February 16, 2021

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Brady Henderson

SEATTLE — Three sacks and eight quarterbacks said nothing about how Russell Wilson came under fire in the 17-9 loss against the Green Bay Packers in the opening game of the 2017 season.

Wilson is under pressure because of his 44% rejection rate. Since ESPN began keeping statistics this year, the Seattle Seahawks’ blocking percentage of 24% is still the third worst in the entire game.

Wilson then waved his baseball cap at the Green Bay defense, praising some of his offensive teammates and looking ahead to the next game with his characteristic positivity.

“We need to figure out what we need to do to improve ourselves a little bit; it’s as simple as that,” he said. “It wasn’t like we were far, far away or anything.”

On that day, Wilson answered the questions the same way he has throughout his nine-year career in the NFL – without uttering a single critical word. That’s why it was so clear when he announced last week that he was frustrated with all the beatings he had received and wanted a greater say in the team’s personnel decisions.

“I think it’s a big problem that needs to be addressed,” he said of the pass protection in Seattle. “It needs to be fixed, and it needs to be fixed at the end of the day, because my goal is to play another 10-15 years.

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It’s no coincidence that Wilson’s comments came two days after the LV Super Bowl. He wants to do what Tom Brady is doing – play in his 40s and win – but he knows it’s not realistic if the status quo remains.

He turns 33 next season and will play in a division with star players like Chandler Jones, Nick Bosa and defenseman of the year Aaron Donald, whose dominance of the Seahawks continued with two more sacks in the wild card round, advancing Seattle to a new set of playoffs.

Those thoughts may have crystallized as Wilson watched Brady get beat twice and win his seventh ring with the help of several highly regarded players, some of whom he helped recruit to Tampa Bay.

“The difference in this game is that Tom was hitting the ball down the field, giving the ball to his guys and everything,” Wilson told Dan Patrick, “but he didn’t get hit, really.”

Clearly, Wilson believes that such a radical move, publicly exposing his grievances, will put pressure on the Seahawks to improve their offensive line as much as possible as they enter the offseason with a low number of caps. His comments included what seemed like a veiled ultimatum when he first mentioned the possibility of ending his career elsewhere.

“I don’t know how long I’ll play in Seattle,” he told Patrick. “I think it could be forever. But things change over time, obviously.”

The fact that there has already been a blockbuster swap (Jared Goff vs. Matthew Stafford) this season, and that Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson could also be swapped, makes Wilson even more interesting.

Here is an overview of his situation and what might result:

Misunderstanding. This is not the film of specified.Russell Wilson’s five defeats against the Seahawks, but the film of specified.the Rams, who have pressured Wilson throughout his career. Abby Parr/Getty Images.

Was Wilson’s pass defense problematic?

He was shut out 394 times in 114 regular season games. According to ESPN Stats & Information, this is the most number of seasons a player has played since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. Randall Cunningham was second with 366.

Wilson, who has never missed a game, finished six consecutive seasons in the top five of the sack. According to Elias’ Sports Bureau, it is the second longest streak since the merger.

His 47 sacks in 2020 rank third in the NFL. That doesn’t include the five sacks he suffered in Seattle’s playoff loss against the Rams, which pressured him to give up 50 percent of his spots. Including the playoffs, Wilson was shut down just over four times per game against the Rams, compared to 2.6 times per game against all other teams.

Doesn’t Wilson’s style of play lead to a few sacks?

Yes, his jamming is a double-edged sword, often leading to great plays, but sometimes leading to sacks that he could have avoided if he had thrown the ball earlier and/or thrown it away.

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The Seahawks were fifth in sacks last season (48) and ranked ninth in ESPN’s Block Passage Gain Rate (61.9 percent), which measures how often linemen sustain their blocks for 2.5 seconds or more. Seattle ranks eighth in PBWR since 2017 (59.2 percent), suggesting that some of Wilson’s sacks depend on his tendency to lengthen the game.

Wilson recognized him last week. Pete Carroll, the Seahawks’ coach, pointed out that part of the problem in the Wild Card loss, saying, “I just wish the ball had come out faster. I wish Russ had played the ball out quicker when he had the chance, and when he didn’t, I wish he had had more chances to play the ball out quicker.

What was the Seahawks’ approach with their offensive line?

They spent a lot on recruiting for the position, but not a lot of money.

Since the arrival of Carroll and General Manager John Schneider in 2010, Seattle has recruited 17 offensive linemen. This does not include three converted defensive tackles, one of which was J. R. Sweezy. Eight of the 17 were taken in the first three rounds, finishing second.

The problem is the absence of these picks (Jermaine Ifedi, Reese Odhiambo), and most of them (Russell Okung, James Carpenter) have not been re-signed. Justin Britt remains the only one of these 20 to have signed an extension with Seattle. During this period, they spent the seventh most ($237.4 million) on offensive line personnel, according to ESPN’s list management system. Since 2016, when the first of Wilson’s two mega-lines began, the Seahawks have ranked last in O-line spending at 13.8 percent (league average: 18.53 percent).

