to waste another year of his career playing for this ass-clown.

    It’s too bad that Paul Allen passed; he would have understood this and canned Coach Wonka in the most unceremonious way possible – a fate he richly deserves.

    • 1coolguy

      Wow. That’s all I can muster, wow.
      You may do well to follow another team.

      • Hockeypuck

        I like this team – just with a different coach, that’s all….

        • art thiel

          That’s a fair opinion. The personal attack damages your credibility.

          • Hockeypuck

            Not a stretch to consider Coach Wonka out of touch. Just ask DK Metcalf (and the other unattributed quotes) that suggest the Seahawks offense is predictable. And he was clearly outcoached in games this season – the loss to the NY Giants. That would be ineffectual. And the fact they would give up 2 first and a third round draft pick for one of the lowest-rated safeties (per PFF) all because of his perceived impact on the team’s culture is delusional. Is that enough “credibility” for you?

          • jafabian

            I think you’re mistaking quotes by Sherman and Bennett and equating them to Metcalf. I don’t recall DK ever disparaging against Coach Carroll. And in the case of Bennett and Sherman they made their quotes soon after being released. Bennett made some overtures last year to return which the Seahawks didn’t bite on. Wouldn’t surprise me if Sherman does the same if he doesn’t get signed by anyone.

          • Hockeypuck
          • jafabian

            When I got to the part that quoted DK saying that the Seahawks have been running the deep pass ever since Coach Carroll arrived I stopped reading. Let’s do the math. Coach Carroll arrived in Seattle in 2010. DK was 13 years old at the time. So am I to understand that DK has been involved with the Seahawks offense that entire time? He’s been focused and following them and deeply understood all plays and schemes? At the very least they’ve changed when the OC’s changed. And DK is extremely grateful that the Seahawks drafted him when all teams passed on him. I have a LOT of doubt that he actually said that. He may have said that teams began to figure out the offense but everything else stated I don’t think so.

          • Hockeypuck

            If you want parse and misinterpret every sentence DK uttered to suit your preference that’s certainly your prerogative. Pretty sure he was simply expressing the belief that (in his two years in Seattle) the offense has become stale and predictable.

          • art thiel

            DK is parroting Wilson, and there’s truth in the offense being predictable. You may read the OC was fired.

          • art thiel

            As with many smart athletes in pro sports, they grow weary of a coach’s rhetoric after 4-5 years. Red Auerbach said it 50 years ago when he left coaching for the front office. 20-something players will always say 60-something coaches are out of touch. Some of it is true, most of it is human nature to think you know everything at 25-30.

    • Husky73

      Yes, in NFL history, there has never been a disgruntled quarterback that has been at odds with his head coach after the season. This situation is completely unique.

      • art thiel

        Indeed, we have seen this before. In Green Bay two years ago, Aaron Rodgers got Mike McCarthy fired.

        • LarryLurex70

          Did you actually miss the sarcasm there, Thiel? Say it ain’t so!

      • Hockeypuck

        You’re right – it’s not unique at all. What’s changed though is that QBs (players generally) now realize they don’t have to waste the balance of their careers held in bondage to a coach whose ego dictates the team perpetuate his old outdated philosophies. If Paul Allen were alive Coach Wonka would be asked difficult questions, and held accountable. And the fact that Coach Wonka was dismissive of suggestions his HOF quarterback for improvements created this situation.

        Face it – times have changed. RW will be somewhere else next year and I hope he gets another ring. And Coach Wonka, the Seahawks will suffer greatly as a result. There will be a reckoning (one year too late) but the franchise will suffer greatly. And i won’t be the slightest bit sympathetic….

        • Husky73

          How would losing Wilson and Carroll possibly make the Seahawks better (see record above)? Who would you replace them with? Who would be upgrades?

          • Hockeypuck

            RW’s whole beef with the team is he thinks the their offense is predictable and outdated. Other (unattributed quotes) from current players have stated the same. DK Metcalf came right out and said it: https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/dk-metcalf-shares-where-seahawks-offense-went-wrong/ar-BB1d78E1. So if you think their star receiver is sticking around after his first contract expires guess again.

            The point is twofold:
            1. RW feel entrapped basic on his coach’s unwillingness to put ego aside an adapt his approach. Coach Wonka’s dismissive attitude regarding RW’s suggestions is proof of that.

