After nine successful seasons with the Seahawks that saw Seattle finish above .500 every year and make two Super Bowl runs with one championship, Russell Wilson bottomed out in his 10th campaign as the team went 7-10 and failed to make the playoffs. Wilson — who was apparently unhappy with the direction things were heading and how the team was being run in the front office and on the field — was dealt to the Broncos last offseason and had a fairly terrible year in Denver during his 11th NFL season.
It’s been a fairly open secret that things were ugly before Wilson was moved and that his exit was probably a long time coming. But a new report from The Athletic that gathered information from more than 15 players, coaches and staffers paints an even worse picture of just how badly things ended between the Seahawks and Mr. Unlimited. Weeks before he was traded to Denver and signed to a massive contract that looks worse by the day, Wilson made the “most fateful power play in the history of the franchise” and asked Seattle’s management to fire head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, both of whom are still employed by the Seahawks.
“Wilson and Carroll had clashed in recent years over the quarterback’s role in the offense and the overall direction of a team that had gradually declined after back-to-back Super Bowl appearances,” per The Athletic. “Convinced that Carroll and Schneider were inhibiting his quest to win additional Super Bowls and individual awards, Wilson asked Seahawks ownership to fire both of them, according to league sources who spoke to The Athletic on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the details. Within days of Wilson’s call to Seahawks ownership, top team officials met and decided to pursue a trade of the most successful quarterback in franchise history.”
It Appears the Seahawks Fleeced the Broncos in the Russell Wilson TradeSeattle has gone 3-3 with Geno Smith at QB since trading Wilson as the Broncos have limped to a 2-4 record with him
According to the publication, Wilson had a preference for a Carroll replacement: ex-New Orleans coach Sean Payton. That’s a particularly interesting detail, as the Broncos hired Payton weeks ago to take over in Denver after only a year after bringing in new coach Nathaniel Hackett, who was an unmitigated disaster and guided a team with Super Bowl aspirations to a 5-12 record.
In a letter to The Athletic, a lawyer for Wilson called the assertion that the 34-year-old requested Carroll’s and Schneider’s firing “entirely fabricated.” Wilson also tweeted after the story was published. “I love Pete and he was a father figure to me and John believed in me and drafted me as well,” he wrote. “I never wanted them fired. All any of us wanted was to win. l’ll always have respect for them and love for Seattle…Focused on moving forward! Best is ahead.”
With Payton now in Denver to try to clean up the mess of last season, Wilson had better hope the future is brighter for the Broncos because the past year was a dumpster fire he may have helped light. As for Carroll and Schneider, they’re looking to build off a 9-8 season and have all the draft picks they got in the Wilson deal to do it.