Good Read on Russell Wilson

IndyHawk

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Spotrac says the Broncos could realistically get out in 2026 (i.e., after the 2022-2025 seasons, "just" four years) with "just" $31.2M in dead money, and having spent "only" about $161M, that is, "only" about $40.25M per year for four years.
Overthecap says that if the Broncos were to cut Wilson after June 1 of 2024, they'd get zero cap savings and have "just" $35.4M in dead money. But since the cap savings would be zero, you'd think they'd keep him around as an expensive backup or tanking starter. Any time before that, there would actually be negative cap savings, so it just wouldn't make any sense to cut him unless the plan was to tear down everything, tank like crazy, and start again from scratch. I'm not even sure that kind of thing could work, because I'm really not knowledgeable about the intricate salary-cap rules.
Now I'm not sure how much dead money there would be, but it looks like Wilson will probably be with the Broncos through 2025, unless their front office can find a way to hoodwink some other team the way Wilson hoodwinked them.

That's an aspect of this I really haven't seen people discussing much: the unbelievably great con Wilson pulled on the Broncos, getting them to sign him to an extension that will make them pay out $161M or more to him over four seasons or more, without him ever having played even a preseason snap for them, much less seen any actual NFL-game action for them. I love heist movies, and I've got to give Wilson props for this one. While everyone else is saying the Seahawks pulled the heist of the century on the Broncos, I suggest Wilson may have actually pulled off a greater one at exactly the same time. What's really great about this for me as somebody who can't let go of my loathing for old Seahawks rivals from the Seahawks' days in the AFC West is that the victim of both heists is the Broncos.

I actually suspect Wilson may have [oh yeah, I'm qualifying the crap out of this... I'm very far from sure!] had an inkling he wasn't as great as everyone was saying he was, and that that was why he accepted a contract that was noticeably below the top of the market in annual value, even taking into account the fake-ass 2026-2028 part of the contract, with the no-way-the-Broncos-would-actually-take-them (even if Wilson really were "the man" now) cap hits of $58.4M, $53.4M, and $54.4M. Those years are basically there to spread out the signing bonus. Sure, Team 3 spun it as Wilson giving the Broncos a discount to help them build a team around him, but I think he might have been just going with the bird in the hand, knowing that playing out the season might make the two birds in the bush fly away.

I suspect Broncos management may have at some point said "this is as much as we'll give you now, without having seen how the team will play with you running the offense, and if you want more, let's have you play a season on your current contract first," and that tactic may have ultimately worked, because Wilson may have actually had the self-awareness to see that if things didn't go as well as expected, the contract offer after the 2022 season might be lower than the offer on the table before the season. Of course, those Subway ads suggest Wilson has no self-awareness at all, so 🤷‍♂️
I'm not sure the contract details are correct but we can agree he is still playing this
year and next on his Seattle deal..
So how can the Broncos just walk before his first season under the Denver deal starts?
Is it because he got a big signing bonus upfront?
 

Lagartixa

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I'm not sure the contract details are correct but we can agree he is still playing this
year and next on his Seattle deal..
So how can the Broncos just walk before his first season under the Denver deal starts?
Is it because he got a big signing bonus upfront?

It took me a minute to figure out that Spotrac separates the different bonus types for the bonus-proration calculations, while Overthecap lumps them together into just prorated bonus (all types).
Looks like it's $50M in signing bonus and
Here's the info on Wilson's contract...
...from Spotrac
...and from Overthecap.

Spotrac's breakdown makes some sense.
The contract has $124M fully guaranteed at signing. That's the signing bonus plus the 2022-2024 salaries and roster bonuses. Wilson's 2025 salary of $37M becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth league day of 2024. Together, those things add up to the $161M Spotrac says the Broncos would pay if they get out before the 2026 season, and there would be $31.2M in dead cap space in 2026 if they did.
 

toffee

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That may be, but we don't know that for sure. All we know is that he's underperforming.
Of course I was speculating, but then, I don't think even Russ knows, or he won't be in this situation, right?
 

