According to The Athletic’s Kalyn Kahler, Mike Sando and Jayson Jenks, Wilson wanted Seattle to replace Carroll with current Broncos head coach Sean Payton.
“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,” Kahler, Sando and Jenks wrote. “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.”
Instead of firing Carroll, the Seahawks decided to trade Wilson to Denver for a massive haul. The Seahawks received quarterback Drew Lock, defensive lineman Shelby Harris and tight end Noah Fant from Denver along with two first-round picks, two second-rounders and one fifth-rounder.
Unsurprisingly, Wilson’s camp has denied the report.
“A lawyer for Wilson wrote a letter to The Athletic characterizing the assertion that Wilson called for Carroll’s and Schneider’s firing as ‘entirely fabricated,’” Kahler, Sando and Jenks wrote. “The Seahawks declined to comment for this story. [Nathaniel] Hackett and Broncos GM George Paton declined to comment through representatives.”
Wilson himself took to Twitter on Friday to speak his side of the story, saying that he never asked for Carroll or Schneider to be fired.
I love Pete and he was a father figure to me and John believed in me and drafted me as well. I never wanted them fired. All any of us wanted was to win.
l’ll always have respect for them and love for Seattle.
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) February 24, 2023
It’s a messy situation all around, especially since Denver went just 5-12 in Wilson’s first season with the team.
The Broncos are married to Wilson for several more seasons, as he signed a five-year extension with the team following the trade. However, Wilson now has Payton, the man he reportedly wanted to replace Carroll in Seattle, as his head coach.
Wilson and Carroll went to two Super Bowls in their time together with the Seahawks, winning one. The former third-round pick’s interception at the end of Super Bowl 49 cost Seattle a chance at winning back-to-back titles.
Now with Denver, the nine-time Pro Bowler is looking to reshape his image after a dreadful 2022 season. The veteran quarterback threw a career-low 16 touchdowns in 15 games and was intercepted 11 times.
Wilson also took a league-high 55 sacks last season. The Broncos had one of the worst offenses in the NFL, falling well short of the expectations set for them after they traded for Wilson.
While Wilson and his camp are denying the report that he asked for Carroll and Schneider to be fired, the relationship between the quarterback and franchise got rocky enough where the team felt it was best to trade him.
After making the playoffs in the 2022 campaign, the Seahawks look to be in a much better place than Denver right now.