On Wednesday, ESPN's Brady Henderson published a manifesto detailing how the divorce between Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks came to be. One particular tidbit explains why Wilson ended up in Denver and gives some insight into the priorities of Seattle GM John Schneider when he embarked on the Wilson trade adventure.
The Seahawks received calls from the Broncos and several other teams, including the Saints, New York Giants and Washington Commanders. They knew Wilson wanted Denver, according to a front-office source, but kept New Orleans involved in the bidding so the Broncos would have to compete against another offer.
Schneider later apologized to the Saints and other teams who had called, having told them they weren't trading Wilson. Denver was Wilson's only option and Schneider's preferred choice, because Drew Lock was the quarterback Schneider wanted in return.
So... the Seahawks were not forced to settle for Drew Lock? They actually wanted him? Well, that explains a lot.
It seems Schneider may have miscalculated on that front. Lock was fine if unspectacular during training camp before he tested positive for COVID. He didn't play too well afterwards and Pete Carroll named Geno Smith the starter. Reading between the lines of Carroll's comments all summer, it felt like he was almost forced to name Smith starter by his basic football sense. Both he and Schneider had a lot riding on Lock winning the job in camp, but an old-timer like Carroll isn't going to hand him the gig if he doesn't deserve it.
Of course, Seattle will tell you they're taking the long view here. Lock will only be 26 years-old after this season ends. He can sit back and learn this season while Smith leads the team to a middling record and the Seahawks will be back in action next year! Except Lock's contract is up after this season and Seattle will have to pony up to have him start again next year without ever having seen him play a full season, which will definitely go well.
There was never going to be a fantastic outcome for a team trading its superstar QB, but pushing all the chips in on Lock has already backfired and will probably look even worse a year from now. Tremendous work.