The Seattle Seahawks have seemingly been one for nearly a decade that players liked to play for. But this offseason, three key players have implied, or outright said, they felt disrespected in the way Seattle dealt with them just before they left the team for good.
Even when Richard Sherman left the team after the 2017 season there wasn’t a lot of outward talk about how Sherman didn’t like being a Seahawk. There was more talk about how maybe the Seahawks had done Sherman a bit of a favor by releasing him a couple of days before free agency started so that any team wanting to sign Sherman could do without having already spent much money.
Players like Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril were released due to injuries while both were still young enough to play several more years if they wanted to. But did they go elsewhere and say negative things about general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll? No. In fact, they basically stayed around Seattle, just as Sherman kept doing, and were involved in the team and community.
Has something changed about how the Seahawks are approaching relationships with players?
But this offseason? Something has changed. Russell Wilson is now appearing to be someone who simply sold his image well of being a team-first guy who didn’t want to leave to a player who basically forced his way out of Seattle.
And the player and team are saying different things which makes neither party look good. Wilson said:
"As the season ended, obviously, there’s a process of that and trying to figure out, ‘OK, what’s next, what are we going to do next?’ I was super excited about what we could do there, and then things started kind of changing a little bit in the sense of, you know, maybe something would happen."
But this is while Schneider, Carroll and owner Jody Allen were all saying the same kind of thing. Or in Schneider’s words when asked by a reporter if Wilson wasn’t seeing himself with the Seahawks long-term:
"I don’t know if those were the exact words but we were under the impression that there wouldn’t be a long-term extension."
Russell Wilson clearly wanted out but the organization has seemingly been viewed as one where players wanted to be, not leave. The difference here is that Seattle is generally seen as being far away from the rest of the country for some reason. Like Seattle is an island or something. To help lure players to be Seahawks, it is good for the franchise to be one that cared about its players more than other teams.
But then Bobby Wagner, who was released last week, tweeted that he didn’t hear from the team that he was about to be released and was answered by former Seahawk Branden Jackson.
So while two future Hall of Famers were leaving Seattle and not being quiet about it, the Seahawks best cornerback of the last two years, D.J. Reed, was signing with the New York Jets and told the Associated Press that he was unhappy with Seattle free agent offer to him:
"In my opinion and my agent’s opinion, it was disrespectful for my level of play and the player that I am. I’m not going to get into specifics because I don’t want to bash anybody or do anything like that, but I definitely know my worth and I feel like my worth should’ve been more."
Ouch. Again, there are at least two obvious issues with this. First, Reed is a good and young corner and Seattle needs those kinds of guys so why not do what the team can to bring Reed back? Secondly, if I am a free agent thinking of signing with the Seahawks or another team, that doesn’t make me lean towards Seattle.
The bottom line is that something appears to have changed the way former players are viewing the team. One thing to be proud of as a 12 over the last decade was that the team seemed to care as opposed to the contrast of the Patriots who seem machine-like. Let’s hope this is just a one offseason issue while the team is making changes.