Seattle finished 7-10 last season, the team’s first losing campaign since 2011, the year before Wilson arrived. He ranks fifth among active quarterbacks in passing yards, with 37,059, and averaged 222.3 yards per game in 14 starts and threw for 25 touchdown scores in the 2021 season. He missed three games because of a hand injury.
The trade for Wilson was engineered by Broncos General Manager George Paton, and comes as the Denver franchise is set to be sold for the first time in nearly 40 years following the death of Pat Bowlen, the longtime team owner. Wilson will be led by Coach Nathaniel Hackett, who was hired by the Broncos in January after working as an offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers for the past three seasons. Hackett takes over a Broncos offense that was ranked in the bottom third of the league for the last five years.
The Broncos were said to be in the market for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has expressed some displeasure playing in Green Bay. Less than an hour before NFL Network first reported on the Broncos-Seahawks trade, other reports surfaced suggesting that Rodgers had reached a deal to stay with the Packers.
Rodgers said on Twitter that he would return to the Packers next year, but had yet to formally sign a new contract.
With Wilson and his hefty contract heading to Denver, the Seahawks will now work on rebuilding what was one of the oldest rosters in the league last year. Before they traded Wilson, Seattle had a roster that was $34 million below the salary cap, giving the team a lot of flexibility to sign free agents. Wilson, who signed a four-year, $140 million contract extension in 2019, will earn $37 million this season in salary and bonuses.
Despite the Seahawks’ dismal 2021 showing, Carroll and General Manager John Schneider will remain with the club. A new era will being in Seattle, where Carroll and Wilson have been inextricably linked for the past decade.
Midway through last season, as the Seahawks struggled while Wilson was injured, Carroll said he wouldn’t have lasted as long as he has as head coach if it wasn’t for Wilson, who led 24 fourth-quarter comebacks and 32 game-winning drives during his time in Seattle.
“Let’s say it this way: I’ve been here a long time, and if we didn’t have Russell, I probably wouldn’t have been here a long time,” Carroll said. “We owe a tremendous amount.”