What's Next for Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks?

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistMay 21, 2021

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) in action against the Los Angeles Rams during an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

Y'all remember when Russell Wilson was unhappy? 

It was a thing for, like, six weeks. For much of that time period, it was the buzziest story in the NFL. Trade rumors swirled mightily after the the Seattle Seahawks' seven-time Pro Bowl quarterback claimed to be "frustrated at getting hit too much." On The Dan Patrick Show, he also expressed a desire to be more involved in personnel decisions.

But ESPN's Adam Schefter reported early in the new league year that the Seahawks shut down "a very aggressive pursuit" from the Chicago Bears before adding that Seattle would not be "trading him at this time." 

Two months later, the Wilson chatter has disappeared as the football world focuses on the future of another eventual Hall of Famer, Aaron Rodgers, and his disenchantment with the Green Bay Packers. 

But if Wilson wasn't satisfied in February or March, what tells us he's cool with the operation in Seattle now? And even if he's accepted that he's not going anywhere this offseason, how long will that last?

The organization did acquire a solid veteran interior offensive lineman in Gabe Jackson, but Jackson is a zero-time Pro Bowler who peaked several years ago in the eyes of Pro Football Focus and turns 30 in July. There's a reason they were able to get him from the Las Vegas Raiders for a mere fifth-round pick. 

Is that and the addition of tight end Gerald Everett in free agency and wide receiver D'Wayne Eskridge in the second round of the draft enough to convince Wilson that he's got enough support on offense entering 2021? 

It's hard to imagine that's the case. Everett has never put together a 500-yard campaign and has scored just eight touchdowns in four NFL seasons, while the speedy but small Eskridge will likely need time to get acclimated to the physicality of the NFL game. 

Damien Lewis excelled as a rookie third-round pick last season and could take his game to another level in 2021, but there's little reason to get fired up about the rest of the Seattle offensive line to enough of an extent to believe Wilson will suddenly be comfortable in the fall. 

John Froschauer/Associated Press

The 32-year-old was the most pressured quarterback in the NFC in 2020, and that wasn't a new feeling. 

Wilson has been sacked 394 times since entering the NFL in 2012—a span during which no other quarterback has taken more than 325 sacks. And among 27 quarterbacks who have made at least 60 starts in that nine-year span, he possesses the highest sack rate at 8.3 percent (that number is actually 8.9 percent the last three seasons).

Maybe Pete Carroll's coaching staff has quietly granted Wilson more say in personnel decisions, and the eternally optimistic Carroll does at least sound confident that they've moved past a quarrel that was real enough this winter for Wilson's agent to go public with four preferred trade destinations. 

"Right now he is as jacked up as he has ever been," Carroll said of Wilson last month on KJR Radio in Seattle. "He's in the process of turning over a new offense, stuff that is different from the past and things that we'll need to learn. He is totally after it, doing a great job. His mentality is strong and his conditioning is right. He's doing a great job. Things were said. Things were said and sometimes you have to deal with stuff and that's how we take care of our business. We're in a fantastic place right now and really excited about this team."

Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

But none of that is likely to matter if Wilson is hit a dozen times in a Week 1 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, who have DeForest Buckner and rookie first-round pick Kwity Paye up front and should be inspired to make a statement in Carson Wentz's home debut. 

Then it's only a matter of time before Wilson and that line have to routinely deal with division rivals featuring legends and superstars like Aaron Donald, Chandler Jones, J.J. Watt and Nick Bosa. 

The Seahawks have won just one playoff game the last four years. If it appears they're not going to be a prime Super Bowl contender again and Wilson is getting pummeled semi-routinely, will he say something? Will his agent? 

His contract would have been pretty tough for the Seahawks to move this offseason, but it's a different story next year. The Seahawks can actually save $11 million by moving on from Wilson in 2022, according to Spotrac

Which is to say that 2021 could very well be a make-or-break year for the relationship between Russell Wilson and the only NFL team he's ever played for.


Brad Gagnon has covered the NFL for Bleacher Report since 2012. Follow him on Twitter: @Brad_Gagnon.