Seahawks say they're in 'fantastic place' with Russell Wilson, didn't actively engage in trade talks

SEATTLE -- To hear coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider tell it, all is well between the Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson.

And according to the team's top two decision-makers, there was never any real thought given to trading their franchise quarterback.

The Seahawks made Carroll and Schneider available to reporters Wednesday for the first time since Wilson publicly voiced his frustrations about the organization during a pair of media interviews in February. Among those frustrations were all the hits and sacks he has taken over his nine seasons in Seattle.

"There was some stuff that was said that had to be dealt with, and it has been," Carroll said. "So Russ is in a great place right now, and he's been in a great place throughout the offseason. We have communicated throughout all of the things just like I always have."

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported in March that the Chicago Bears made a "very aggressive pursuit" of Wilson but were told the Seahawks weren't trading him at that time. Asked about the Bears' pursuit of Wilson, Schneider declined to specify which teams inquired about his availability.

"There was a number of teams that called after that media blitz that happened," Schneider said. "But no, I never actively negotiated with anybody and with any team. Did people call? Absolutely."

Wilson voiced his frustrations over Seattle's pass protection and stated a desire for more say in personnel decisions during an appearance on "The Dan Patrick Show" and in a separate interview set up for the quarterback to discuss his being named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. Those comments marked the first time he had publicly expressed any degree of dissatisfaction with the organization that drafted him in 2012.

"Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson are two of the most passionate and competitive people that I know, and passionate people just say passionate things," Schneider said. "I think that it just kind of came out."

Carroll said there wasn't a problem between the organization and Wilson, only a problem of having to weather the media storm that resulted from the quarterback going public with his unhappiness. Asked if Wilson's comments violated Carroll's No. 1 rule -- always protect the team -- Carroll said they "challenged" the rule.

"The conversation is out there that we wish we didn't have to be sharing with the world and all of that," he said. "You never get to the clarity and the essence of it when you have to operate through the media. That's why we tried to go really quiet in all of that."

That quiet approach by Carroll meant not making any sort of statement through the team that could have put speculation about Wilson's future to bed. Carroll said he's strict about not communicating through the media, something he learned a long time ago from Bud Grant.

"I said [to Wilson]: 'You will not hear a peep out of me and you can do that, too, and just let the stuff that's being said go,' but it's hard. It's hard for people, and not everybody can do that. It takes real discipline to do that and it's a learning [process], and hopefully Russ will always be better for it because he's been through a lot of that, and hopefully other guys can learn from that as well. The power comes from knowing really the truth and knowing what was going on. ... The truth is that he wasn't getting traded and he's on our roster and he's signed up for a long time around here, and anything that could ever take place was so far out there that could ever happen that it was not even worth considering."

Carroll said he regularly seeks input from Wilson and other players and that the quarterback never demanded that he have more say in personnel moves. Sources have told ESPN that Wilson's frustrations have gone beyond pass protection and his perceived lack of say in acquisitions relative to other top quarterbacks. Wilson has also wanted more of Seattle's offense to go through him, an issue detailed in a story by The Athletic.

As reported in that story, Wilson stormed out of a meeting with Seahawks coaches last season out of frustration that his suggestions for fixing the team's sputtering offense were dismissed.

Shortly after The Athletic story published, Wilson's agent, Mark Rodgers, told ESPN's Adam Schefter that while Wilson has not demanded a trade, he would only accept a trade to the Bears, New Orleans Saints, Dallas Cowboys and Las Vegas Raiders, if Seattle were to deal him. Wilson has a no-trade clause in the four-year, $140 million extension he signed in 2019. That deal has three years remaining.

"I had made a clear statement to Russ: 'Let's just shut down and be quiet on this stuff,'" Carroll said when asked about speculation over Wilson's future gaining steam once Rodgers gave Schefter the list of acceptable trade destinations. "We don't need to say anything, we know the truth of what's going on. When that came out, that kind of got over the top in that it opened up some other conversations that didn't need to happen. That was an example of why we're quiet and why we don't say anything. It was so meaningless because it had nothing to with what was going on. It gave another little byte in there that people could talk about, and I wish we would have avoided that is what I'm saying."

A source told ESPN that Wilson worked to recruit running back Chris Carson back to Seattle. He celebrated Carson's return on Twitter and did the same with several of the team's other moves in free agency.

"Right now, he is as jacked up as he's ever been," Carroll said. "He's in the process of turning over our new offensive stuff that is different from the past and things that we need to learn. He's totally after it and doing a great job, his mentality is strong, and his conditioning is right. He's doing a great job. So things were said, things were said. And sometimes you have to deal with stuff, and that's how we take care of our business. We're in a fantastic place right now and really excited about this team and this season and this draft coming up and all of that."

When asked to what degree Wilson is committed to the Seahawks long term and vice versa, Carroll made another mention of how they weren't trading him and that they "plan on him being here for a good while."

As for the issue of pass protection, Carroll said the system Seattle is installing under new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron will help by emphasizing quicker throws, among other things. He declined to get into specifics on why he and previous OC Brian Schottenheimer parted ways after the season.

Carroll referred to Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams as the Seahawks' No. 1 pick in this year's draft, a reference to how Seattle gave up a package of draft picks, including this year's first- and third-rounders, in last summer's trade with the New York Jets.

Both Carroll and Schneider talked about Adams being a part of the team's future. Adams is entering the fifth and final year of the rookie deal Seattle inherited from the Jets. Schneider said Adams hasn't given the team any indication of whether he'd play out his current deal, which comes with a salary of just under $10 million. A source has told ESPN that there's confidence in the organization that a long-term extension with Adams will get done during this offseason.

"We want him here long term, for sure," Schneider said. "We're really glad we made this trade to get him. He's going to be a very important part of our future."

Schneider said he can't discuss defensive end Aldon Smith's recent arrest in connection with an alleged second-degree battery in Louisiana, adding that they have to let the legal process take its course. Asked about Smith's past, which includes a domestic violence allegation, Schneider alluded to a blanket statement he made years ago about how the Seahawks would avoid players involved in such incidents and said he has since learned that "every situation is completely different and you have to study every situation and be comfortable with your decisions."

"We researched it with Aldon this last time," he said. "It was a minimum-salary deal, and we decided to take a shot and go for it."