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Debating Russell Wilson's place in QB Tier rankings

There's a theory circulating among a few of the NFL personnel evaluators, coaches and agents I've spoken with about quarterbacks recently. It's only a theory. The Seattle Seahawks could blow it out of the water by signing Russell Wilson to a monster contract. Until that happens, the theory will live in the minds of those who like Wilson's game but do not love it.

The theory, raised by some of the 35 coaches and evaluators who participated in our second annual Quarterback Tiers project, says the team could be reluctant to pay Wilson at the high end of the quarterback scale. Why? For a few reasons -- reasons that made Wilson the most debated quarterback our survey. Some of those appear below.

Eleven of the 35 voters placed Wilson in the highest of five tiers, but one thought he would not stay there because defenses would solve him, especially if Seattle's own defense declined and running back Marshawn Lynch retired. Twenty-three other voters put Wilson in the second tier (some of those voters thought he would not ascend higher). A single voter placed Wilson in the third tier and did not waver during a cross-examination I witnessed at a social gathering featuring this Wilson skeptic and another coach.

The debate begins with that conversation featuring a defensive coach, the Wilson skeptic (an offensive coordinator) and me. The debate continues with testimonials from voters who placed Wilson in the top two tiers, with and without conditions. It's a look into the notes I kept when the quarterback conversation turned to Wilson this offseason.

The Tier 3 rationale

Sando: OK, so why is Russell Wilson a 3?

Offensive coordinator: Because I think he needs Marshawn Lynch and the defense to do what he has done.

Defensive coach: That's not the way it really is because he is way better than you think coming from behind in the two-minute offense. They've been way behind and he's rallied them back.