In two brushstrokes over a period of about 10 hours, the Seattle Seahawks said goodbye to the giant foundations of their Super Bowl history.
Gone is quarterback Russell Wilson, traded to Denver in a blockbuster move. Gone is Bobby Wagner, the defensive mainstay and likely future Hall of Famer, released as part of a salary cap squeeze.
Such a long story. Hello, rebuild.
That’s the apparent direction the Seahawks are headed in after a Tuesday that won’t be forgotten by their fans. The team agreed to send Wilson to Denver earlier in the day, according to two people familiar with the negotiations who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade cannot be announced until after the start of the new league next year. week.
Hours later, Wagner confirmed to the AP that the Seahawks informed him he was being released, as his $20 million salary cap hit for 2022 was deemed too much for Seattle to absorb.
And with that, the last two surviving starters from Seattle’s 2013 Super Bowl-winning team — those who seemed destined to be lifelong players for the team — were no longer Seahawks.
Their situations differed. Wilson had to waive a no-trade clause to accept the move to Denver. Wagner spoke at the end of the season of wanting to return but also knew the weight of his contract.
“I understand there’s a business side to it, but there’s a lot of optimism on my side that I’ll be back,” Wagner said in early January. “I’m not worried about it. Of course, I can’t control everything. I can only control my part.
Regardless of their reasons for leaving, it’s a huge change for the Seahawks.
For the majority of 10 seasons, the leaders on both sides of the ball for Seattle have never been questioned. Caught in the same draft one round apart in 2012, Wagner and Wilson walked into Seattle’s training center and almost immediately claimed spots they never gave up except through injury.
Wagner was a six-time First-Team All-Pro selection, building a resume that, regardless of the next phase of his career, is likely good enough for a gold jacket and Hall of Fame induction.
Wilson will forever be the starting quarterback for Seattle’s first-team Super Bowl championship team and, for a decade, gave the Seahawks a franchise QB and one of the most exciting players in the league.
Just days after coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider indicated at the NFL meeting that Seattle was not open for business regarding Wilson, the duo made arguably the most impactful trade in the league. history of the franchise.
In some ways, they’re banking on their reputation so they can find Seattle’s next quarterback, and the added decision to release Wagner has only added to major questions about where the franchise is going.
Is this the start of a full rebuild for the Seahawks with a head coach turning 71 in September?
Do the Seahawks believe that quarterbacks Drew Lock – who would have been part of the trade – or Jacob Eason have the chance to be the starter this fall?
Has Seattle fallen in love with one of the combine’s quarterbacks and hopes to land another Wilson-style homer in the draft?
Or will the Seahawks use the capital secured in the Wilson deal to try to find another veteran quarterback available either in free agency or through trade?
Those answers will come from the start of the league’s new year. None may be able to satisfy Seattle fans who sting trade.
The news of Wilson’s trade and Wagner’s release brought up painful reminders for fans of the past when some of the best players in their respective sports called Seattle out to be eliminated.
Ken Griffey Jr. was apparently at the height of his Hall of Fame career and arguably the best player in baseball when he was traded by the Mariners to the Cincinnati Reds before the 2000 season. Gary Payton was a Seattle lifer SuperSonics and the face of the franchise when a spat with ownership led to its trade with Milwaukee in 2002. The Seahawks followed that path by saying goodbye to fan favorites from previous years with the likes of Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and others who were key to this Super Bowl team.
And now Wilson and Wagner are added to this list.
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