With eight full seasons under his belt, Russell Wilson seemingly gets better with each year. Should 2020 be the year the Seahawks drop the top and #LetRussCook?
#LetRussCook. This expression has been heard loud and clear from fans and experts alike. When the Seattle Seahawks made Russell Wilson the highest-paid player in the NFL (at the time) by giving him a whopping $140M/4yr contract, they knew exactly what they were paying for – consistent, safe, production, year in and year out. It seems, however, that both the pundits and pros, mostly agree on one thing: It’s time for the Seahawks to let Russell Wilson air it out.
Wilson, now in year two of his four-year extension, has been worth every bit of his current contract. But is he being utilized in a way that someone who accounts for almost 14% of the team salary cap should be utilized? I always go back to what Nick Wright of First Thing’s First on FS1 stated:
“Seattle paid for a Lamborghini & then never wants to take it out of the garage,”.
So let Russ cook, right? Well, hold on to your breeches there. This may be a classic example of the age-old question: What comes first, the chicken or the egg? Let us examine:
Russell Wilson the Egg.
Going back to the beginning, early on in his career there was not a dire need for Wilson to carry his team on his back every week. There was no need for it because Seattle at the time boasted an all-time great defense and a monster running game, courtesy of the silent beast himself, Marshawn Lynch.
It was no secret; Russell Wilson only needed to be a game manager. Coddled and corralled by a stellar supporting cast on offense and especially on defense, his job was clear – just do not turn the ball over and make a few plays here and there to keep the team in every game. This was Russell Wilson, the egg’s, incubation period.
Russell Wilson the Chicken
As I am writing this, I am seriously starting to doubt my choice of analogies here. Comparing Russell Wilson to a chicken is wrong on so many levels, but here goes.
Wilson is a stud. He has now thrown 100 touchdowns to only 23 INTs the past three seasons. Wilson completed 65% of his throws and rushed for 1,000 yards in that same stretch, proving his accuracy and ability to run the ball when plays break down.
As for the deep ball, Russell Wilson has thrown 71 such passes in 2019, completing nearly 58% of them. Wilson compiled a 64.3% completion percentage on plays that have broken down or were not “scripted” plays. I would argue that lately, the Seahawks have been winning games solely off the arm (and legs) of Russ.
So, should the Seahawks #LetRussCook?
Depends on who you ask. Is Wilson’s success a result of Seattle’s run-intensive and defensive game planning, or have the Seahawks been successful because of Wilson’s play? Some are skeptical at having Russ sling the ball 40 times a game, making the case that quantity would reduce the quality of his numbers. Many who share this way of thinking might also make the case that Wilson is the beneficiary of a run-first offense and that his exceptional play is the result of the old school pound-and-play-act game plan that has become a staple of head coach Pete Carroll’s coaching philosophy. On the other hand, the Seahawks paid the man $140M. If you buy the car, drive the car.
Russell Wilson is an elite talent performing at an elite level. Not the Russell Wilson who went to two Super Bowls, winning one. No, the Russell Wilson, who without the help of the vaunted Legion of Boom, managed to get the Seahawks into the playoffs three of the last four years while leading the league in touchdowns, INT percentage per pass, and accounted for fifteen fourth-quarter comebacks.
Again, whether the Seahawks should #LetRussCook depends on who you ask. What I do know is that you can cook both an egg and a chicken. In whatever order you like.