As per a report from The Athletic on Friday, it was alleged that former Seattle Seahawks quarterback, Russell Wilson, had urged the team’s management to dismiss their head coach, Pete Carroll, before Wilson left the team. However, Wilson later took to social media to deny these allegations.
The report claimed that in February 2022, Wilson had asked the Seahawks’ ownership to fire Carroll, along with the general manager, John Schneider, and instead, bring in Sean Payton to take over the coaching duties. Wilson had hoped that Payton, who was then the head coach of the New Orleans Saints, would lead the team to greater success.
The news of Wilson’s alleged push for Carroll’s dismissal raised eyebrows among the football community, as Carroll had been the head coach for the Seahawks for over a decade, leading the team to two Super Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl win during that time. However, tensions had reportedly risen between Wilson and Carroll in recent years over the team’s offensive strategy and approach to the game.
Wilson denied these reports in a post on his Twitter, stating that he had never asked the Seahawks to fire Carroll or anyone else, and that he had “tremendous respect” for Carroll and the team’s management. However, given the obvious tension that existed by the end of his time in Seattle it doesn’t seem hard to believe that the reported claims could be true.
In March, Russell Wilson was traded by the Seattle Seahawks to the Denver Broncos in exchange for multiple high-value draft picks and quarterback Drew Lock. The Broncos wasted no time in securing Wilson’s long-term future with the team by offering him a lucrative five-year contract extension worth $245 million. The extension included a whopping $165 million in guaranteed money.
Despite high expectations for the team following Wilson’s arrival and the large investment made in him, the Broncos struggled in the 2022 season. They finished with a disappointing 5-12 record, prompting the team to fire their first-year coach, Nathaniel Hackett, and bring in Sean Payton as his replacement. The Broncos seemingly granted Wilson’s wish to be united with the former New Orleans Saints Head Coach.
The team’s poor performance on the field led to questions about whether the trade for Wilson was worth it and whether the team had made a mistake in giving up so much to acquire him. Nonetheless, Wilson’s contract and his talent on the field still make him an important player for the Broncos going forward, and the team will hope to turn things around under the guidance of their new coach.
Time will tell whether or not the Russell Wilson investment pays off for the Broncos or not, but the short term returns have been beyond disappointing thus far. Many are assuming that Sean Payton will be able to highlight Wilson’s strengths to get him back to Pro Bowl form. I’m honestly not sure why people think this will just suddenly work.
Watching Wilson struggle through his first year in Denver, he seemed to be a shell of his former self. Known for having one of the best deep balls in the NFL, Wilson’s deep throws dropped off significantly in Denver. Both in terms of attempts and efficiency. Injury is always a possibility, but it was odd to watch him operate in a dink and dunk offense, missing easy short throws on a regular basis.
Regardless of what Wilson says, I’m convinced he definitely demanded Pete Carroll and John Schneider be fired or he wanted to be traded. In the end, the franchise made the right decision. Pete Carrol coached the Seahawks to an unexpected playoff berth, while Wilson appeared as though his better years are behind him with decline is in full force.