Warren Moon on Russell Wilson trade speculation: “You’ve got to make the protection a bit better around him, just like Tampa Bay did for Tom Brady this year.”
By Cameron Hogwood
Russell Wilson looms as one of the NFL’s gripping offseason storylines amid speculation of a potential trade away from the Seahawks, however Hall of Famer Warren Moon has played down indications that the quarterback is unhappy in Seattle.
The eight-time Pro Bowler fuelled the rumour mill in a recent appearance on The Dan Patrick Show as he explained he was ‘frustrated’ over the number of hits he has notoriously taken behind the Seahawks’ offensive line over the years, while also stating he was keen on a more significant voice in personnel decisions made by the organisation.
Wilson, meanwhile, admitted “I’m not sure if I’m available” when questioned on how long he will be playing in Seattle, insisting “that’s a Seahawks question”.
Since being Drafted in 2012 Wilson has been sacked 394 times in 144 regular season games – more than any other quarterback in the league. His nearest competition is the Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Ryan, who has been sacked 325 times in 143 games.
“I don’t think he’s unhappy, I just think he wants the team to be better and I think he wants them to put a little bit more emphasis maybe on the offensive line to improve his protection,” Moon told Sky Sports.
“I don’t think that’s something he would have volunteered, I think he was asked those questions by Dan Patrick and he answered them pretty honestly whereas other times he might not have answered them honestly. I think he’s serious about it.
“I think he’s also made those things known to the organisation and they’re aware of it as well. They see the tape, they see how many times he gets hit, they see how many times he’s been hit over the course of his career and Russell’s not getting any younger.
“He’s 32 and he’s not going to be able to have the same mobility that he had when he was a younger guy much longer to make those tremendous out of the pocket scrambles he’s been able to make.”
Wilson has three years left on the $140m extension he signed in April 2019 and is currently the third highest-paid player in the league based on average annual value, behind only Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported in February that while Wilson hadn’t asked for a trade, the only teams he would consider as potential destinations were the New Orleans Saints, Las Vegas Raiders, Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys, the latter of whom have since tied down Dak Prescott to a four-year, $160m extension.
“You’ve got to make the protection a bit better around him, just like Tampa Bay did for Tom Brady this year,” continued Moon.
“They went out and invested in offensive linemen. They changed their protection where they kept more tight ends in the block so he has six-man protection so there’s a lot of things you can do to help improve the protection of the quarterback and I think Russell just wants that.
“I don’t think he’s unhappy at all, I think he really loves the organisation, the city. I think it’s a whole lot of talk because we’re just getting into the offseason.”
The Seahawks drafted a league-high 16 offensive lineman from 2010-2016, before taking five over the last four, while they have ranked 15th or lower in spending on the offensive line every year since 2015, according to OvertheCap.
Wilson won his fourth NFC West division title with Seattle in 2020, but saw the season come to a disappointing end as the Seahawks were beaten by the Los Angeles Rams on Wild Card weekend.
It remains to be seen whether he seeks a trade or even whether the Seahawks entertain the idea of parting ways, but perhaps what is clear is Wilson’s desire to have more control over the way the offense and team are run.
“He always says the right thing, he says the company line, he always keeps things positive and this one time he doesn’t everybody flips out ‘oh my god Russell is unhappy, he said he needs more protection, he said he wants to be involved in personnel decisions’,” added Moon.
“No, he just answered those questions truthfully and probably hadn’t been asked those questions in a while.”