            2. RW has witnessed Coach Wonka and his sidekicks’ grotesque management of the draft/personnel moves for several years – which have left the team lacking in talent and virtually no salary cap space – i.e. virtually no means to improve the talent gap between the Hawks and every other team in the NFC West – yes the Seahawks have inferior talent compared to SF, LA and Arizona – and no means to improve that gap. The only way to improve would be by trading and/or not resigning players. Unfortunately, Coach Wonka is too egotistically to trade Jamal Adams – he would have to admit to his mistake to do that. He’ll also stubbornly hold on to both Bobby Wagner (in spite of the fact he drafted his replacement) and try to retain KJ Wright. Never mind they both play LB – a position that in the NFL is going way of the dodo bird. He’ll try and keep both at all costs – mostly because slavish propagation of his very personally concocted, manufactured and very ethereal concept of team culture – whatever that is. Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett were here several years and finally called bullshit on it all.

            In that context, your question regarding the “upgrades” is not relevant. RW understands all of the above. There are no upgrades to be had. If he remains he knows there is virtually no way to significantly improve the team. And RW also knows that with Paul Allen gone Coach Wonka has ultimate control, is accountable to no one, and will not change anything – no matter what the consequences. So rather than waste the balance of his career with a team in decline, he wants out now.

            If Jody Allen wanted to be proactive (she won’t be) the upgrades would come as follows:

            1. Fire Coach Carroll. Hire a new coach to begin the rebuilding process. Which will take several years. The 49ers are now “back” but it took several poor years and a few good drafts to get back on track. And interestingly, it all started with firing their coach and GM and replacing them with new, creative thinkers..
            2. Trade RW, Jamal Adams and BW for draft picks.
            3. Begin rebuilding

            There are no upgrades, no quick fixes. You can’t cheat death. This is the only way out.

          • Hockeypuck

            The point is twofold:
            1. RW feel entrapped basic on his coach’s unwillingness to put ego aside an adapt his approach. Coach Wonka’s dismissive attitude regarding RW’s suggestions is proof of that.

            2. RW has witnessed Coach Wonka and his sidekicks’ grotesque management of the draft/personnel moves for several years – which have left the team lacking in talent and virtually no salary cap space – i.e. virtually no means to improve the talent gap between the Hawks and every other team in the NFC West – yes the Seahawks have inferior talent compared to SF, LA and Arizona – and no means to improve that gap. The only way to improve would be by trading and/or not resigning players. Unfortunately, Coach Wonka is too egotistically to trade Jamal Adams – he would have to admit to his mistake to do that. He’ll also stubbornly hold on to both Bobby Wagner (in spite of the fact he drafted his replacement) and try to retain KJ Wright. Never mind they both play LB – a position that in the NFL is going way of the dodo bird. He’ll try and keep both at all costs – mostly because slavish propagation of his very personally concocted, manufactured and very ethereal concept of team culture – whatever that is. Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett were here several years and finally called bullshit on it all.

            In that context, your question regarding the “upgrades” is not relevant. RW understands all of the above. There are no upgrades to be had. If he remains he knows there is virtually no way to significantly improve the team. And RW also knows that with Paul Allen gone Coach Wonka has ultimate control, is accountable to no one, and will not change anything – no matter what the consequences. So rather than waste the balance of his career with a team in decline, he wants out now.

            If Jody Allen wanted to be proactive (she won’t be) the upgrades would come as follows:

            1. Fire Coach Carroll. Hire a new coach to begin the rebuilding process. Which will take several years. The 49ers are now “back” but it took several poor years and a few good drafts to get back on track. And interestingly, it all started with firing their coach and GM and replacing them with new, creative thinkers..
            2. Trade RW, Jamal Adams and BW for draft picks.
            3. Begin rebuilding

            There are no upgrades, no quick fixes. You can’t cheat death. This is the only way out.

          • art thiel

            As I’ve written this season, the Adams trade pushed lots of chips on the table. It became win-or-bust, the Seahawks busted, even at 12-4 and a division title, because now they have few picks and little cap room.

            The ego issue of which you write is equally applicable to Wilson and his desire to be the GOAT. NFL history is littered with clash-of-titans episodes like this. Wilson has chosen to use the selective media tour as his weapon, and the Seahawks have wisely chosen silence, because they know they won’t win a public pissing contest.

            Indeed, Carroll has much responsibility for the bust. But after extensions to Carroll and Schneider ahead of the Rams bust, firing Carroll now makes a bad situation worse. They have to play this out, for a reason unique to this off-season — the shrunken salary cap. We’re about to see across the NFL a big bunch of quality middle-class players (including Wright, Carson, Griffin) hit the free agent market, in addition to all the known QB drama. So many teams are already over the cap.

