Russell Wilson was a mainstay of the Seattle Seahawks organization for 10 seasons and a Pro Bowler in all but one. Teams don’t typically deal with franchise-caliber quarterbacks.
So when the NFL opened its new league year on Wednesday and Seattle’s terms of trade sending Wilson to the Denver Broncos became official, the Seahawks released statements suggesting the quarterback was the catalyst for the split.
During his introductory press conference with the Broncos, however, Wilson challenged that notion.
“I didn’t initiate it,” Wilson said. “It was definitely mutual along the way. There was definitely a lot of conversations. It wasn’t me who initiated anything. But it is what it is.
“I’m happy to be here, that’s all I know. Obviously I’m happy with the 10 years I’ve had. I think we’ll have to read about it later, we’ll have fun someday in a book, maybe. We will have good stories.
The Broncos sent tight end Noah Fant, defensive end Shelby Harris, quarterback Drew Lock, first- and second-round picks in 2022 and 2023 and a fifth-round pick in 2022 for Wilson and a pick fourth round in 2022.
“Although Russell has made it clear he wants this change, he has made Seattle proud and we are grateful for his decade of leadership on and off the court,” Seahawks owner Jody Allen said in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming our new players and to having everyone fully engaged as we work our best to win every day. I trust our leadership to take us into the future, and I know we all want the best in Russell.”
Coach Pete Carroll, the only coach Wilson has had in his NFL career, added, “As Jody said, Russ’ desire to do something different gave the organization the opportunity to compete in multiple ways.”
Managing director John Schneider said: “When it became clear that Russell was interested in playing elsewhere, we took the opportunity to explore the market, which allowed us to acquire three quality players, huge capital draft and create salary cap flexibility.”
Over the past few 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 that he got hit too hard.”
Then in June 2021, Wilson said he didn’t ask Seattle for a trade and that a series of conversations with Carroll and Schneider helped get everyone on the same page. Still, rumors about Wilson’s future in Seattle and rumblings of discontent continued throughout the season.
The Seahawks finished 7-10 in 2021, which left them in last place in a highly competitive NFC West.
Now, with Denver, Wilson joins a roster that boasts a roster of talented young players, including receivers Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. Wilson, 33, said his goal “is to play another 10 to 12 years and hopefully win three or four more Super Bowls.”
Wilson has 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 rushing scores.
“I came here for a reason,” Wilson said. “I came here for a 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 gonna have that energy You’re gonna focus and we’re gonna do it together All the guys out there we’re gonna do it together because that’s what it takes We’re here for one thing and that’s winning. It’s winning at the highest level, often. I’m excited about it. I’m excited about the journey, so Broncos country, let’s roll.