Is Russell Wilson trying to manufacture 'personnel power' persona through Duane Brown?
When the Green Bay Packers traded for Randall Cobb and made it seem as though the soon-to-be-cut receiver was “proof of personnel power” for Aaron Rodgers, it reeked of a P.R. move that would coddle Rodgers’ ego for the media and make it seem as though he was starting to call the shots like Tom Brady.
Except that trading for Cobb is not akin to signing Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown and literally giving more power to a quarterback than most franchises had ever done before; Brady had won six Super Bowls prior to going to the Bucs and had lost more times in the Super Bowl than Rodgers had even appeared in.
There really is no comparison to be made between Brady, Rodgers, or Russell Wilson. When you’ve won more Super Bowls than the rest of the active quarterbacks combined, there’s no room for apples and oranges. The Bucs have an apple, and so far every other team has a mango with barely any meat on the pit.
For Rodgers to return to the Packers — a move that was inevitable, it turns out — he had to make it seem as though this had nothing to do with money and everything to do with respect. I’m sure a lot of it did have to do with respect, but mostly it was about money and the right to choose his own destination in 2022, should Jordan Love prove to be the heir to the throne. In order to make it seem like Rodgers wanted to be respected by the organization similar to how Brady is respected in Tampa Bay, Packers management had to manifest a fake desire to acquire Cobb so that the quarterback would feel powerful.
“I won’t return unless I can start calling some shots, so why don’t you trade for Allen Robinson?”
“Can’t do it.”
“Okay, then Jake Kumerow!”
“We tried, but the Bills actually like him a lot.”
“Go get Xavien Howard then! Make the defense better!”
“Hey, Aaron, how about this: remember three years ago when Randall Cobb caught 38 passes for 383 yard with us?”
Trading for Randall Cobb in 2021 is such an odd move that it can only be explained by quarterback ego. We live in a new era of the sport where making $40-$45 million per season apparently still is not enough respect for a quarterback. Now they also want to appear to be the general manager, a reality that probably doesn’t sit that well with general managers.
Can you imagine John Schneider telling Russell Wilson how to quarterback? Because we don’t have to imagine Russell Wilson telling John Schneider how to do his job. He’s already made that a tangible reality.
Over the weekend, Wilson endorsed Duane Brown as a left tackle who had multiple good years left in him at 35 and said that he deserved a contract extension. The Seattle Seahawks, probably hesitant after getting so much shit from fans over the years for extending players like Kam Chancellor, Marshawn Lynch, Doug Baldwin, and Michael Bennett, right before they fell off a cliff or were traded, may be hesitant to start guaranteeing millions of dollars to a player who turns 36 this month.
Fans don’t want dead money on the salary cap going to players over 30, but they also don’t want to see Garry Gilliam playing left tackle again either. Wilson wants to be the highest-paid player in NFL history, but he also wants Seattle to risk $10-$15 million of their 2022 salary cap on one of the oldest players in the league — even though Wilson himself hasn’t assured anyone that he’ll be quarterbacking the team in 2022.
But that’s not to say that Wilson is doing anything wrong, unless you think that the quarterback actually does have influence on how Seattle plans to spend their millions of dollars allocated for player salary.
I don’t think that.
By publicly endorsing Brown on Sunday, Wilson has received attention on Monday for having “power” in the organization — IF the Seahawks do reach an agreement with Brown. Which, if you’ve followed the NFL over the last 30 or so years, you should assume they will do. The Miami Dolphins recently brought back star cornerback Xavien Howard from a holdout and he didn’t even get any extra years on his contract; all it took was some incentives and bonuses and guarantees in 2021.
Likely the same thing that the Seahawks will do to make sure that Wilson is protected by Brown on the left side and not Jamarco Jones or Cedric Ogbuehi. Though Brown is one of the few players in the league who has proven how stubborn he can be, holding out until the Houston Texans were forced to trade him to Seattle a few years ago, he is also a 35-year-old human who knows that his time is running out. This holdout allows him to both rest his body during camp (Walter Jones held out pretty much ever year and we don’t disparage him for it) and to make things interesting enough for the Seahawks to eventually relent and give him more cash.
But that will be a decision made by Schneider and Pete Carroll and I imagine that it will have nothing to do with what Wilson wants, even though that will be a narrative that comes out of this whole situation when it’s all neatly wrapped up in about three weeks.
“Russell Wilson is calling the shots now!”
“Let Russ Book! (appointments to meet with prospective free agents and draft picks)”
No. Much like his probably-planned appearance as a disgruntled quarterback watching the Super Bowl with Roger Goodell and Ciara, or his motivation to say certain things on the Dan Patrick Show so that he could push his agenda forward a little bit more, and the release of teams he would approve a trade to, Russell Wilson is 100-percent aware of his surroundings and what he can do to improve his brand, the perception of him, and potentially his power within an NFL organization.
But there is no way to fake REAL power in this world. You can’t just say the right things at the right time and then find yourself with the reins in your grip. You need to actually make others believe that you should have the power and then they’ll happily hand it over to you with a smile and a Gronk.
The Buccaneers had six fewer Super Bowl titles than Brady.
A lot of teams have won one Super Bowl. You won’t have power with one Super Bowl. If Wilson and Rodgers want to start calling the shots, and creating roster moves that actually matter, they’ll need to bring a more decorated resume to the meeting. Get off of the phone and get onto the field.