Able to cap off an otherwise disastrous season on a high note with back-to-back convincing wins, the Seahawks look poised to give their current organizational structure one more run in 2022. However, star quarterback Russell Wilson may have other plans.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, sources close to Wilson, who turned 33 in late November, is seeking to gauge the market this offseason and determine whether or not he wishes to remain in the Pacific Northwest.
"Wilson has not demanded a trade, and it's not clear if he will," Rapoport added in his Sunday morning piece on NFL.com. "But at the least, those close to Wilson say he wants to investigate other destinations to see if those would put him in a better position to win another championship and create the legacy he sees for himself."
This, of course, isn't new for Wilson. The entire 2021 offseason was dominated with headlines depicting a rift between the quarterback and Seattle's front office, which was kicked into overdrive when his agent, Mark Rodgers, provided four preferred trade destinations—Dallas, Chicago, New Orleans and Las Vegas—to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
In the end, conversations were had and the rumors were ultimately downplayed by both Wilson and the franchise, though speculation has naturally ramped back up given the outcome of this past season.
The Seahawks got off to a slow start on the year, going 2-3 as Wilson headed for surgery after suffering a severe middle finger injury in a Week 5 loss to the Rams. He subsequently missed three games—the first time he's failed to make a start since entering the league in 2012—and the team went 1-2 in his absence with backup Geno Smith at the helm. Wilson stunningly made his return well ahead of schedule but, by his own admission, was less than 100 percent. Seattle went on a three-game losing streak upon his reinsertion into the starting lineup, effectively driving the final nail in its coffin.
For just the third time in the Pete Carroll era—and the first since 2011—the Seahawks finished the season below .500 with a record of 7-10. But taking the abundance of injuries the team suffered, namely Wilson's, and the ability to find a successful offensive balance through running back Rashaad Penny's late-season breakout into account, there are grounds for running it back at least one more year.
Wilson indicated he was on board with that notion in his penultimate press conference of the season.
"My goal is to win more Super Bowls and my plan is to win them here. It's that simple," Wilson stated. "There’s nothing really else other than that.”
If this is heading for yet another months-long tug-of-war between the two sides, the logistics of a trade coming together don't seem plausible. The Seahawks don't appear motivated to move Wilson, who can control which teams he can be dealt to thanks to the no-trade clause in his contract. Hypothetically, if the teams he pre-approves are unable to offer Seattle a package that includes a satisfying solution to its sudden opening at quarterback, it's unlikely Carroll and general manager John Schneider will engage for long.
The desire to win is still the driving force of Carroll and Schneider's operation, and it's hard to imagine they'll be presented with a more enticing alternative to Wilson in order to stay competitive in 2022. Parting ways with their cornerstone, no matter the return, would likely set them back to a point where the Super Bowl is simply too far out of reach.
For Carroll, who's set to turn 71 in September and may very well be coaching for his job, that's just not an option.