The Seattle Seahawks dealt with a touch of controversy this offseason when Russell Wilson used his media appearances as a megaphone to tell the front office that he needs a better offensive line. Whatever issues were laying beneath the surface there were apparently resolved, as none of the possible trade rumors came to fruition and all parties said the right things about it all when asked by reporters.
That relief appears to be short-lived. The team is currently embroiled in a dispute with starting left tackle Duane Brown over former All-Pro's contract. Brown wants a new deal and isn't showing up to camp in order to show the Seahawks he's serious about it. Given that camp has been ongoing for a few weeks now and Brown remains absent, it's obvious Seattle isn't looking to kowtow to his demands.
This is a fairly regular aspect of this part of the NFL calendar, and it usually ends up with a resolution of some kind. But given that Brown is Seattle's best offensive lineman and Wilson just stirred up a storm because he wasn't happy with how well he's been protected over the years, well... It's a bigger problem than normal.
Wilson fired what we should consider a shot across the bow at the Seahawks' front office when speaking to reporters, declaring publicly that the decision-makers need to figure it out quickly because Brown is irreplaceable in his eyes. Via ESPN:
"Not having Duane Brown out there is a pretty significant deal because I think he's one of the best left tackles in the game, there's no arguing it," Wilson said Sunday after the Seahawks' mock game at Lumen Field. "I think he's as good as it gets. There's nobody more athletic, more talented than he is. Age is just a number. He looks like he's 28-30 out there. He's really exceptional. So smart and physical, understands the game, and I think people fear him, to be honest with you, when they're rushing him and playing against him.
"So we definitely want to be able to get him back out there. We've got to figure that out because we need Duane Brown."
It is normally unusual for a teammate to speak on another teammate's contract dispute with their employers. It is doubly unusual for a star to speak out about it. It is extremely unusual for that star to be Wilson, the platonic ideal of a company man for the last nine years, even after what he said earlier this year. You don't see him advocating for Jamal Adams to get a new deal in this way.
So, yeah, Seattle had better figure it out. Because if they don't, they won't only make Brown unhappy and possibly lose him if the worst-case scenario comes to fruition. They'll have made Wilson angry, too. They presumably spent the better part of the last three months insisting that he'd have more of a say in things, that the offensive line will be better. There is literally no way to make the Seahawks' line worse than it already is by losing Brown, and that would have pretty severe ripple effects.
It doesn't seem very hard to fix this. Just give Brown a new deal. The upside is enormous, even if it means sacrificing some cash. The downside, well. The Seahawks should know the downside by this point.