Did the Seattle Seahawks almost draft a QB in the first round in 2019?

The Seattle Seahawks have never had a losing NFL season with Russell Wilson as their quarterback. Wilson’s overall record as the Seahawks QB is 98-45-1. Seattle has made the playoffs in eight of Wilson’s nine seasons. Twice, they’ve reached the Super Bowl. And in 2013, they won a Super Bowl ring with Wilson at the helm.

Any time a franchise wins a ring, there’s nothing to complain about. The Super Bowl ring is the ultimate achievement. But while Wilson and the Seahawks have embarked on one of the most successful runs in recent history over the past decade, things may be less than perfect in paradise.

As Pro Football Network’s Chief NFL Analyst Trey Wingo stated in a recent interview on CBS Sports Radio’s “The Zach Gelb Show,” friction has been building between Wilson and the Seahawks for some time. That friction raises questions, not just about the Seahawks, but about Wilson himself.

The legacy of Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson

Quantitatively, Russell Wilson has been the best franchise quarterback in Seahawks history. Wilson had a formidable act to follow in Matt Hasselbeck, who reached a Super Bowl of his own while serving as Seattle’s starting quarterback. Yet, it didn’t take Wilson long to set the new standard at quarterback for Seattle.

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After being selected by Seattle Seahawks GM John Schneider in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Wilson quickly took over the starting job. He won a Super Bowl in his second season. Almost a decade later, he’s become a paradigm at the position. Wilson hasn’t missed a game in his career, throwing for 33,946 yards, 267 touchdowns, and 81 interceptions in 144 contests.

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The Seahawks QB is one of the undisputed top talents in the league at his position, up there with Patrick Mahomes, Dak Prescott, and Aaron Rodgers. He’s generated a great deal of success for Seattle. However, with rumors of frustration building regarding Wilson and the Seahawks, further analysis suggests that things haven’t gone as swimmingly for Wilson and his camp under the surface.

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Trey Wingo says the Seahawks were thinking about making a move for a QB in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft

During Tuesday’s radio interview, Wingo, who is also an equity partner and brand ambassador for PFN, shed some light on the situation surrounding Seattle and Russell Wilson. He made it clear that Wilson’s standing in the league is beyond contention.

However, he also noted that, behind the scenes, there’s something regarding Wilson and the Seahawks that’s eroded the relationship over time. In fact, Wingo went so far as to reveal that the Seahawks were thinking about making a move for a QB in the first round in the 2019 NFL Draft.

“There’s no question in my mind that, whatever the top tier is — whether it’s two, three, four, or five… let’s say four — of best quarterbacks in the NFL, that’s the list Russell Wilson is on. There’s no debate about that, what his ability is, and what he can bring to a franchise. Yet, for whatever reason, there have been multiple cases over the last three or four years where he just tends to rub people the wrong way. Richard Sherman and Russell had their issues. I can promise you that in 2019, there was a quarterback in the draft that the Seahawks were thinking about trying to make a move for in the first round, and Russell heard about it. And that’s when he made that ridiculous contract demand, ‘I need a new contract by April whatever…'”

In a vacuum, Wilson’s request for a new contract may not have had the significance it does now. However, the recent revelations of tension unearth new discoveries in the Wilson saga, and they force onlookers to look at past events in a different context. The recent unrest has been building more gradually than previously thought, and soon, it may come to a head.

What drives a team to think about trading a top-tier quarterback?

The tension between Russell Wilson and the Seahawks is notable. It’s nearly unprecedented regarding a quarterback of Wilson’s caliber. While admitting that no one has all the necessary information, Wingo went on to deduce that something must be off-center with the Seahawks QB. If the Seattle Seahawks, who’ve experienced so much success with him, have been driven to consider parting ways midway through his prime, then something is not right in Seattle.

“Listen, there’s no denying his talent. It’s not a debate, it’s not a discussion, it’s not a hot topic, it’s not an opinion — it’s a fact. But there’s something about Russell that tends to rub people the wrong way. Whereas the franchise that has won a Super Bowl with him and saw him do great things in his entire career is literally thinking about the idea of trading him and taking a $30 million-plus dead cap hit. That’s something you just can’t gloss away. That has to be something we have to delve into a little bit.”

More information is needed, but when there’s smoke, there’s fire

Wingo’s words are thought-provoking, but unfortunately, one can only think so much with the information on the surface. The situation with Wilson has festered long enough that some details have risen to the surface. And yet, most of the relevant information remains unavailable to the public. Still, Wingo reiterated that there’s more than what meets the eye with Russell Wilson. Otherwise, his status with the Seahawks would be a non-issue, as his performance suggests should be the case.

“Everything from a public standpoint seems like he’s the greatest. But there has literally got to be something that jars at people a little bit. Otherwise, there’s no reason to even have this discussion or think about all these things if there wasn’t something that just gets under your skin about him. I have no idea what it is because I’m not there. But all these things that you see moving forward lead you to believe there’s got to be something there that’s like sandpaper.”

The implications of the Wilson-Seahawks drama

The Russell Wilson situation certainly deserves attention moving forward. On the other hand, the turn of the new year felt like the best chance for dominoes to start falling. Ian Rapoport even disclosed that the Chicago Bears had made a significant offer for the Seahawks QB. Wilson has a no-trade clause in his contract, but the Bears were reported to be one of his favored destinations. Nevertheless, the Seahawks themselves rejected the trade offer. The Bears, meanwhile, ended up signing Andy Dalton.

The Seahawks’ decision to decline the offer was already puzzling, after reports the Bears included three first-round picks and two starters in the offer. Indeed, it’s even more puzzling after the updates brought to light by Trey Wingo in his radio appearance this past week.

Wilson and Seattle seem destined to break apart, and the Seahawks are likely to lay the foundation for a succession plan, whether in the 2021 NFL Draft or beyond. But for now, the two sides are locked together. Like clashing plates, building pressure. Soon enough, a quake seems primed to occur.

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Ian Cummings is a Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and his voice and face on Pro Football Network Daily. Follow him on Twitter @ian_cummings_9.

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