Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Russell Wilson lost trust in Seahawks, teammates say he ‘checked out’ in 2021 before Broncos trade, per report

The Seahawks sent shock waves through the NFL this week when they reportedly agreed to trade franchise quarterback Russell Wilson to the Broncos, contradicting their own repeated assurances that Wilson was in Seattle to stay. In reality, the divorce was all but inevitable, according to The Athletic. In a deep dive into the star QB’s departure, the report states that Wilson and the Seahawks gradually lost more trust in each other in recent years, to the point that some of Wilson’s teammates believed the Pro Bowler “checked out” during the 2021 season.

Frustrated by an increasingly different offensive philosophy, and inspired by Tom Brady’s relocation-fueled Super Bowl run with the Buccaneers, Wilson had his agent, Mark Rodgers, call Seahawks general manager John Schneider last offseason with a list of acceptable trade destinations in the event Seattle wanted to part ways, per the report. This was essentially the QB’s way of requesting a move without actually doing so, and Schneider, already at odds with Wilson’s increasingly public hints at displeasure, “brushed off (his agent) in profane terms.” That led to Rodgers listing Wilson’s preferred destinations to ESPN.

And then came the 2021 campaign. Amid Wilson’s slight drop-off in production, as well as his sidelining finger injury, “(some) teammates said they sensed … that Wilson had checked out,” per the report. Wilson, meanwhile, who had long been very tight with coach Pete Carroll, particularly during the team’s back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in 2013-2014, grew increasingly frustrated with the staff’s run-heavy tendencies. By 2021, per The Athletic, the QB felt that Carroll was simply telling him what he wanted to hear, and that their relationship, while professional, had not improved.

“Without trust, the two sides couldn’t find a way to co-exist behind the scenes,” according to the report, “which rendered their public comments (about commitment) meaningless.”

Now, Seattle is in search of its next QB, owning the Broncos’ No. 9 overall pick in the 2022 draft, as well as former Broncos second-round QB Drew Lock. Denver, meanwhile, hopes to emerge in the crowded AFC West with Wilson under center, giving the Broncos their most accomplished signal-caller since Peyton Manning.

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