Russell Wilson reportedly provided the Seattle Seahawks with an ultimatum after the 2021 season. Either the organization needed to trade him or both head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider needed to be fired.
Wilson entered last offseason at a contentious point with the franchise. The relationship he had built with Carroll fractured and there was a clear divide between his views of the team and what the front office wanted to do.
- Russell Wilson stats (2022): 84.4 QB rating, 16-11 TD-INT, 60.5% completion rate, 4-11 record, 3,524 passing yards, 234.9 passing yard per game, 37.0 QBR
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According to The Athletic, Wilson went to the top of the organization and requested that both Carroll and Schneider be fired. He reportedly believed the two men were blocking his path to compete for Super Bowls and he wanted them gone immediately.
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Interestingly, per The Athletic, Wilson wanted the Seahawks to hire Sean Payton. It would’ve required the franchise to trade significant draft capital to the New Orleans Saints to hire him, likely at least one first-round pick and a Day 2 selection.
The revelation comes weeks after reports surfaced that Payton was initially hesitant to take over as the Denver Broncos head coach because of Wilson. However, communication between the two Super Bowl winners led to positive dialogue and a working relationship that is expected to grow this summer.
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According to The Athletic, Seahawks’ officials met soon after Wilson made his request and determined it was time to cut ties with the quarterback. After acquiring two first-round picks and two second-round picks from Denver, the Seahawks finished with a better record than the Wilson-led Broncos in 2022.
Both franchises now find themselves in unlikely positions. Thanks to Wilson’s ultimatum, Seattle added left tackle Charles Cross (9th overall pick in 2022) and edge rusher Boye Mafe (40th overall pick). It also holds the No. 5 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft order via Denver.
Related: Some in NFL doubt Sean Payton can fix Russell Wilson
Geno Smith also outperformed Wilson, topping his production from both the 2021 and 2022 seasons. As for the Broncos, it fired head coach Nathaniel Hackett after a disastrous season with Payton now taking over the job.
- Geno Smith stats (2022): 100.9 QB rating, 69.8% completion rate, 30-11 TD-INT, 9-8 record, 4,282 passing yards, 60.8 QBR
Everything worked out perfectly for Seattle, with Carrol and Schneider now leading a franchise in a position to be a perennial contender. As for Wilson, he’ll enter 2023 in a prove-it year and another repeat of his struggles could end with Payton moving on to a new quarterback.