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1:39

Mina Kimes responds to Russell Wilson’s frustration at being hit too hard.

Schneider often cites the lack of quality offensive linemen in college as part of the problem. The lack of top talent usually comes to an end well before the second half of the first round, when the Seahawks are usually selected as a regular team for the playoffs.

The offensive linemen Schneider signed in free agency were mostly good deals. One of them, Brandon Schell, had a good first season in Seattle. But Schneider would admit that there were too many Bradley Sowells and J’Marcus Webbs and not enough Schells.

“They know we’re not free agents,” Schneider said last season. “We look for tangents and what’s important to our quarterback. We love our quarterback … We want to have as many grown men for him as possible.”

Dwayne Brown, acquired via trade, has one of only five Pro Bowl appointments by a Seahawks offensive lineman since 2010. He ranks 18th in the NFL during that time, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

So what are the prospects for improving their line this season?

The Seahawks have no first or third round picks because of the Jamal Adams trade and should not receive any compensatory picks. Like many teams, they will have to cut one or two expensive players (Carlos Dunlap?) and possibly restructure one of their biggest contracts (Bobby Wagner?) to give themselves some breathing room, as the salary cap will drop significantly from last season. A contract extension for Adams, depending on its structure, could reduce this amount and at least keep most of it out of the coffers.

They do not have many resources available at this time. So to add them, they would have to deduct significant amounts and/or be more willing than before to budget for multiple restructurings or expansions in the coming years.

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It’s not like they need an overhaul. Brown turns 36 in August when he enters the final year of his contract, so he needs to find a replacement at left tackle. But Brown is still playing at a high level and he and Shell are a strong and exciting tandem for Seattle, while Damien Lewis, last year’s third-round pick, looks to be a lock for the right guard.

Left guard and center are two positions where Seattle can improve on last year’s rookies, Ethan Pocic and Mike Iupati. While Wilson would like to see these improvements come from former franchise players like Joe Thuney or All-Pro players like Corey Linsley, these types of signings would be outside Seattle’s norm and perhaps outside his budget.

How does new commander Shane Waldron fit into this picture?

One of the key questions surrounding the hiring of Waldron is Wilson’s role in the new Seahawks offense. Will Wilson be there as he was at the beginning of last season – after begging the organization to let him “cook” – or will the Seahawks resume their running game as they did in the second half at Carroll’s urging?

It’s a well-known fact: The Seahawks expect the new program to help deal with the pressure Wilson has faced by placing more and more emphasis on short and intermediate shots. This was a major weakness in the Los Angeles Rams’ offense under Sean McVay – Waldron’s boss over the last four seasons – but to a lesser extent in Seattle’s offense. It was a problem toward the end of last season when the defense began to suppress the Seahawks’ rush to deep passes.

Over the past four seasons, the Rams have allowed the third-highest number of bags of any team (108), while Seattle has allowed the second-highest number of bags (190).

Sources told ESPN that Carroll recruited Wilson to hire Waldron. The new offensive coordinator will be a key figure as he tries to reconcile his boss’s guidelines with the QB’s frustrated desires.

Is there any chance that Wilson could be switched?

The Seahawks have received calls from teams interested in Wilson, who has three years and $69 million left on his contract. According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, they made it clear they would not negotiate with him.

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The impact of the cap alone would have been a strong deterrent. Seattle would have received $39 million in dead money by trading Wilson this year, which would have counted toward the 2021 cap if it had happened before June 1.

The only way this could have happened this year is if Seattle had gotten an offer that either (A) included a young quarterback the Seahawks thought they could acquire immediately or (B) put them in a position to go out with one of their own players. A deal cheap enough for the young QB would have made Wilson’s dead money more acceptable. Wilson had a no-trade clause, so he had to accept a trade partner.

Swapping Wilson will be more realistic next season if he is still dissatisfied with his pass protection, if he is not adjusting to the new offense or if he is dissatisfied for any other reason. The dead money contribution for a trade before June 1 is $26 million next year and $13 million in 2023.

The Seahawks should be prepared to let the best quarterback in franchise history go, incur the necessary penalties and start over with an unproven replacement. Their interest in recent first-rate quarterbacks Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes suggests that – long before Wilson announced his disappointment – they were flirting with the idea of mimicking the 2013 Super Bowl model by building their team around a young, cheap quarterback.

It didn’t get to the point where Wilson asked for a deal. But everyone saw… and heard… a real sign that it’s going to happen one day.

Frequently asked questions

How much does Russell Wilson earn as a player for the Seattle Seahawks?

Russell Wilson has signed a four-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks through 2019. The total value of the extension was $140 million, making Wilson the highest paid player in the NFL at the time of signing.

What are the statistics of the Seattle Seahawks?

2020 Seattle Seahawks: Statistics and Players | Professional Football …

Who is Russell Wilson’s best friend?

Russell Wilson taught his “best friend” D.C. Metcalfe to swim in the off-season.

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