In today’s sports world, it’s extremely difficult for a relationship between a player and a team to last for years on end.
Fewer pro athletes than ever are starting and finishing their careers with the team that drafted them for a variety of reasons.
And this NFL great says one starting quarterback and his team are destined to see their relationship end in a divorce.
Even dating back to his days at North Carolina State, Russell Wilson has always been positive, and never dared to speak out publicly against any teammates, coaches, or other decision makers.
But that all changed at the end of the 2020 season, when Wilson began to voice his frustration with being sacked more times in his first nine seasons than any player since at least 1970, and the lack of other playmakers around him to help the team get to the next level.
It’s hard to blame Wilson for being frustrated, after all, if that trend continues, he’s on pace to become the most sacked quarterback in NFL history in just three years time — 12 years into his career — surpassing the total it took Brett Favre two decades to set.
Many have speculated throughout the offseason that Wilson’s time in Seattle would be coming to an end, and there were even reports that the Seahawks were fielding trade offers for their star quarterback.
None of that has materialized, though, leading most to assume that the Seahawks would do what it takes to keep a top-five quarterback in the league happy and healthy, as that caliber of player – especially at the quarterback position – doesn’t come around often.
But according to NFL great Warren Moon, the relationship between Wilson and the Seahawks won’t end well, and he pointed to other Seahawks greats of the recent past as evidence of his prediction.
“I think it’s kind of headed, unfortunately, in the same direction [as former Seahawks Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman],” Moon said. “I think right now it’s almost like a marriage that’s started to just have squabbles, and they’re squabbling about certain little issues, whether it’s pass protection, whether it’s talent. There’s all these little squabbles going on right now. And I think because of Russell’s contract situation, there’s not a whole lot the Seahawks can do as far as moving him somewhere else, even if they wanted to.”
Like many, Moon rightly pointed out that Wilson’s contract does tie the Seahawks’ hands, at least for the time being.
With Wilson’s current contract, if the team traded him before June 2, he would still count for $39 million against the team’s 2021 salary cap, and if they trade him after that date but before November 2nd, the $39 million would be divided over the next two seasons with $13 million counting against the 2021 cap and $26 million counting against the 2022 cap.
Therefore, with that much dead money at stake that the team couldn’t use to improve their roster, Moon pointed out that the most likely scenario is Wilson stays in Seattle for the 2021 season.
However, Moon simply doesn’t envision the relationship lasting far beyond that.
“I think he’s definitely there this year unless they just want to take a hit and not become a really good football team for a year or so,” Moon said. “But I think that the marriage is not going to end very well going down the road.”
“I think this squabble is going to turn into more of a separation and then a divorce at some point,” Moon continued. “And that usually happens with most players anyway. You just don’t like it to happen because of the two sides not getting along.”
While Moon’s prediction makes total sense based on how this offseason has played out, there is obviously always a chance the two sides can work things out.
In fact, earlier this week, Seahawks veteran defensive end Carlos Dunlap said that before he resigned with the team last month, he specifically asked Wilson if he was staying with the team.
“I did ask him if, obviously, he was going to be with us, because if I’m coming back, I’m coming back because I see him as my quarterback, and the rest of the team, I want to pick up where we left off,” Dunlap said Tuesday. “And he told me he’s with us and he’s here to stay, and he said, ‘Let’s go, Hawks.’ I’m not going to quote his every word. These words are not his words verbatim, but these are my explanation of how I interpreted what he said.”
While we’ve certainly heard similar quotes about players who’ve ultimately jumped ship in the past, Russell Wilson is different than most.
He’s never given anyone a reason not to believe him when he says he’s committed to the team, as he’s always been a team player who simply wants to do whatever he can to help his teammates succeed.
Wilson isn’t a “me-first” player, at least, he’s never seemed to be throughout his first nine seasons in the league.
But no one can blame him for wanting to get hit less – it helps extend his career and helps the team succeed if he’s not being destroyed by a 280-pound defensive end every other play.
The Russell Wilson saga has certainly been interesting to watch unfold thus far this offseason, and Warren Moon’s point that this is only the beginning certainly has merit.
It’s merely a waiting game now, though, and we’ll just have to wait and see how this relationship ultimately plays out.
Sports with Balls will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.