Why Russell Wilson Should Run From Turning 29
By Aaron Thomas
High time for me to write about the golden boy Russell Wilson. I, like many other men who never strapped on a helmet or shoulder pads have a man-crush as big as the Pacific Ocean for the Seahawks quarterback. To date, I’ve not written but maybe a sentence on our franchise quarterback, mainly because he is so untouchable.
I’m good friends with at least one Seahawks blogger who has told me a few times that his criticism of number 3 has created some of the more memorable fan backlash that he’s ever experienced.
This whole ‘should the Seahawks sign Colin Kaepernick or not?’ issue got me thinking about Danger-Russ. What should happen if he gets put out for a few games? Or perhaps his new baby catches a fever, spreads it to Papa? Wilson can miss a game or two for any number of reasons.
It’s more than just injury worries, it’s age
Moreover, my worst fear was wondering how old will Wilson be when Father Time catches up to him and turns our superhuman QB into human-form. I decided to do a bit of research, courtesy of our friends at Sports-Reference and Pro Football Focus.
According to Sports-Reference, Russell is following historical data trends of quarterbacks where their production from years three to eight are at their prime. Last season, Russell amassed over 4,200 yards (career best) and 21 touchdowns.
He, like many other men who started at QB in the 2000s, started his career scoring low amounts of points (in his first season). Just like his predecessors, he began to increase his production as the years of experience increased.
Russell Wilson turns 29 too soon
According to Pro Football Focus and the fantasy value of quarterbacks, they claim the data supports a drop off at age 29. Russell is 28 years old now and turns 29 this November. Well, what happens at age 29? According to PFF, those quarterbacks dip at a 10 percent reduction in points per game. Sure, we’re only talking a declination of 2 points per game (from an average of 19 points to 17 points). Ultimately, we want to see that trend go the other way, don’t we?
The good news in all of this is that historically, according to PFF, QBs in the 2000s rebound nicely and get back to their 28-year-old performance of about 19 points per game.
According to Sports-Reference, at age 25 quarterbacks hit a long plateau. The number of quarterbacks who start 14-plus games from age 25 to 30 is almost unchanged. The curve stays quite flat on the back end as quarterbacks good enough to be perennial starters have little trouble staying employed.
Yes, Russell is good enough to be a perennial starter but for how long? The Seahawks didn’t draft a quarterback in this year’s draft mainly because there wasn’t a crop of talent there. Moreover the team needed to reload on the defensive side of the ball and on offensive line.
What options do the Seahawks have for potential backups?
Both PFF and Sports-Reference indicate a decline at quarterback at or around 29 years old. Russell could defy logic and trends, but what are the Seahawks mid-term options?
The Seahawks do have a hole in their quarterback room. There’s a big question mark with Boykin and whether or not he is the right guy to fill in for Russell in the event the OL gives up too many sacks and hurts our fearless leader.
If PFF’s numbers are any indicator, Russell may just have a flat season. Yes, history can catch up to a man if he’s not careful. What if we need a second person to come into the game to go under center because Russell takes too many risks, gets relaxed out there or the fact he plays scared because the OL is not that great?
Who would you turn the ball to? Boykin? He has no career starts. Kaepernick? Indications are that he is not going to sign a contract with Seattle unless it’s at or near his numbers. Who else is out there that we would trust? Tarvaris Jackson? Clipboard Jesus? Matt Hasselbeck (out of retirement)? Jake Locker (out of retirement)?
Three names that don’t rhyme with Scampernick
Legit guys who could fill the role could include:
- Austin Davis: 6’2″ 221-lb, former LA Ram and Cleveland Browns quarterback is the only one not named Kaepernick that the Seahawks have spoken to. He has career averages that won’t make you wake up in the morning. But at least he’s had considerable NFL experience.
- Josh Woodrum: the 6’3” 231 lb., former Liberty star quarterback amassed over 10,000 passing yards and over 60 touchdowns in his college career. His downside is he’s never started a game in the NFL. The style of offense he led was dink and dunk passes. He is known for his grit and his passing accuracy.
The truth of the matter is that there just isn’t a crop of free agents out there who could really make 12s feel great about the fact that we signed him. Woodrum is a guy who could one day become a legit backup, but not one that would make me feel giddy just after seeing Russell hobble off the field.
There’s only one name that gives me confidence as a backup
Kaepernick is the only free agent that is out there that makes me feel extremely confident about having him under center. It remains to be seen if Seattle will succumb to his salary demands. If the Seahawks are within striking distance of getting him on the field, I would pull the trigger.
If statistics and history have any indication on what kind of player the Seahawks may get as their starting quarterback, they need to pray that Russell Wilson and his ‘no time to sleep’ attitude will get him past the statistical trends this year.
Or if the Seahawks decide to go run-first like they did when Russell was in his first two seasons, then more power to them. Pete Carroll has been very vocal about getting back to the run game this season. That can only help Russell Wilson’s production.
Either way, the Seahawks will need to sign a few more quarterbacks to compete with Boykin and Jake Heaps. Maybe one of them could be a diamond in the rough. Maybe we can find the surprise we got in Baldwin, Rawls and other guys no one gave a chance to.