We fully expect Russell Wilson to be the Seahawks’ quarterback for at least the next three seasons, but there is plenty of speculation — including by him — that he might not be in Seattle for much longer.
On Monday, he told a North Carolina radio show that he hopes to stay in Seattle, “but I’ve also gone through ups and downs and been moved around before.”
He later tweeted:
Change is a constant! & Success is never final! #NoTime2Sleep
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) June 22, 2015
Those comments add to a growing chorus that already is singing Wilson’s swan song in Seattle — whether it’s 2016, 2017 or 2018.
With no extension this year, the Hawks would have to place the franchise tag on Wilson next February. Some think they would use the exclusive tag, which forbids other teams from negotiating with the player, but it’s pretty obvious the Hawks would not spend the extra $5 million or $6 million for that right — if they were willing to do that, they already would have paid him what he wants.
The Hawks surely would roll the dice and use the regular tag (expected to be worth about $20 million next year), which would give them the chance to match any offer or receive two first-round picks from the team that signed the quarterback.
So, let’s play a little devil’s advocate and assume some team — Cleveland? Jacksonville? Chicago? Denver? — comes along next offseason and signs Wilson to an offer sheet that the Hawks do not want to match. Then what?
As we mentioned recently, the Hawks have the roster to contend for at least the next three years. But that assumed Wilson would be their quarterback in 2016 and 2017. What if he isn’t?
It’s a thought that had us wondering whether the Hawks would cover themselves by drafting a QB in May — but they passed on Garrett Grayson in the second round and Brett Hundley in the fourth.
Obviously, the Hawks would have an extra first-round pick next year (and in 2017), and they could look at Michigan State’s Connor Cook, Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg or Indiana’s Nate Sudfeld, among others. But could a rookie play well enough to help the Hawks win the Super Bowl?
The veteran fallback option would be Tarvaris Jackson, but he most likely could not lead the Hawks to anything better than nine or 10 wins and perhaps one playoff win. He makes poor decisions, holds the ball too long and is not capable of bringing the team from behind — and the Hawks’ line is not much better than it was in 2011, when Jackson proved all of that.
The Hawks could look for short-term help among free agents Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, Brock Osweiler, Brandon Weeden, Derek Anderson or Drew Stanton.
Or, hey, they could invite 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck back for one more year as the starter while a young QB learns behind him.
We still think Wilson will be in Seattle for at least three more seasons — whether on a long-term deal or franchise tags in 2016 and 2017.
But, if he’s not, we’ll certainly see whether the Hawks can win the Super Bowl with any other QB, with the No. 1 defense and a pounding rushing attack leading the way.