Russell Wilson was never getting traded this offseason; the Seattle Seahawks quarterback confirmed as much in his first press conference of the new league year last week. Wilson’s previous comments, however, did raise the stakes for the NFC West frontrunners.
Wilson was as vocal as ever in the first part of 2021. His rightful frustration boiled over into an interview where he addressed the egregious lack of protection he’s had in Seattle and the desire to truly be a part of personnel and play-calling decisions. This was after rumors circulated of a potential trade; but, even when the trade rumors broke, there was still a very, very low possibility of him leaving the only franchise he’s played with.
“There was a whole thing saying I requested a trade, and that’s just not true,” Wilson said Thursday. “I didn’t request a trade. I think everything kind of started from there, and then obviously tons of teams were calling, and the reality was I didn’t want to go anywhere else, I wanted to play in Seattle, but if I had to go somewhere, these are the teams I would consider.”
Wilson has talked a lot about legacy and his love for Seattle; while the trade request and wave of rumors surrounding it might not be true, the eight-time Pro Bowl player was correct about all of the other points he made prior to the Seahawks’ organized team activities—and that was the point. Wilson has all of the leverage in Seattle; Wilson is why the Seahawks are still relevant in the most competitive division and in the NFL as a whole.
While there are still a number of questions to answer regarding Wilson’s previous comments and what the team’s brass will do in 2021, Wilson seemed to have accomplished his immediate goal of having a bigger say in offensive schemes. He has spent a lot of time with newly-minted offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, formerly the Los Angeles Rams’ passing game coordinator. The two have spent the offseason getting acclimated and can now bring those talks straight to the gridiron.
“We have some nuances across the board that really challenge the defense, using the whole field and really expanding the offense,” Wilson said Thursday. “Just using everybody as much as possible, in all different formations and different looks and different tempos.”
What will be most interesting is how much of Wilson and Waldron’s offseason game-planning will come to fruition during the regular season. Head coach Pete Carroll continues to put an emphasis on establishing the run; it’s a nauseating philosophy and frustrating style of play when the Seahawks have a quarterback of Wilson’s caliber and a running back room that hasn’t seen large success since Marshawn Lynch was running through defenses.
“It's super complex,” Wilson said. “We are going to be able to move people around. We are going to do everything that we want to... I really believe in [Waldron].”
Wilson wants to win championships; he wants to create that legacy he’s always talked about. In order to do that, whatever offense he’s in needs to be able to utilize his talents in totality—not just when the game is on the line. The Wilson-Waldron fit seems promising; but really, aside from a few months ago, Wilson’s comments always seem promising. How this will work? How will Seattle effectively transition and execute a more uptempo offense? How well will Wilson be protected? And, when push comes to shove, how much say will Wilson have in season?
This offseason brought these, and more, questions to light; it parallels the Seahawks’ botched Super Bowl appearance fans are still trying to erase from their memory. It will be a telling year for Seattle’s brass, and it could be a determining factor in Wilson’s future.