            Personal insults aside, you are entitled to claim Carroll/Schneider aren’t up to the task. I think they have cred to be given the chance to work their way out of the corner they’ve put themselves in.

          • Hockeypuck

            The firing of Pete Carroll would be in the context of a “tear down” in concert with trading RW for a bushel-full of draft picks. Over the past 4-5 years this team has slowly, grindingly and inexorably deteriorated as every season they’ve mortgaged the future to play the “win now” game. And during the win now phase they haven’t even gotten past the first round. I would keep JS around – I think he’d flourish without being beholden to PC’s philosophy. As I stated above in response to Husky73 – with no draft picks and cap space there is no way to improve vs. teams in the division that are have draft picks, and are younger and more talented to begin with. Teams that haven’t foolishly wasted draft picks or overspent on aging veterans at irrelevant positions (LB) or panic and overpay for posturing, primping overrated pseudo strong-safeties that can’t play pass defense. And the longer PC remains, each and every year is going to entail more desperation trades in exchange for aging “win now” players, and the deterioration will continue – all the while he stubbornly adheres to his outdated philosophies. This is why RW wants out. You can’t cheat death, this team simply has no way to improve itself going forward.

            There’s no way PC would ever do a tear-down on his own; he’s too proud and has simply lost touch with football reality. Given how he’s squandered the franchise’s football resources, he shouldn’t be entrusted with a rebuild (nor would he want to anyway). So he has to go. If not the deterioration will continue and things will get downright ugly – with or without RW….

          • art thiel

            With each passing season, more teams adopt a win-now mode. There’s been a devaluing of first round picks because evidence shows that beyond the top 10-15, difference-makers are hard to find. The mid-season trade is becoming a more-favored tool to fix a clear shortcoming.

            I do agree with a point you’re making, and one I made months ago. In deals like the Adams trade, there is somewhere down the road a reckoning. The Seahawks may be at that threshold, which is why they have to, at minimum, game out every Wilson trade scenario. And perhaps pull the trigger. But I don’t see that it involves firing Carroll.

        • art thiel

          I agree that there’s a new era dawning for premium QBs. But Carroll can’t change that, nor is he likely to change Wilson’s mind. But what would scuttle the season is if Wilson’s forces the trade now, with $39M of dead money on the books for ’21.

          • Hockeypuck

            First and foremost, RW holds all the cards. If he states he won’t play for PC again then the Seahawks hand will be forced and they will be forced to trade him contract/cap hit be damned. If they don’t and RW sits out, they’ll be in exactly the same place this time next year.

            Contracts are meant to be finagled. If RW wants out, he could grease the wheels by returning some of his bonus to reduce the cap hit. At which point he is traded, signs an extension with his new team and recoups some/all of that money. People act like the salary cap is a book in the Bible; inviolate and never-changing. Everything can be manipulated. And the league will look the other way. If they take a hard line it’s possible that several QBs could continue the practice of holding out and and give the league/owners the collective middle finger. This would be a PR disaster and violate Goodell’s sacred mantra of “protecting the shield”. Based on his clumsy dumb-ass handling of the Colin Kaepernick and anthem protests, it’s clear good-old Roger doesn’t handle volatile PR situations very well. To call RG a step slow would be an understatement. He’ll do everything he can to avoid a similar repeat…

    • Husky73

      Definition of arrogant, delusional, out-of-touch, ineffectual, toxic ass clown: Super Bowl champion, 2 NFC championships, 5 NFC West championships, 9 playoff appearances, 10-8 playoff record, record of 112-63-1.

    • art thiel

      Are you a Huskies fan mad that USC won big under Carroll?

      Your personal assertions about Carroll are unfounded and unwarranted. Reasonable people can disagree about his football decisions, but his coaching record and his work in the community make the character-bashing baseless.

  • 1coolguy

    Dallas? You have GOT to be kidding. Jerry Jones, the same guy that got rid of Jimmy Johnson and has had a team in the dumpster for over 20 years? The Bears? Talk about a dysfunctional franchise. I’m not convinced Chucky and the Raiders would be a fit.
    Sean Peyton would be an excellent match, as RW would be Brees V2. They also have an excellent O line and good D.
    The best trade for the Hawks would be the Bears, as their draft choices would come in higher than the other 3, especially if Dak stays a cowboy.

