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SEATTLE – Every time the Seattle Seahawks hire a new defensive coordinator, the next item on their off-season to-do list should be the big one: deciding whether Russell Wilson will remain their quarterback in 2022.
Wilson’s future hardly seems certain, even with a few factors that counteract a trade. Among them: It’s a bad draft for quarterbacks, which would make the already monumental task of replacing Wilson even harder.
And while Wilson has indicated that he prefers to stay, his comments have come with an unspoken qualifying battle that it should happen under the right circumstances. That is why Wilson has stopped declaring that he will remain in Seattle, even though it could be guaranteed through his no-trade clause.
And there was this comment from coach Pete Carroll, who was asked after the Seahawks ended their forgettable 7-10 campaign whether they can get through the offseason without a repeat of the rumors and speculation about Wilson’s future.
“I do not know,” Carroll told Seattle’s FOX 13 TV. “I do not know. I do not want to give you false hopes, because there are just so many things that can happen out of season. There are unpredictable things. But we will do everything we can to keep it in order and everything.”
Carroll, as part of the same response, seemed to suggest that he and general manager John Schneider will listen to swap offers for Wilson.
“But let me say this: we are going to compete on every turn,” he said. “That’s all we know, that we know how to do it. That’s all John and I have done since we came here, and we will not back down. Whatever it is, we have to exhaust the possibilities of our club.And right from the owner, Jody [Allen] wants us to take a look at every opportunity to improve the franchise and help us. So that’s what we’re doing. “
Carroll said they have “a core of a championship” team and that they want to “keep it together,” a goal that thwarts the idea of swapping their star quarterbacks.
To sum up: the Wilson lecture is far from a media creation, it is not disappearing for the time being, and it is not clear what will happen.
Here’s what else you need to know about the Seahawks’ offseason:
You can bet Wilson wants to know what the Seahawks’ offensive line plan is, as three starters – left tackle Duane Brown, right tackle Brandon Shell and center Ethan Pocic – are scheduled to be free agents.
Brown and Shell rank ninth and 14th, respectively, among offensive tackles in ESPN’s pass block win rate over the past two seasons. But Shell missed 12 games in that time, and Brown will be 37 in August. His age and knee problems that have limited his training availability are two reasons why Seattle did not extend him last offseason, preferring to go year after year.
Running back Rashaad Penny is perhaps the most exciting free agent given an explosion in the late-season where he led the NFL in rushing over the last five games. It was a good cover for what had been a hugely disappointing first 3 season for the 2018 first round.
Seahawks’ other UFAs on the offensive: tight ends Gerald Everett and Will Dissly, running back Alex Collins, offensive lineman Jamarco Jones and quarterback Geno Smith (who were arrested on suspicion of DUI after the season finale).
Free Security Quandre Diggs is the title of the list of UFAs in the defense. It also includes DJ Reed and Sidney Jones IV, the Seahawks’ starting corners for most of the season. The others are defensive end Rasheem Green and defensive tackles Al Woods and Robert Nkemdiche.
Early offseason dates to know
March 8: Deadline for teams to nominate franchisees
Diggs is the only realistic franchise tag candidate. OverTheCap.com estimates the price tag is around $ 13.5 million. That would be more than double the annual average of Diggs ‘last deal – which he signed with the Detroit Lions – but would be a justified increase as he was undoubtedly the Seahawks’ MVP in 2021 while making his second Pro Bowl in features.
If nothing else, it would buy time to work out an extension, something the 29-year-old Diggs wanted last season but did not get. The Seahawks could also play and let Diggs hit free, where his market could be dampened by the broken leg he sustained in Week 18.
March 20: Wilson must have a $ 5 million bonus list
The final two seasons of Wilson’s extension in 2019 include non-guaranteed $ 5 million roster bonuses to be paid on the fifth day of the new league year, which begins with the start of free agency (March 16). Agents are pushing for bonuses from March because they serve as soft deadlines for teams to make a decision on a player who may be in limbo.
Players generally want to know as early as possible if they will stay, and teams usually do not move on from the players after paying them huge chunks of cash for the upcoming season. March 20 would not be a tough deadline for a trade, but it’s a $ 5 million incentive to find out Wilson’s immediate future before then.
May 2: Deadline for exercising fifth-year options
There’s virtually no way the Seahawks pick up the defensive end of LJ Collier’s option. The 29th pick of the 2019 draft has three sacks in three seasons and was regularly a healthy scratch in the first half of 2021. Exercising its option would lock in a guaranteed salary of around $ 10.2 million for 2023, per. OTC. Rejecting it means he is entering the final year of his rookie deal with a salary of around $ 2 million.
How much cap space will the Seahawks have?
OTC and Spotrac both have the Seahawks in the top 10 of available 2022 cap space with about $ 40 million. But as always, that figure is a moving target.
Trading with Wilson would free up as much as $ 24 million for the upcoming season, while leaving them with a big gap in football’s most important position.
Moving on from All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner – who has acknowledged his uncertain future – would free up $ 16.6 million. With a planned cap charge of $ 20.35 million in the final year of his contract, it seems like a strong possibility that if Wagner is back in 2022, it will be on something other than his current deal.
Receiver DK Metcalf is entitled to a massive extension that would cut into Seattle’s cap space.
Carroll tried to dampen expectations of a consumer spree, saying much of the Seahawks’ cap space would go to trying to resign their own free agents. Spluring on any single player in free agency would in any case be in conflict with their MO.
But aside from a departure from that norm, they will have to find another way to catch up with a tough division that sent three teams to the playoffs and two – the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams – to the NFC Championship Game. And not having a first-round pick will make it harder to find a difference that creates in the draft.
If the Seahawks’ worst season in more than a decade was not painful enough, they will not enjoy the biggest golden edge to a bad year – picking early in the first round. The second of two first-round picks they gave the New York Jets in the Jamal Adams trade will be No. 10 overall in the April draft.
The Seahawks’ draft capital would, of course, change dramatically if they trade with Wilson. But so far, they have six choices: a second-round, a third, two-quarters, a fifth and a seventh.