(EDITOR’S NOTE: To access the John Clayton interview fast-forward to 4:30 of the following attachment: Ep 33: Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, and More With John Clayton | Spreaker)
Quarterback Russell Wilson won’t be traded.
At least that’s the opinion of former ESPN insider and now Washington Post columnist John Clayton, who appeared on the latest “Eye Test for Two” podcast. Clayton not only lives in Seattle; he once covered the Seahawks and knows how the franchise operates.
And what he knows, he said, is that Seattle won’t … really, can’t … part with its quarterback, despite rumors to the contrary.
“It’s probably the most overdone story I’ve ever been involved with,” Clayton said. “He’s not getting traded, and the reason he’s not going to get traded is that his contract, which has a $65-million signing bonus, is in its third year, OK? So you have to take a $39-million cap hit if he’s traded.
“So here’s a 12-win team that won the NFC West. And no team since 2013 – and there have been 13 of these teams – have made the playoffs when more than 20 percent of the cap is tied up in dead money. And this would be just for one player. So he’s not going to get traded.
“Because what happens is that he has a $32-million cap number right now … $39 million if you end up trading him. So they’d have to get $7 million more out of their cap, which means they have to get rid of more players. With that in mind, they go from a 12-win team to basically back to where they were in 2010 with their rebuilding.”
Nevertheless, Wilson is one of the hottest topics of the offseason, with reports persisting that he could be headed to Chicago. That was one of four teams that Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, listed as potential trade destinations for his client. Yet, as Clayton sees it, Rodgers – a father figure to Wilson since the death of his Dad in 2010 — is why this story won’t go away.
“Mark Rodgers is a baseball agent,” said Clayton. “(Wilson) listens to everything Mark Rodgers says. The problem is that Mark Rodgers has only one NFL client – Russell Wilson. So, technically, he’s not allowed to talk to any other team because it would be violating the contract.
“It’s not like Tom Condon who represents everybody on every team. So he can’t do this. So the only thing he can do is leak things through the media. Now, Russell’s … I guess you’d say publicist … is one that’s tied into several radio people (and others). So they’re always leaking things.
“But here’s what shows you how little he knows about the National Football League: He puts out that, ‘Well, Russ hasn’t asked for a trade. But if he does ask for a trade, he would consider going to these four teams.’ ”
Clayton then lists the clubs that Rodgers named — Chicago, New Orleans, Las Vegas, and Dallas — before explaining why none is feasible, because of cap concerns, offensive-line questions, or quarterbacks already in place. Nevertheless, he said, Rodgers continues to push the narrative.
“In the end,” he said, “he showed how little knowledge he has by bringing up these things. Yet he continues to do it just to continue to stir the pot.”
So what exactly is going on here?
“What’s going on,” answered Clayton, “is that Russell is frustrated by getting hit so much – and, basically, it comes down to the second half of the year. In the beginning of the year it was ‘Let Russ cook’ because Russ wanted the ball out of his hands earlier, get more tempo and move the ball on first down — which he was actually doing well against bad defenses at the beginning of the season.
“And then teams went Cover-2, Cover-4, and they just didn’t have any answers to get the ball downfield. So he ends up getting sacked more, hit more and that frustrated him.
“But he’s raised his complaints. He was involved in the hiring of a new offensive coordinator –Shane Waldron – and Shane Waldron comes from the Rams where they get rid of the ball quicker and they run the ball a little bit more. So, basically, they gave him the tools to answer some of the problems.”
Bottom line: Book it, said Clayton. Wilson isn’t going anywhere. Period. End of story.