    • art thiel

      Saints are almost $70M over the cap. A trade still is doable, but your attempt at GMing is leaving out financial consequences.

    • Husky73

      “The best trade” with the Bears would likely result in a 4-12 season (or thereabouts) and this room would explode with “what were they thinking?”

      • 1coolguy

        You missed the point – Of the 4 teams, the Bears would most likely provide the most draft picks, AND their W-L typically falls into the lower part of the league, so their draft choices would be higher than the rest.
        What is your choice of the other 3 and why?

        • Husky73

          My choice is to keep both RW and PC for the next few years.

        • art thiel

          The placement of the Bears’ first-round picks is a secondary issue. The Seahawks need a quality QB replacement for Wilson. Nick Foles couldn’t even out-play Mitch Trubisky and was benched.

    • art thiel

      I can see him leaving, no question. QBs are getting more and more power, and Wilson sees himself in the Manning/Brady/Rodgers class who can dictate some terms and conditions.

  • Tman

    The salient thing about Wilson’s observing the Super bowl is that he is aware that Tom Brady was given the freedom to put his supporting cast in place. The result a Super bowl win his first year with the franchise. A blowout at that.
    The problem for the Seahawks, the players and the league is, if Russell Wilson leaves who goes with him?

    • jafabian

      Brady was fortunate that there was a need for the players he wanted. At one point he and Arians weren’t getting along. But then they started winning which heals all wounds.

      • art thiel

        The Bucs were 7-5 and having disagreements. As do all teams with title aspirations. But with all his SBs, Brady received deference from Arians.

    • LarryLurex70

      If Wilson has “protection in the pocket”, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the running game Pete loves to establish in order to exploit secondary matchups would be the best course? It’s worked for him in the past at both the collegiate and pro levels. Whereas, I’ve noticed that when Russ is cooking – padding his stats – it’s usually at the expense of the running game, which, hasn’t really been as reliable since 2014 or 2015.
      If he wants to be a leading voice or whatever, let him start by doing what Brady did in New England and and take less/defer salary to protect him up front and re-establish a dominant ground game.
      I realise handing the ball off to the backfield corps – assuming they’re even healthy – isn’t nearly as sexy as throwing it to Lockett and Metcalf. But, what’s more important? Letting Russ cook his way to the MVP like his fanboys here want and are always moaning about? Or, playing TEAM ball like they used to do – especially on offense – and winning a championship again? I’m not convinced after the last several years that both are possible.

      • art thiel

        Wilson believes if he is allowed the freedom to throw in the fashion he wants — and using tempo and going for it on fourth and short — winning will follow. Everyone eats. Carroll disagrees, and believes his way is proven. If they are so moved, I think they can find a way forward through a compromise for ’21. Depends on whether Wilson believes Carroll fan fix things on short resources.

        • LarryLurex70

          Unfortunately, those “short resources” usually involve a shoddy O-line and a fractured/unreliable backfield corps. I don’t blame Pete for not wanting to chance it on 4th downs.

          • art thiel

            It’s true that Carroll’s lack of faith on fourth isn’t about Wilson; it’s the other 10. Wilson usually believes that they are capable. It’s the coach’s job to know better than the QB. Doesn’t mean Wilson has to like it.

        • Howard Hart

          “and going for it on fourth and short”

          It seems to me that Brady and some other QBs are not afraid of the QB sneak on very short yardage whereas it doesn’t appear to be in the Seahawk playbook. I’ve seen Russ do it once, maybe twice but the play seems to be a glaring absence to me.

          • eyeroq

            I’m quite glad the QB sneak has not been part of his repertoire. Wilson takes enough injury risks running for his life trying to avoid the big hit. Calling a play that carries the 100% certainty he’d get pounded while inviting potentially all sorts of cheap shots at the bottom of the pile … is just gratuitous.

            I’m sure if Brady was mobile and athletic enough to effectively carry it across the goal line any other way he’d opt for it. He doesn’t, so he resorts to the sneak.

          • art thiel

            The Brady sneak isn’t a last resort. It’s an effective tool.

          • art thiel

            Brady’s height gives him leverage that Wilson doesn’t have. There are things Wilson can’t/shouldn’t do.

    • art thiel

      Wilson is indeed jealous of Brady’s ability to dictate terms and conditions. Who wouldn’t be? But Wilson isn’t Brady yet.

      The path you suggest isn’t one Carroll is likely to go down, because he doesn’t want turnovers and won’t have the resources to overhaul the line.

