Russell Wilson’s Relationship With Broncos Strained After First Season in Denver
When Russell Wilson requested a trade from the Seattle Seahawks in February 2022, it was no secret that his relationship with head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider had deteriorated. While Wilson publicly stated he never wanted Carroll or Schneider to be fired, a report from The Athletic claims otherwise.
Wilson's lawyer sent a letter to The Athletic, calling the claim that Wilson asked for Carroll and Schneider to be fired “entirely fabricated.” The Seahawks did not make any comments.
Wilson's first season in Denver didn't go well. The Broncos, with a 5-12 record, ended last in the AFC West after losing their Week 1 game to the Seahawks, now helmed by Geno Smith, Wilson's backup. Wilson threw for 3,524 yards with career lows in touchdowns (16) and completion percentage (60.5) across 15 games. Nathaniel Hackett, who was in his first year as head coach of the Broncos, was let go after 15 games.
Then, in March, Wilson was traded to the Broncos, where he was given his own office. This was a rare perk, as Wilson did not have an office in Seattle and his personal quarterback coach, Jake Heaps, only had limited access to the Seahawks' facility. Such a situation created an off-putting dynamic with the Broncos, according to The Athletic.
When asked if Wilson's personal staff would be allowed at the Broncos facility, head coach Sean Payton told reporters: “I'm not too familiar with that. That is unfamiliar to me—that will not happen. I have no knowledge of it. Only our staff and players will be present.
The Broncos acquired Wilson with the hope he would be the solution to their quarterback woes and he signed a five-year, $242.6 million extension in September. Unfortunately, Wilson's first season in Denver proved to be a disaster — the Broncos finished with a 5-12 record, had a -72 point differential, and Wilson finished 29th in DYAR and 28th in DVOA among qualifying quarterbacks.
Wilson's contract would include massive “dead money salary cap hits in each of the next three seasons, making him likely to remain with the team at least through 2023 and possibly even through 2024. However, his contract becomes easier to get out of in 2025 and beyond, as after the 2025 season, Wilson’s contract has a team option.
0. “Russell Wilson asked Seahawks to fire Pete Carroll, John Schneider weeks before Broncos trade, per report” CBS Sports, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/russell-wilson-asked-seahawks-to-fire-pete-carroll-john-schneider-weeks-before-broncos-trade-per-report/
1. “Russell Wilson denies report he called for Pete Carroll's job in Seattle, lawyer says ‘entirely fabricated'” Fox News, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.foxnews.com/sports/russell-wilson-denies-report-called-pete-carrolls-job-seattle-lawyer-says-entirely-fabricated
2. “Sources: Russell Wilson asked for Pete Carroll, Seahawks GM to be fired; QB denies report” The Athletic, 24 Feb. 2023, https://theathletic.com/4243182/2023/02/24/russell-wilson-pete-carroll-seahawks-request
3. “Report: They Gave Russell Wilson A Big-Boy Office” Defector, 24 Feb. 2023, https://defector.com/report-they-gave-russell-wilson-a-big-boy-office
4. “Broncos: Russell Wilson's office drama proves Shannon Sharpe right” ClutchPoints, 24 Feb. 2023, https://clutchpoints.com/broncos-news-shannon-sharpe-russell-wilson-denver-office-drama
5. “Russell Wilson wanted Pete Carroll out, per report; QB denies” ABC News, 24 Feb. 2023, https://abcnews.go.com/Sports/russell-wilson-wanted-pete-carroll-report-qb-denies/story?id=97442400
6. “Report: Russell Wilson Showed Broncos Players His Seahawks Videos; ‘Was Very Strange'” Bleacher Report, 21 Sep. 2022, https://bleacherreport.com/articles/10066678-report-russell-wilson-showed-broncos-players-his-seahawks-videos-was-very-strange
7. “Russell Wilson allegedly pushed for firings of Pete Carroll, Seahawks GM” New York Post , 24 Feb. 2023, https://nypost.com/2023/02/24/russell-wilson-allegedly-pushed-for-firing-of-pete-carroll/
8. “Russell Wilson refutes report he asked Seahawks to fire coach Pete Carroll, GM John Schneider” NFL.com, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.nfl.com/news/russell-wilson-refutes-report-he-asked-seahawks-to-fire-coach-pete-caroll-gm-joh
9. “Russell Wilson’s salary cap and dead money totals for the next six seasons” Yahoo Sports, 22 Feb. 2023, https://sports.yahoo.com/russell-wilson-salary-cap-dead-110023865.html