Author of ESPN bombshell on Wilson, Seahawks divorce joins Stoke and Zach
Sep 7, 2022, 3:03 PM | Updated: 3:10 pm
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Just five days before Broncos QB Russell Wilson will return to Seattle to face his old team, ESPN dropped a bombshell.
Seahawks reporter Brady Henderson wrote a lengthy piece describing the divorce between Wilson and the only NFL team he had ever known. There’s so much to dissect, so many interesting stories and some very in-depth reporting by Henderson. Rather than try to explain it all here, you should read it for yourself, but with some added context.
Henderson joined Stokley and Zach on 104.3 The Fan on Wednesday afternoon and broke down the piece. He said the notion that Wilson demanded and received a trade isn’t completely true.
“I think the simplest way to put it is both sides reached a point where they wanted to move on. I think the knee-jerk reaction when observers saw this was that Russell forced his way out of Seattle. And that it was a situation where he wanted out and the Seahawks weren’t able to convince him to change his mind. That’s not what happened at all,” Henderson said.
For as crazy as it seems, it sounds like there were people in Seattle’s brass that actually wanted to move on from a future Hall of Fame QB. One who’s made the Pro Bowl in nine of his 10 NFL seasons.
“There was certainly a lot of resistance in the building to the idea of trading him, but momentum had kind of slowly gained with the idea that he was a declining player because of the mobility that had made him an elite player. People in the building felt that was declining and that he was not going to be the player that he has been. So this was very much a mutual decision. I think the stuff that’s gotten the most attention is Wilson venting his frustrations. That was obviously a big part of it, but that was only half of it,” Henderson said.
That’s pretty crazy when you think about. Seahawks GM John Schneider apparently saw more value in keeping 70-year-old head coach Pete Carroll rather than committing to a new deal for Wilson. Henderson explained there was real hesitancy from the Seahawks to give Wilson another contract.
“(The front office wondered) is he going to continue to be worth the massive amount of money that they’re going to have to pay him as he continues to age? From Wilson’s standpoint the big issue was him feeling like he was held back by the Seahawks. By Pete Carroll and the way he wants the offense to run and wants the quarterback to play. And also by the Seahawks’ reluctance to spend a lot of money on their offensive line. That was really the one area where they skimped,” Henderson said.
Wilson was sacked 47 times in 2020, good for third most in the NFL. He was sacked 33 times in 2021, but didn’t play all 17 games. It’s been a knock on Wilson for years, that he holds onto the football too long. But his offensive line wasn’t any good, either.
“I think from Wilson’s standpoint the offensive line was a huge sticking point. When the you-know-what kind of hit the fan after the 2020 season, that was a big reason. He wanted to know what the plan was going to be in terms of how to protect him better and he didn’t get a clear answer from the Seahawks. That’s when he went public with his frustrations, and as I laid out in the story, that was a really big flash point in the relationship ending up how it did,” Henderson said.
Again, the reporting in the article is fascinating. Henderson talks about how the Seahawks tried to trade Wilson for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The stubborn Cleveland Browns said no and took Baker Mayfield instead. How’d that one work out? That’s just one of many interesting nuggets.
Ultimately, there were theories out there about why Wilson and the Seahawks parted ways. Henderson did a great job answering those questions.
You can listen to his full interview with Stokley and Zach here.