Donn2390

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If he should continue to falter, the FO might have he and his agent sit down and discuss a buy out. He doesn't have to agree, but sitting at the end of the bench without a friend in the world might get his attention. Retires early, get a big money gig on TV and make more dollars, be a hero without getting hurt or humiliated.
 

toffee

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If he should continue to falter, the FO might have he and his agent sit down and discuss a buy out. He doesn't have to agree, but sitting at the end of the bench without a friend in the world might get his attention. Retires early, get a big money gig on TV and make more dollars, be a hero without getting hurt or humiliated.
Being humiliated by Bronco fans, his teammates, and media will get to Russ. But will he sacrifice $$$? ummmm
 

Sun Tzu

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I would be very surprised if Russell suddenly quit doing what he has been over not only his professional career, but in college and earlier, that he admits is one of the primary attributes to his success (how many times have we heard him say "the separation is in the preparation"?)and started taking short cuts.

Something is causing Russell not to see open receivers. He had been showing that tendency in the last couple of years with us, and I had assumed that he was bypassing open receivers at short or medium range in lieu of the home run ball. That still might be part of the equation, but it doesn't explain why on a do-or-die 4th and goal that he wouldn't see a wide open KJ Hamler for a winning TD and rather force it into a tight window in overtime vs. the Colts. Is it because he can't see the field, is there something wrong with his peripheral vision, or is he simply locking in on his primary target at the snap and not going through his progressions? Has he been sacked so many times over the years that he's gun shy and will take the first available option, as limited as it may be, rather than waiting for a better option to emerge?

Whatever it is, it's obvious something is going on as he's playing the worst football of his career.
I think you may have bought into the image that Russ manufactured. How much does he prepare when no one is watching? I get the idea that he talks about how much he studies without actually putting in that work. I think he puts on a show of preparing, but once the cameras are gone he's done working.
 

Threedee

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I think you may have bought into the image that Russ manufactured. How much does he prepare when no one is watching? I get the idea that he talks about how much he studies without actually putting in that work. I think he puts on a show of preparing, but once the cameras are gone he's done working.
I dunno. It was that attribute which helped win over Carroll in 2012 when it came down to choosing the starter. His work ethic could have diminished, of course.
 

strohmin

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I would be very surprised if Russell suddenly quit doing what he has been over not only his professional career, but in college and earlier, that he admits is one of the primary attributes to his success (how many times have we heard him say "the separation is in the preparation"?)and started taking short cuts.

Something is causing Russell not to see open receivers. He had been showing that tendency in the last couple of years with us, and I had assumed that he was bypassing open receivers at short or medium range in lieu of the home run ball. That still might be part of the equation, but it doesn't explain why on a do-or-die 4th and goal that he wouldn't see a wide open KJ Hamler for a winning TD and rather force it into a tight window in overtime vs. the Colts. Is it because he can't see the field, is there something wrong with his peripheral vision, or is he simply locking in on his primary target at the snap and not going through his progressions? Has he been sacked so many times over the years that he's gun shy and will take the first available option, as limited as it may be, rather than waiting for a better option to emerge?

Whatever it is, it's obvious something is going on as he's playing the worst football of his career.

It doesn't matter how many hours he spends in the film room if he is going to keep making the same mistakes. I honestly don't see any improvement from his weakness since he came into the league. He was bad against adjusting to heavy blitzing teams and is still just as bad. I honestly don't understand what he actually studies from film.
 

olyfan63

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Although he may have a 'hero ball' tendency, I'm not ready to accept that as the sole cause of him not throwing to open receivers. There are other possible explanations, like locking into his primary receiver and not going through his progressions or not being able to see from the pocket. But whatever the reason, it's obvious that something isn't going as it should.

