“Let Russ cook” was the mantra of the Seattle Seahawks offense early on in the season, giving Wilson control of the offense by letting the plays run through him and embracing the passing game.
It worked for a while until they ran into some trouble midseason and Coach Pete Carroll opted back into a more conservative playstyle.
Newsflash here, Pete: Russ wants to cook. Taking him out of the kitchen on top of already being sacked the most out of any quarterback since he entered the league has made the superstar quarterback and face of the franchise, who will be a $32 million cap hit or more for the next 3 years under his current contract he signed in 2019. Now, Wilson has always been
known as the team leader who always says the right things and is completely committed to the success of the team, but it certainly sounds like through the bread crumbs we’ve heard all offseason that in the most passive-aggressive, Russell Wilson-est manner possible, he’s trying to say, “change everything or get me out of here” considering his agent said he hadn’t requested a trade. Still, if he WERE to be traded, he’d want to go to either the Bears, the Cowboys, the Raiders, or the Saints. Ah, the nonchalant trade request!
He sits at a table with his wife, Grammy Award-winning singer Ciara, fork and knife in hand. While Russ wants to cook today, there will be 5 contestants, the Seahawks, Bears, Cowboys, Raiders, and the Saints cooking for HIM to convince him that they are the ideal destination.
What meal will these teams cook for the chef himself?
Let’s evaluate his landing spots based on situational fit, cooking reality-show-style.
“Chef Seattle, what have you prepared for my lovely wife today and me?”
“I’ve prepared for you a classic: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”
Seattle is the comfort food for Russell Wilson. It would be so easy to not only continue his career in the same city that has raised him throughout the league but to run it back with a similar roster and coaching staff and make some adjustments to whatever he doesn’t like to have that feeling of control that he desires; this isn’t a Deshaun Watson situation where the relationship isn’t salvageable. If Russ can communicate what he wants from the game plan and what personnel changes need to be made, they can easily remain a contender just like they have been as long as they’ve had him!
They’ve got other superstars on the roster like Jamal Adams on defense and a weapon for him to throw to in DK Metcalf; the grass might not always be greener. It may not seem that way now, given they haven’t gone to the NFC Championship game since 2014, but the reality is that it’s just hard to win in the NFL. The Seahawks are the PB&J to Russ. It’s what you’ve always known. It’s nurtured you despite going under-appreciated throughout your upbringing, and when have you ever had a bad PB&J? Not once.
Chef Chicago: “Today, I made you a deep-dish pizza, but just one of those that you stick in the oven for 20 minutes..”
This location, in particular, was the most confusing requested destination by Russell and his team. They have a contention-level defense with Khalil Mack as the headliner and have been heralded as the team that’s “a quarterback away” for the past few seasons since Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky have been so atrocious, yet they’ve still made the playoffs.
The idea of being “the guy” that completes the team for a franchise that has never had a great quarterback could be intriguing to Wilson, but the Bears have such a lack of assets to give up that they would have to strip away potentially significant pieces, so are we sure they would be a Russell Wilson away from contention after that? Not only would you have to give up a HAUL of draft capital, but also potentially a David Montgomery or a Khalil Mack to sweeten the deal.
Where does that leave Wilson? In one of the coldest places to play in the league, in a division with Aaron Rodgers, on a team with an offensive line with a worse rating than Seattle, according to PFF, with worse targets.
The IDEA of being in the beautiful city of Chicago in a large market sports town as the savior would be great, but the execution is all wrong. Just like it would be great for Russ and his wife to experience a signature of the new city with a deep-dish, Chicago-style pizza to get a feel for this new environment, but if you just serve one of those instant-ready ones you can purchase from the frozen section of Walmart, it’s just wrong.
Chef Raiders: “Today I’ve prepared for you a beautiful chocolate cake… but it’s raw on the inside.”
The Raiders are similar to Chicago in that it’s a very confusing requested landing spot that would be worse than the Seahawks’ current situation. They’re even further away from the “we just need a quarterback” Bears with the 30th ranked defense, a division with BOTH the Super Bowl runner-up Chiefs and the rising Chargers, and fewer weapons on offense.
