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No More Dancing: Seahawks Can't Let Russell Wilson Drama Cloud Offseason Again

Russell Wilson wants out of Seattle. Or he doesn't. Either way, the star quarterback and franchise must figure out if their partnership will continue into 2022 quickly to avoid speculation negatively impacting the rest of the offseason.

Here we go again...

If you take the latest reports from national media at face value, Russell Wilson may not want to play for the Seahawks in 2022. Or he may want to. The Seahawks may be open to the possibility of moving the star quarterback. Or they may not.

On one hand, respected ESPN insider Chris Mortenson reported Seattle planned to bring back coach Pete Carroll, general manager John Schneider, and Wilson next season. On the other hand, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported Wilson wanted to "explore his options" in regard to other potential teams that may provide a better chance for him to compete for championships.

Sound familiar? This is the type of leveraging Wilson and his agent Mark Rodgers deployed last offseason as trade rumors surrounded the quarterback. One year later, it appears they are following the same playbook, setting the table for another drawn out, drama-filled offseason in the Pacific Northwest.

In what has become an annual charade, Wilson continued to dance around speculation about his NFL future in the closing weeks of the season as masterfully as he has dodged oncoming pass rushers for a decade. On numerous occasions, he has reiterated he would like to stay with the Seahawks, but his usage of strategically chosen verbiage that would make a politician envious has kept the door open for playing elsewhere.

"My goal is to win more Super Bowls and my plan is to win them here. It's that simple," Wilson said prior to Seattle's season finale in Arizona. "There’s nothing else really other than that.”

Behind the scenes, as he did last spring when he provided ESPN with four teams Wilson would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to play for, Rodgers looks to already be hard at work trying to drum up interest league-wide. As Rapoport reported, the player hasn't demanded a trade and it remains unknown whether or not he will in coming weeks.

For his part, during a recent interview with Aaron Levine of FOX 13 Seattle, Carroll seemed to acknowledge that an offseason similar to the last one in regard to Wilson could be on tap.

"Whatever is there, we got to exhaust every opportunity for our club and right from the owner, she wants us to take a look at every single opportunity to better the franchise," Carroll told Levine on Thursday. "That's what we do. It's going to take us some time to put it all together and we have a lot of difficult decisions to make this year."

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At this point, however, after the status of a disenchanted Wilson hung over the franchise like a storm cloud ready to burst at any moment last spring, Carroll and the Seahawks can't afford for the same situation to play out over the next few months again. Entering a critical offseason after a last place finish in the NFC West, they need to know whether their franchise quarterback is truly bought in or not before proceeding to free agency and the draft.

Coming off a disappointing seven-win season, Seattle obviously needs to make some significant changes bolstering its roster. At his end of final press conference last Monday, Carroll pointed to the pass rush as an emphasized area of improvement and the team also has three starting roles currently left vacant along the heavily scrutinized offensive line charged with protecting Wilson.

That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to potential roster alterations needed for the Seahawks to get back into contention next season. From adding defensive tackle and receiver depth to figuring out what direction to go at cornerback, as Carroll noted, there are a number of directions they could choose to go in an effort to get back on the winning track.

But as long as Wilson's future remains in question and his agent keeps pulling strings hinting at his client's desire to play for another team through leaks, trying to persuade quality players to sign with the organization will be an even tougher task for Schneider and Seattle's front office. Once viewed as a preferred destination for free agents, the aura they once enjoyed as a perennial title contender has faded in recent years with just one playoff win in five years and uncertainty with their biggest star only magnifies that issue.

As for the draft process, the Seahawks don't have a first round pick due to the Jamal Adams trade with the Jets two years ago. They have just six picks total, which complicates the process of trying to add young talent around Wilson. If the quarterback has a foot squarely out the door yearning for greener pastures entering the second act of his career, that's an untenable situation in both the short and long-term for the player and team.

On a personal level, while it's unknown whether he will make such a power move, Wilson needs to think carefully before opting to pull the trigger and trying to force his way out of town. Does he really want to risk venturing into uncharted waters when finding a better landing spot may not be possible? Does he really think going somewhere such as Denver or New York will suddenly improve his odds of getting a second Lombardi Trophy?

Even coming off a down season, not many teams have star wideouts on their roster the caliber of Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf and few organizations have had better stability with their coach and general manager than the Seahawks. If he does see a situation worth waiving his no-trade clause for, he also has to keep in mind that a potential suitor will have to give up a ton of draft capital and/or quality players to acquire him, which will negatively impact their ability to build around him.

With that said, other factors must be kept in consideration that could sway his thinking. Wilson may want to land with an organization where he feels he has more influence on personnel decisions. After spending his whole career with one coach, even if his relationship with Carroll isn't strained, he may have interest in seeing what life looks like playing for someone different. He may covet the chance to play for an offensive mind while he's still in his prime.

In the end, if Mortenson's report proves accurate, Carroll and Schneider don't intend to move the star quarterback and why would they? They likely will be coaching and roster building for their respective jobs next season and the best chance at returning to the playoffs lies with No. 3 under center. Based on what Wilson has said publicly, that still seems like the most likely outcome right now.

But regardless of whether Wilson wants to stay or desires an exit, it's time for all parties involved to stop dancing and be fully transparent with one another. Letting the same script play out for a second straight offseason won't do the player or the team any favors and the Seahawks need to know if he's ready to resume his role as captain of the ship or if his camp has already plotted his path for jumping overboard.