All relationships have their rough patches. But for the Seahawks and Russell Wilson, those rough patches have been fairly minimal, at least publicly, during the nine year marriage between the franchise and star quarterback.
But Wilson is on a scorched earth campaign this week, basically demanding to play assistant general manager to John Schneider and throwing just about every member of his team under the bus. Naturally, the Seahawks are not happy about this development.
It's easy to understand Wilson's frustration. He has been sacked and hit a lot. You can also understand the Seahawks' frustration from the other side of the fence. You cannot ignore the number of sacks and hits Wilson is culpable for taking. The two sides are butting heads and if this continues, a messy divorce could be part of the not-so-distant future.
Of course, the Seahawks and Wilson can work this out and thanks to a $39 million dead cap hit, they're going to have at least a year to do so, as the signal caller won't be playing anywhere but Seattle in 2021. But just as Wilson has a right to protect himself, so too does the franchise. If he is engaging in a chicken dance, Seattle needs to be prepared for life without him.
But this presents an even larger problem for Seattle, who does not have a starting quality quarterback on its roster behind Wilson. While any future trade involving Wilson is likely to include high draft picks and potentially a stop-gap quarterback (the Matthew Stafford trade serving as an outline), coach Pete Carroll is knocking on the door of retirement and he won't be looking to spend his final three years in Seattle partaking in a massive rebuild.
By some stroke of luck, the 2021 free agent class is actually loaded with some quality insurance policies. Names like Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston, Tyrod Taylor, Jacoby Brissett, Cam Newton, Joe Flacco, and CJ Beathard are amongst those available. Using the Marcus Mariota signing as an outline, handing one of these quarterbacks a two-year contract could be wise for the Seahawks.
But herein lies another problem. Seattle has limited cap space and many other holes to fill. How can Seattle give Brissett a two-year contract at $6 million per year and still fill the holes at guard, center, running back, wide receiver, defensive line, and corner? Especially when they currently have just $2-$4 million in space to work with.
The Seahawks have a right to protect themselves if things continue down this road with Wilson. And with the path Wilson is headed down this week, he may finally force Schneider's hands to either commit to a serious backup or use one of his precious few draft picks on a signal caller to develop for the future.
In his attempts to force Seattle to bend to his will, Wilson may have inadvertently forced Schneider to spend the money earmarked for improvement on Wilson's replacement. If anything, this week should serve as a reality check for Seattle. Wilson won't be around forever and Seattle's disregard to developing a backup quarterback could bite them.
For now, this is just smoke and again, there's time to fix things. But if Wilson and the Seahawks continue down this track, the only questions will be where he will be playing next and who will ultimately replace him under center.