I will say it and say it factually. As of right now, Russell Wilson is the best quarterback the Seattle Seahawks have ever had. And no, it's not close. Matt Hasselbeck is likely the second best, but he's minor leagues compared to Wilson.
But the quarterback Seattle had starting in 2022, Geno Smith, was better last year than Russell Wilson was. There is even a decent chance that Smith is better than Wilson is in 2023. This isn't meant as a disrespect to Wilson, though. Smith might just be more coachable and in a better system for him than Wilson has with his new team, the Denver Broncos.
But you know what else isn't a disrespect of Wilson? Seattle giving Wilson's jersey number - the number 3 - to a current player on the roster. What would be more strange is Seattle intentionally not giving a player number 3 and doing it in honor of Russell Wilson, a player currently in the NFL but also a player who no longer plays for the Seahawks.
Seahawks aren't ready to hang up Russell Wilson's number 3 just yet
I bring up the word "disrespect" on purpose. See, our FanSided brethren and sistren at Predominantly Orange used that exact word in an article about the Seahawks assigning newly re-signed cornerback Artie Burns Wilson's old number. And the site has its reasons for thinking Wilson has been dissed since he left the Seahawks. But they are wrong on a number of those reasons and I will unpack them.
First, the article says that 12s and the Seahawks wanted Wilson to "fail" in 2022? Did we? Of course, we did. But it had little to do with Wilson himself but the draft capital he represented. Every glorious Broncos loss was a win for Seattle. Do 12s care as much about Denver winning or losing in 2023? Nope, because there's no draft capital assigned to it.
Another point made was that Seattle should honor Wilson's number more because of the legacy he has with the franchise. Again, Wilson is the best quarterback in franchise history and his number could be retired one day. Seattle has retired five numbers in team history - 12 for the fans, 45 for Kenny Easley, 71 for Walter Jones, 80 for Steve Largent, and 96 for Cortez Kennedy. The difference between those guys and Wilson is that, besides the fans' number, all of them are in the Hall of Fame.
Richard Sherman was super important to the franchise, too, but his number is currently assigned to rookie running back Kenny McIntosh. Is it disrespectful to Sherman to have his number worn by someone else? No, because Sherman doesn't play for the team currently and McIntosh does.
The fact is, Wilson will probably have his number retired by the Seahawks one day if he makes it into the Hall of Fame. But right now, someone for Seattle needs to wear the number 3 because Seattle has games to win and playoffs to make. The Broncos, on the other hand, simply have coaches to change and last-place finishes in their division to watch.