The Seattle Seahawks ventured through the offseason with plenty of noise surrounding Russell Wilson’s long-term future. The chatter dwindled as the regular season inched closer, focusing solely on contending for the Super Bowl. Wilson and the Seahawks channeled that into a convincing Week 1 win over the Indianapolis Colts, but it didn’t resolve the team’s biggest issue.
Russell Wilson leads the Seahawks to a Week 1 win over Colts
The Seahawks began the 2021 season off to a solid start with an impressive 28-16 road win over the Colts.
Wilson led the charge with a flawless performance, completing 18-of-23 passes for 254 yards, four touchdown passes, and a 152.3 passer rating. The Pro Bowler dominated the Colts’ secondary behind his precision passing, giving him the second-highest passer rating in a single game.
The 32-year-old’s stellar outing marked his 11th career game with at least four touchdown passes and zero interceptions. It effectively broke a three-way tie with Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Hall of Famer Peyton Manning for the most such outings in their first 10 NFL seasons.
Despite the dominating season opener win, Wilson and the Seahawks remain sitting on a lingering problem.
Russell Wilson’s hot start to 2021 season can’t mask the Seahawks’ No. 1 problem
Hours before Wilson torched the Colts’ secondary, his long-term future with the Seahawks became a prominent topic.
Seattle spent most of the offseason silencing the lingering chatter around the situation, hoping to shift the attention to the 2021 campaign. However, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport stoked the flame one last time before Sunday’s Week 1 action, voicing that Wilson could be on the move next offseason.
“Things are going swimmingly,” Rapoport said. “Right now, the relationship is good with General Manager John Schneider and with the coach Pete Carroll. It is clear: it is a make-or-break year for Seattle. Russ wants to cook. He wants to throw it a little bit. We will see who won the power struggle between him and Pete Carroll based on how they do today.”
“If things go well, Wilson could end up finishing his career in Seattle. If not, they could look to trade him after this season.”
The two sides used the offseason to patch up the internal friction. However, it’s fueled the notion that the Seahawks are heading into a make-or-break 2021 season. Wilson’s public frustration was years of pent-up irritation toward the franchise’s roster shortcomings and decision-making.
Beyond that, it only further underlines the importance of the 2021 campaign impacting the star quarterback’s future in Seattle.
Seahawks must contend for the Super Bowl
The Seahawks’ focus lies with much more than any regular-season success.
The issues lie with the team’s continued playoff shortcomings that publicly led the 32-year-old to air his internal frustrations.
Wilson likely wants the Seahawks to first return to Super Bowl contention before considering staying with the franchise. Seattle has registered double-digit wins in each of the last three seasons, including coming off securing the NFC West division title behind a 12-4 record. However, the team didn’t move past the divisional round while falling in the wildcard round twice.
Wilson is in the second year of his four-year, $140 million deal that runs through the 2023 season. He holds a total of $69 million remaining over the next three seasons. Over the offseason, Seattle briefly discussed the contract situation that included potentially restructuring his deal, but the team didn’t feel any changes were necessary.
“It just hasn’t been necessary at this point,” Carroll said via NBC Sports.
Ultimately, the pressure is on the Seahawks to prove winning a Super Bowl is within grasp, or significant change could be on the horizon next offseason.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.