Before being traded to the Denver Broncos and beginning what would be the worst year of his NFL career, Broncos QB Russell Wilson wanted Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and GM Jon Schneider fired, according to a report by The Athletic.
According to the report, Wilson was convinced that Carroll and Schneider were blocking Wilson’s chances of winning another Super Bowl and other individual awards. It was clear there was a power struggle between Wilson and Carroll, especially stemming from the “Let Russ Cook” movement, which called for Wilson throwing the ball early and often. It worked for a limited time, then in the back half of 2020 it fell apart, causing strife between the head coach and star QB.
If ownership decided to stick with their franchise QB over their head coach, Wilson already had a replacement in mind: Sean Payton. According to The Athletic, Payton would’ve become the new Seahawks head coach if Wilson got his way.
Instead, Wilson was sent to Denver, the Broncos offense struggled at every facet of the sport (from calling the plays into the huddle to the downfield passing attack being virtually nonexistent) and then-Broncos head man Nathaniel Hackett was fired. The Broncos would then turn around and hire Sean Payton as their new head coach.
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. 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. Wilson also had a preferred replacement in mind: Sean Payton, who had recently stepped down from the New Orleans Saints.
Meanwhile, in Seattle, Carroll would lead a team meant to rebuild to the playoffs without Wilson, and Schneider would build a team that while they contended in 2023, they also have two first round draft picks and are primed to build a team that can contend in the future—one of those picks is in the top five, and it stems from the Russell Wilson trade.
In the short term, the Wilson to Denver trade seems like a monumental win for the Seahawks, while the Broncos are still left with major questions to answer, a majority of them stemming around their QB under center. Can Wilson still run an offense at a high level, that isn’t the “Let Russ Cook” offense? Under Sean Payton, we’ll have to see, but as of now it seems like the Seahawks made the right choice backing Carroll and Schneider over Wilson.