The Seahawks’ season is over. With six games left.
We haven’t said that this early in a season since 2008, when Mike Holmgren’s final squad was stuck on two wins all the way until Week 14 and ended up 4-12. (Jim Mora’s pitiful 2009 band was 4-7 before collapsing to 5-11.)
The Hawks (3-8) have a minuscule shot at the playoffs if they could get to nine wins, but they certainly are not going to win six straight with this quarterback, who showed his ineptitude again Monday in a 17-15 loss at Washington.
So, it’s time to get ready for big change in the offseason.
At this exasperating point, we would be fine with a new GM, coach and quarterback – a totally new era. But that is not likely to happen.
We’ll assume Pete Carroll does not want to retire off this poor season and Jody Allen does not want to remove him after just extending him in 2020. John Schneider also was just extended and seemingly is not going anywhere (even though he is as average as they come as a GM).
So, Russell Wilson is the one who needs to go. He played yet another poor game at Washington, missing many reads and throws. The inaccuracy certainly seems related to his finger injury, but the poor reads and missed open receivers are part of a longtime pattern — something that transcends offensive coordinators and has nothing to do with Carroll “holding him back.” Wilson clearly has hit his ceiling, and it’s time for the Seahawks to send him to a team that does not know that and get what they can for him.
Last offseason, the Chicago Bears reportedly made a big offer that Schneider apparently took to Carroll, who declined it (and may now be ruing that decision). Assuming that report was true, it would mean Jody Allen seemingly has signed off on trading Wilson.
Schneider now should officially field offers for the erstwhile star QB. Despite Wilson’s recent failure, there should be no shortage of interested teams who will see his history of winning and his big-play penchant and think he might overcome the limitations that have become so glaring over the past year. (That’s where the narrative that Carroll has shackled him should help Seattle. Wilson will not change his style, but other teams may not know that or may think they can succeed where Seattle has failed with him.)
New Orleans might be the No. 1 option. Sean Payton needs a new star QB, and the Saints can always create cap room to add Wilson, whose agent listed the Saints as one of four acceptable teams for which Wilson would waive his no-trade clause. Wilson saw what Payton did for Wilson’s mentor, Drew Brees, and that’s surely why he wants to play for Payton. The Saints reportedly would “love” to get Wilson, so this seems like the odds-on favorite destination.
Philadelphia, which owns three first-round picks in 2022, might be a better option for Seattle. But will the Eagles want to pay to upgrade over Jalen Hurts? And could Wilson be convinced to go there? Or would Wilson also widen his options to include teams like Miami and Denver?
Moving Wilson would add $11 million to Seattle’s cap space for 2022. And Seattle would get a nice draft bounty from the acquiring team. Chicago reportedly offered three first-rounders, a third-rounder and two veteran starters. Matthew Stafford netted Detroit a little less than that: two firsts and a third, plus Jared Goff. So Seattle should be able to look forward to at least four picks/players for Wilson, if not the six offered by Chicago.
Meanwhile, Schneider would need to find a new QB for Carroll. Aaron Rodgers is an obvious option. Like him or not, the anti-vaxxer with the oft sour demeanor is still a stellar QB. Rodgers seems set to be traded from Green Bay after this season, and you can bet Schneider will be interested if the GM trades Wilson.
Schneider was part of the Packers’ braintrust that drafted Rodgers in 2005, so it would be quite a full-circle move for Schneider and Rodgers to reunite. Carroll surely would love to finish his career with an MVP QB. The Hawks could offer up what they get for Wilson and give Rodgers a short extension to drop his $26 million cap number.
If Rodgers is not an option, another could be Jimmy Garoppolo, whom the 49ers figure to trade so first-rounder Trey Lance can take over. Garoppolo, whose value is hindered by his injury history, would be a lot cheaper than Rodgers — maybe a second-rounder or a couple of lesser picks. He would bring a $25.6 million cap number, but that could be cut down with void years or a short extension.
The Hawks also could try to trade for Derek Carr, who would have a final-year cap hit of $19.9 million. Schneider and Carroll could do a one-year trial with the 30-year-old before considering an extension. He shouldn’t cost much more than Garoppolo in draft pick(s). Wilson also likes the Raiders, so they could even do a QB swap – with Seattle ideally getting extra picks in the deal. This kind of swap would depend on what the Raiders’ new coach thought of Carr.
Absent a franchise QB, the Hawks could get a cheaper one and use their resources to fortify their defense and build a stronger running game.
A cheaper QB trade could bring the “Mustache” back to Washington. Former Coug Gardner Minshew, now with the Eagles, would not cost a lot in pick or pay (he could even be part of a Wilson trade, if the latter were willing to go to Philly), and Minshew might thrive with better talent in Seattle than he had in Jacksonville.
Otherwise, the Hawks would have to bring in a couple of other vets to compete. The top free agents: Seahawk killer Colt McCoy, Ryan Fitzpatrick (he needs a new team to add to his resume) and former first-rounders Teddy Bridgewater, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota and Mitchell Trubisky.
The key to any new QB is to get what they have not gotten from Wilson: The passer has to use the middle of the field, has to get rid of the ball quickly and has to do more than just throw deep balls.
The Hawks have other things to address, which is why it might make sense to use the resources gained from a Wilson trade elsewhere other than on a franchise-type QB. They have to fill three O-line positions (LT, RT and center) and find some running backs, and their defense will need corners and a pass rusher who can beat double-teams (or a better rush scheme).
Schneider and Carroll have operated without much of a plan since the LOB was dismantled in 2017-18, but they’d better come up with a good one this time if they want to stick around much longer.
There’s no guarantee the Hawks will be any better with a different QB, because there’s no guarantee Schneider will bring in the right players or that Carroll and his staff will set them up for success. But Jody Allen seems married to this GM and coach for a while longer, so trading Wilson is the big move they have to make.