From Russ to Rebuild: The Long Road Ahead for Seattle (Daily Sports Thought 3/8)

There seems to be a day every offseason that takes the NFL world by storm. We’ve had huge trades like Matthew Stafford to LA last year. We’ve had massive free agent decisions like Peyton Manning going to Denver. We’ve also had monumental off-the-field events like Tom Brady being suspended for Deflategate. Despite being less than a month into the NFL offseason this year, we have already had the ground shaking, league-altering moment that will define this year’s period.

When the Seattle Seahawks agreed to trade Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos, it felt like time stopped for a bit. We were just hours removed from the Green Bay Packers announcing a massive contract extension with Aaron Rodgers, effectively ending the Rodgers to Denver rumors. On most days that would be the biggest story out there, but not on March 8th. Seattle said, “Hold my beer” to Green Bay and made one of the biggest offseason moves in the past decade. Trading a 33-year-old, Super-Bowl-winning quarterback absolutely constitutes a huge story. A trade package including two first-round picks, two second-round picks, a fifth-round pick, quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant, and defensive lineman Shelby Harris constitutes a big deal.

This signifies a huge shift in culture for the Seahawks. Two years ago they traded two first-round picks plus more for Jamal Adams. Now they just traded away one of the most important players in franchise history. They were now officially in rebuild mode, something we haven’t seen from the Seahawks in quite a long time. Their next step in their rebuild was to release Bobby Wagner, the unquestioned leader of the defense for most of the last decade. There will certainly be more moves to come (looking at you Tyler Lockett), so it is time for Seattle fans to start embracing this upcoming rebuild period.

A popular phrase in Seahawk fandom is “12s since ’12,” which is referencing the bandwagon fans that became Seahawk supporters when the team started being good in 2012. Well, those fans are in for a treat when they watch bad Seattle football for the first time. And not just a bad game from time to time, the Seahawks are going to be really bad next year. Fanbases can get spoiled at times and I think Seattle fans may have hit that point recently. The team went 7-10 last year while losing several close games and some fans were incredibly disappointed. Those same fans are going to be wishing for a 7-10 season over the next few years, that’s how bad it is going to be.

The main reason for that struggle is going to be the quarterback position. It is the most important position in team sports and the Seahawks are going to see just exactly how important having a good quarterback is. Seattle’s offense hasn’t looked great over the past couple of seasons, but I guarantee you it is going to look much worse without Russell Wilson leading the way. Right now, the Seahawks’ best option to start is Drew Lock. I expect Seattle to bring someone else in to compete with Lock, most likely a veteran one a cheap, one-year deal. I do not anticipate Seattle using its new first-round pick on a quarterback. Denver sent over the 9th pick in the 2022 draft but this year’s draft class is not highly touted for its crop of quarterbacks. Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis, and Matt Corral all have the potential to be pretty good at the next level, but none of them are can’t-miss prospects with high superstar upside. My best guess at this point is that Seattle waits out the quarterback situation and gives Lock a chance to prove himself in a new system. The 2023 quarterback class is supposed to be very good so if Seattle has plans to add a rookie quarterback to their rebuild it will be in next year’s draft.

If you are a Seahawk fan, I just want you to know that I feel your pain. Seattle is my favorite team too, so we are in this together. These next few years will not be very fun if you are a fan of winning football games. It is also going to be tough to watch the Seahawks take the field without Wilson, Wagner, and possibly even more fan-favorite players. But just know that we are going to get through this. The Seahawks are going to get through this. A lot of teams have gone through rebuilds and have come out better for it. Not every team has to be the Detroit Lions. The Bengals had the worst record in the league a few years ago. The Browns were regarded as the worst franchise in sports not too long ago. The Bills broke one of the longest playoff droughts in North American sports recently. There will be some hard times in the near future and while the future may look bleak at the moment, there is light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully, that light is reflecting off a Lombardi Trophy.