It has been 10 years now since the Seattle Seahawks unexpectedly struck gold. They hired Pete Carroll away from USC, a move that was very risky at the time given Carroll's complete lack of successful NFL experience. Then they stumbled upon Russell Wilson in the fourth round of the NFL draft. The rest, as they say, was history; Seattle would morph into an NFC powerhouse overnight, getting to the divisional round in five straight seasons and appearing in two consecutive Super Bowls.
More recent seasons haven't been as kind to Seattle. Wilson morphed into a perennial MVP candidate, but all the players who helped him win his first Super Bowl either left town or dramatically declined (with the exception of Bobby Wagner, the Forever Linebacker). The Seahawks have tried to re-tool on the fly but haven't made it back to the conference championship since 2014 and have never really reached Super Bowl contender status. There are many teams who would be very happy with perennial playoff contention, but the Seahawks and Wilson know what it's like to win the big one. They aren't happy with above-average. They want to be great.
But this season has raised a lot of questions about whether or not they can be great in their current form. It came to a head last night, when Wilson played one of the worst games of his career against a mediocre team. Carroll's heralded defense couldn't do much. Jamal Adams, acquired for the exceptionally high price of two first-round picks, was yet again invisible in an important game. The Seahawks lost, dropping to 3-8 on the season, and don't even have their own first-rounder to make up for a lost season.
All teams reach a breaking point where things just don't work anymore. Seattle has reached that point. Wilson spent all offseason complaining about the front-office decisions, and the team that has taken the field around him this year indicates he was right to do so. Carroll is supposed to make something out of nothing on defense and Seattle's unit is average on their best days this season. Carroll also called Wilson out in the post-game press conference after MNF. If Seattle doesn't make this decision, Wilson will make it for them by demanding a trade.
It seems like an easy call: stick with the MVP-caliber quarterback and do what he wants. Especially since Carroll is the oldest head coach in the NFL at 70. But if the Seahawks want to fix their team overnight, trading Wilson is the only way to do that. He'd fetch a haul of picks that would help make up for the fact that they'll probably finish the year in the top-10 and have to give that pick to the Jets.
It isn't an easy call, but the Seahawks need to change something. Wilson's injury threw their season out of whack but even when he's been on the field things haven't gone well at all. Seattle is supposed to be a high-caliber offense with elite receivers threatening every part of the field and playing just enough defense to win. That isn't what they are. They just aren't good.
Tensions are rising. This offseason will be very busy for Seattle if they keep on their current course. But the Carroll-Wilson partnership can't continue. Not in its current form. It just isn't working.