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Report: Russell Wilson lobbied to have Pete Carroll and John Schneider fired prior to trade

The Seahawks were forced to trade their franchise QB by their franchise QB.

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Denver Broncos v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Nearly a year after the blockbuster trade that sent Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos, drama continues to emerge. A report by Kalyn Kahler, Mike Sando, and Jayson Jenks of The Athletic states that the former star quarterback approached ownership of the Seattle Seahawks and requested that they fire both Pete Carroll and John Schneider.

According to the report, this directly resulted in his trade, with the organization starting to actively work to deal Wilson within days of the meeting. In addition to asking for Carroll and Schneider’s termination, Wilson also requested that the team pursue Sean Payton as their next Head Coach. In some ways, Wilson ultimately got what he wanted, but as more of these details emerge, the narrative becomes clearer that there was an even larger rift between Wilson and Carroll than initially thought. Per the article:

Wilson and Carroll had clashed in recent years over the quarterback’s role in the offense and the overall direction of a team that had gradually declined after back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. Convinced that Carroll and Schneider were inhibiting his quest to win additional Super Bowls and individual awards, Wilson asked Seahawks ownership to fire both of them, according to league sources who spoke to The Athletic on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the details. Wilson also had a preferred replacement in mind: Sean Payton, who had recently stepped down from the New Orleans Saints.

The report further states that a handful of Denver Broncos players had mixed feelings about the beleaguered signal caller and his first year with the team. According to the article, the 15 players who they spoke with “described a team without direction,” although it should be noted that this also pertains to Nathaniel Hackett’s short stint coaching the team. The report digs even deeper, though, stating that Melvin Gordon told reporters that Wilson had a second floor office in the Broncos facility with a TV always playing the NFL Network, something which did not sit well with some members of the coaching staff.

In one of the more memorable moments for both the Seahawks and the Broncos last season, their meeting in Week 1 effectively ended on a bizarre sequence that saw the team take a delay of game penalty before trusting kicker Brandon McManus to make a 64-yard field goal rather than put the ball in the hands of the quarterback whom they paid so much to acquire. But the report also notes that many players faulted Russell Wilson — and not Hackett — for struggling to get plays off on time throughout the season. Of course, this struggle is all too familiar to Seahawks fans. As you may recall, Wilson’s generally poor performance led to several players publicly expressing frustration with regard to his play. The article states that this directly resulted in sequences like the one below.

While Wilson may have ultimately gotten his wish in the form of a giant contract and to be coached by Sean Payton, many around the league are skeptical. In addition to this, some of Payton’s initial moves have sent a message to Wilson that the level of special treatment he enjoyed under Hackett will not continue. As the final lines in the article states:

“In his first appearance as Denver’s head coach, Payton told reporters that Heaps and other Wilson staffers would no longer be working from inside the facility.

“We’re not going to do that here,” he said.”

For what it is worth, Russell Wilson — who rarely addresses drama like this directly — took to twitter Friday morning to refute these claims.

And now we're on to the 2023 NFL Combine.