  • ll9956

    I’m pretty sure I remember the play on which you quoted Pete Carroll’s justification for punting. It started out being fourth and one, but after Carroll’s botched clock management, which resulted in a delay-of-game penalty, it became fourth and six and a punt became obvious. IMO this could have very well been the game changer. If my memory is right, Carroll owned up that he caused the necessary punt. I suppose everyone is entitled to an occasional misstep, but that was a costly one.

    • art thiel

      That was a botched play, but whether it was Carroll, Schotty, Wilson or a late-arriving player that caused the delay, isn’t yet clear. But as much as any single play can tell a tale, that one does.

  • Bruce McDermott

    All good points, Art, except remember that the Hawks knowingly “surrendered” the “control” to which you refer when they agreed to a no-trade clause (or approved-trade-only clause) in Wilson’s contract. That horse has left the barn, and they opened the door.

    Otherwise, it’s my sense that this last season lost Pete some significant faith among the faithful, on the team and off it. It’s hard to get that back, I’m afraid, with the same cast of characters…

    • art thiel

      Good point about the no-trade. The Seahawks may have thought it was sleeves from a vest, but it gives the agent power. But there’s also a risk to Wilson that if he isn’t traded, his play, conduct and attitude diminishes to the point of damaging his reputation and image. Perhaps a small price, but he’s put in a lot of effort to cultivate what he has.

  • dharmabruce

    Clearly the Wilson era is over in Seattle, whether this offseason or next. Teams don’t recover from divisions this size, especially with sports’ most pivotal position. As a Hawks fan and still generally a Wilson fan, it’s really tough, too soon. But there it is.

    In my opinion, Wilson is being foolish. The Seahawks have provided every advantage. A consistently great coach, a GM making consistently good personnel decisions, an incredibly positive and supportive fan base.

    Not to mention the NFL’s most exciting young wide receiver with DK Metcalf! How can you leave that?

    Maybe Russ will be unbelievably successful with another team and show everyone how high he can fly with the conservative play calling limits gone. That would be both fun and incredibly difficult to see. As a Hawks fan, I want him to keep doing that here.

    But it’s just as easy to imagine him struggling with a new team, turn the ball over too much, fall back to the statistical mean, or further. Or, hopefully not, even get hurt, miss games, harm his longevity.

    Wilson’s choices may leave him as simply Mr. Ciara. Still not a bad gig, apparently. Time will tell. Maybe not too much time.

    • art thiel

      Wilson sees other QBs operating other offenses and says, “Why not me?”

      His acquisition of the no-trade clause means he can dictate the place that he thinks has the least chance for the bad outcome you describe.

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  • Tim

    I love Pete. I love Russ. We’ve all watched Russ get pounded for years. Their pass protection has never been great, and for the most part it’s been awful. That’s on Carroll and Schneider. Russell’s body can’t keep taking that punishment. I don’t blame him at all for expressing his frustration.

    • art thiel

      The sack rate has been obvious for some time. Seems as if the abandonment of LetRussCook was the bigger deal to him.

      • Husky73

        Perhaps the sack rate just went up with Watt going to Arizona.

  • Warchild_70

    With 4 picks there’s an unlikely chance to improve the O line. Free agents, maybe I’ll just get the popcorn and Bourbon&Cola and get comfy to see how this “As the World Turn’s” soapy plays out.

    • art thiel

      Pity you’re unavailable to advise Carroll when he asks.

      • Warchild_70

        Hey there Arthur, no way will I impose my thought to a mega coach however I do emphasized that at 30 and the number of times being blasted by behemoths his health comes to the forefront so that to accomplish a stellar carrier in one piece one needs guardians of the same size to vanquish those that do harm to our Prince.

  • John

    Just a stupid thought on my part. What if this drama is just a variation of playing possum with the rest of the NFL. Make the other teams, namely those in the NFC West, think the Seahawks have become seriously dysfunctional. It might be a bit too Machiavellian but it’s interesting, for me, to think about.
    I read through the comments and there’s a variety of opinions, ranging from absurd to well reasoned, I can see that there’s plenty ado going on here. Personally, I am not going to worry about the outcome because I have no control over it. Looking at the four teams that were stated as teams Wilson would welcome a trade to, I don’t think there’s much to be up in arms about.

    • art thiel

      Of all the permutations here, one we can eliminate is possum.

      Good of you not to worry, but responding here expresses some level of care, yes?