Make no mistake, what happens between now and tomorrow is important.
The Russell Wilson trade saga had been simmering for some time. As we all know, what really kicked things into gear was Wilson sitting at the Super Bowl watching Tom Brady win another Championship.
Here was a team, 100% invested in their quarterback, enjoying success.
When Brady wanted Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay obliged. When Bruce Arians said publicly there was no chance of Antonio Brown being added. Guess what? He ends up with the Buccs because Brady wanted him.
No quarterback had more weapons by the end of the year. No quarterback had been listened to in quite the way Brady had — from personnel decisions to game plan.
What Brady wanted, he received. And it worked.
Wilson craves that. He perhaps feels he’ll need to go somewhere else to get what he wants — just as Brady did.
He doesn’t want to confine the best years of his career to a philosophy he doesn’t believe in. Clearly, as the likes of Greg Olsen have made clear, he doesn’t think Pete Carroll’s approach will deliver success. That doesn’t mean he hates Carroll or has a bad relationship with his Head Coach. It just means he doesn’t want to look back in 20 years and wonder what could’ve been.
That’s why the four teams Mark Rodgers passed on to Adam Schefter all had offensive-minded Head Coaches. Wilson wants to do things differently and yes — that means a lot of passing.
He sees the success Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes have had. He sees the creativity Buffalo uses with Josh Allen. He’s seen first hand what Sean McVay can do for whoever starts in LA. Plus of course, Brady in Tampa Bay.
He wants a slice of that.
He also wants the team to deliver when he makes a personnel request.
A year ago Antonio Brown was destined to land in Seattle before he quickly bolted for Florida. Wilson and Carroll even conducted press conferences where they were asked about the signing — that’s how inevitable the deal felt at the time.
It probably wasn’t anyone’s fault in Seattle (although the team hastily put out in the media that they decided against the move in a clear case of damage limitation). This was the draw of Brady at work — an immovable force within the NFL.
Now the Seahawks are in a similar position. According to reports, Odell Beckham Jr ‘prefers’ to join the Seahawks after being released by the Browns. Other reports have since suggested Wilson has urged the team to sign him.
If they don’t put in a waiver claim or sign him if/when he clears waivers — what will this say to Wilson?
It’s easy to imagine this making a deteriorating situation even worse.
The quarterback could easily view it as such — the Seahawks prefer to save their $13m in cap space for next year, rather than push to get back into the playoff mix in 2021.
Furthermore, they failed to act on his desire for Beckham — a close friend — to join him in Seattle.
I would suggest the Seahawks, if they really want to try and ‘have a go’ this year, should add Beckham and open up their passing game. The running game has been an incoherent mess at times with no consistency. The defense plays in fits and starts. Their best chance to make a late run is to lean on their star quarterback and give him an arsenal of weapons capable of beating any team.
This goes against Carroll’s preferred methods but at 3-5 and with the season on the brink of being wasted — this is no time for sticking to your guns.
How do you cover Beckham, D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett? That’s a great question to ask upcoming opponents.
Beckham might prove to be a busted flush. He might have minimal impact or even get injured again.
Yet the price — essentially half of their remaining cap space if they claim him off waivers — is so small, what exactly are you losing if it doesn’t work out? At least you gave yourself the best chance to make some noise this season.
Always compete? How can you even utter those words if you sit on $13m and continue to pass up opportunities like Beckham and Stephon Gilmore?
For the cost of two Benson Mayowa’s, why not have a go to see if this once elite receiver can rekindle his magic when playing in the same offense as Wilson and two other stud receivers?
Not signing him could be the final straw for Wilson, setting the table for an eventual trade in the off-season. Only this weekend Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen were discussing the prospect of the Philadelphia Eagles making a move.
Currently the Eagles are slated to own the #3, #7 and #14 picks in the 2022 draft — putting them in pole position to trade for a veteran signal caller.
If the Seahawks land Beckham and make a firm statement to Wilson — it might not heal all wounds but at least it shows they’re trying.
If Beckham lands somewhere else and all indications show that, despite Wilson’s desires, they weren’t interested — we’ll need to start looking a bit closer at how Seattle will be spending those high first round picks.
If you’ve missed our draft coverage this year — the 2022 class has plenty of depth but lacks star talent at the top end. Even if you end up with #3, #7 and #14 — you’re unlikely to find a quarterback you’re sold on for the future. You’d also be left nervously hoping to land a top name such as Kayvon Thibodeaux or Derek Stingley.
Land those two and perhaps someone like Jordan Davis or Trevor Penning and you might be able to say with confidence you’ve properly bolstered ‘need’ areas. Yet the finger crossing involved with a Kenny Pickett or Malik Willis taken later in the draft — if available — is enough to create plenty of anxiety.
Both players, along with several other quarterback prospects, have positive traits. Yet nobody has emerged this year to definitively say — ‘draft me, I am the top signal caller in this class’.
We may end up having to dig into that pool of prospects very soon, regardless.
As Wilson prepares to return to action this week against Green Bay, this feels like a significant 24 hours. Let’s see what happens.
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