They would have a better offensive line, and it’s definitely got the appeal of an elegant, chocolate cake on the outside: a shiny new stadium, an up-and-coming market for one of the most historic franchises in the league, a good city for his performing wife, and a head coach in Jon Gruden who fell in love with him at his QB camp back in 2012 when he said, “I wish I could coach this kid.” But at the end of the day, the true substance of the cake, winning a title and contending year after year, is undercooked and raw.
*Chef Raiders folds up his napkin and utensils and leaves the kitchen*
Chef Saints: “I’ve baked the Cafe du Monde recipe for their authentic beignets… sprinkled with edible gold shavings on top.”
Yes, New Orleans would be a spectacular destination for Russell Wilson as he could take the reins from likely retiree Hall of Famer, Drew Brees. They’ve won their division 4 years in a row; he’d have a stacked defense, a top-10 offensive line, Michael Thomas at receiver and Kamara at running back, and Sean Payton’s coaching staff drawing up an incredible scheme for him. Plus, in the division, Brady can’t play forever… Right? So in the long-term, you’d play the currently-retooling Falcons and Panthers and the aging Super Bowl Champion Bucs. Wilson is still only 32 and could take over that group for years to come. It sounds like a perfect fit, right?
That’s the problem: it’s all too good to be true given the Saints’ financial situation. Unless they wanted to unload a huge group of play-makers that would be the reason New Orleans is such an attractive destination, like Marshon Lattimore, Michael Thomas, or Cameron Jordan on top of significant draft capital, the Saints aren’t going to be able to afford Wilson; they’re projected to be around $70 million over the salary cap in 2021 unless something changes. Also, do you think the Seahawks will want to make a deal without getting another quarterback in return? The Saints’ picks are in no position to draft a top QB prospect, so you’d be stuck telling Seattle, “hey! This Taysom Hill guy is great! You can totally replace your face of the franchise with a guy with 4 passing touchdowns in his entire career!” Something tells me they’re not buying that.
New Orleans is a fantastic fit for Russell on paper; they’re the fresh, sugary-sweet beignets from the legendary Cafe du Monde… But it’s suddenly been tarnished with 24K edible gold shavings for no reason at all. In other words, unnecessarily expensive.
Chef Cowboys: “I’ve prepared for you the Big Texan challenge: a 72 oz steak, a shrimp cocktail, a baked potato, a salad, and a side of butter.”
In Amarillo, Texas, this is a legitimate challenge at the restaurant, the Big Texan, where if you finish the meal in an hour, it’s free.
I hope Russell Wilson is hungry.
Let Russ cook? He would have the whole kitchen to himself and serve meals of this magnitude every single game. Last year we saw Dak Prescott’s first games before his terrible injury: he threw the ball between 35-60 times in all of his full games in Mike McCarthy’s offense. McCarthy went from riding Aaron Rodgers’s coattails in Green Bay to doing the same with Dak for the first 4 games. If Russ wants control, he’d have it all, that’s for sure. Considering the defense gave up around 30 points a game last year, you’d get to throw the ball as much as you want!
It’s tough to evaluate the offensive line situation in comparison to Seattle’s because of how injured they were all season. Still, Dallas would be an upgrade in offensive weapons in Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Ezekiel Elliot running the ball. Lots of ingredients to cook with. He’d also be in a division that the winner was 7-9 last year; it’d almost make them guaranteed favorites to win the east.
However, there have been reports out of Seattle that Wilson is unhappy with the lack of accountability in the chain of command, including some nepotism with Pete Carroll having his family as a part of the staff… I wonder how Jerry Jones and his son Jerry Jr., his son Stephen, and his daughter, Charlotte, all Cowboys employees, feel about that.
The Cowboys seem like they could reasonably execute a trade if they could convince Seattle to go all-in on Dak Prescott as his replacement and throw in a grab bag of high-value draft picks on top of it.
Dak would have to be franchise-tagged and then dealt at age 27, but he would be coming off of surgery and wants to get Mahomes-level money by next year, so the Seahawks would have to pay up regardless.
This makes the scenario less likely, but it’s the only situation where Seattle could fill the quarterback position with a quality-level replacement.
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