Russell Wilson was a mainstay in the Seattle Seahawks organization for 10 seasons and a Pro Bowler in all but one of those. Teams typically don’t deal franchise-caliber quarterbacks.
So when the NFL opened its new league year Wednesday and the terms of Seattle’s trade sending Wilson to the Denver Broncos became official, the Seahawks released statements that suggested the quarterback was the catalyst for the split.
In his introductory news conference with the Broncos, however, Wilson disputed that notion.
“I didn’t initiate it,” Wilson said. “It was definitely mutual along the way. There has definitely been a lot of conversations. It hasn’t been my initiating anything. But it is what it is.
“I’m happy to be here, that’s all I know. Obviously I’m happy about the 10 years I had. I think we’ll have to read about it later, we’ll have some fun in a book someday, maybe. We’ll have some good stories.”
The Broncos sent tight end Noah Fant, defensive end Shelby Harris, quarterback Drew Lock, 2022 and 2023 first- and second-round picks and a 2022 fifth-round selection for Wilson and a 2022 fourth-round pick.
“While Russell made it clear he wanted this change, he made Seattle proud and we are grateful for his decade of leadership on and off the field,” Seahawks owner Jody Allen said in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming our new players and to everyone being fully engaged while working our hardest to win every single day. I trust our leadership to take us into the future, and know we all wish Russell the very best.”
Coach Pete Carroll, the only coach Wilson has had in his NFL career, added, “As Jody stated, Russ’ desire in doing something different afforded the organization an opportunity to compete in multiple ways.”
Said general manager John Schneider: “When it became evident that Russell was interested in playing elsewhere, we used that opportunity to explore the market, allowing us to acquire three quality players, tremendous draft capital, and create salary cap flexibility.”
In recent years, Wilson has made several seemingly pointed public comments that hinted at potential frustrations with the Seahawks organization. During the week of Super Bowl 55, Wilson said he was “frustrated with getting hit too much.”
Then in June 2021, Wilson said he didn’t request a trade from Seattle and that a series of conversations with Carroll and Schneider helped get everyone on the same page. Still, rumors of Wilson’s future in Seattle and rumblings of discontent continued into the season.
The Seahawks finished 7-10 in 2021, which left them in last place in a very competitive NFC West.
Now, with Denver, Wilson joins a roster that has a talented set of young skill-position players, including receivers Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. Wilson, 33, said his goal “is to play 10 to 12 more years and hopefully win three or four more Super Bowls.”
Wilson completed 64.8% of his passes for 3,113 yards with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions in 14 games this season. He also added 183 rushing yards and two scores on the ground.
“I came here for one reason,” Wilson said. “I came here for one reason, and that’s to win. That’s what I believe in. So every day, what you’re going to get from me is that mentality You’re going to get that juice. You’re going to get that energy. You’re going to get that focus and we’re going to do it together. All the guys back there, we’re going to do it together because that what it takes. We’re here for one thing and that’s to win. That’s to win at the highest level, often. I’m excited about it. I’m excited about the journey, so Broncos country, let’s ride.”