If it wasn't for that contract or his veteran/elite status, he'd be benched. He's playing that poorly.
The way I look at it, Russell has his own unique "algorithm" for making reads and knowing where to go with the ball, and it ISN'T based on normal reads and progressions. He's not really able to read defenses, except maybe a bit can read single-high safety looks or cover 0 blitz looks. Two-high looks are his kryptonite.

I think Russell's approach might be more akin to rolling a single die before each play. His process on each play has a bit of hero-ball baked in. Following is my inexact attempt at capturing some semblance of Russell's process:

* I think he does do some limited presnap reads, and if he sees obvious things, makes a presnap choice of typically no more than 2 places he'll look. Typically Russell would prioritize looking for a 1v1 matchup on the outside, the deeper the better.

* After the snap...

* If one of his preferred reads is open (enough), Russell throws the ball. If there are defenders nearby, Russell is very selective about whether he throws.

* if neither pre-chosen look is one he is comfortable throwing, he checks the pass rush pressure, then scrambles around and looks for first, Tyler, and then his other, second security blanket, DK, based on where he knows in his head they should be at that point in the play. Scramble drill! Where's Tyler??!!

* Then, he reads the *DB coverage* on his selected off-script target (often Tyler) to know if he should throw it, and how the ball should be presented, e.g., outside shoulder, back shoulder, etc. Russell and Tyler are on the same wavelength, read each others' minds, so typically Russell throws to Tyler and it gets caught.

* At some inexact point, Russell checks the pass rush and decides to take off and run with the ball if none of the prior options pan out. Of course, there is that little problem that he often gets sacked before he figures out where to go with the ball.

Russell's most famous reading-the-defense moment was in the 2014 NFCCG, in overtime, where he saw the Packers in an all out blitz, knew there would be no safety in the middle, and hit Jerome Kearse with that perfect stroke to send the Seahawks to SB49. Another defense-reading high point was in the 2013 season NFCCG, on 4th and 7, when SF jumped offsides. All 4 receivers saw this offsides, knew it was a free play, and changed their routes to 4 verticals (go routes), Russell also read this, and hit Kearse for the TD.

I'd say Russell misses wide open receivers because he is processing HIS WAY, not so much going through progressions the way the play designer drew it up. The strong point of Russell's approach is that he rarely turns the ball over with an interception. He also gets his chunk-play completions. The downside is the offense gets a lot of 3-and-outs. 3rd and 4 seems particularly tough for Russell.

I'm not presenting any of the above as the gospel, just one man's feeble attempt to explain Russell Wilson's unique decision-making process. Other theories and clarifications welcomed!

Russell made it work "his way" for 10 seasons, with a coach who protected him, and OCs who accommodated him, and his considerable QB superpowers, including his unique gift for making off-script plays, deep ball accuracy, and formerly-elite elusiveness and running ability. The shocking part is that Denver seemingly made their decisions based on press clippings, stats, and prior team results, rather than film study. All they had to do was watch some Kurt Warner QB "Study Ball" video breakdowns. Hackett was so eager, "I can change him! I can make him into just what we need him to be!" And then the GM and new owners extending him with guaranteed money before he'd played a single down... just WOW! Front-office fookupery. Good luck with that, Donks, and now it's your problem.
 

Lagartixa

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I think you may have bought into the image that Russ manufactured. How much does he prepare when no one is watching? I get the idea that he talks about how much he studies without actually putting in that work. I think he puts on a show of preparing, but once the cameras are gone he's done working.

I think he does something, but I'm not sure it's something he ought to be doing. He and his friends in the media have liked to talk about him doing stuff it seems to me the team should already have (OK, actually has) specialized professionals doing. I remember the articles about how each week, Wilson would prepare his own scouting report on the Seahawks' next opponent and distribute it to teammates, and then he'd quiz teammates on the contents. The Wilson scouting reports started out around five pages in 2012, but were about 15 pages each by 2020.

What's really odd and hard to understand is how all that preparation didn't help Wilson learn to look for wide-open teammates on plays in which, on previous occasions, he had missed one or more. If he really watches all the film his teammates and Schotty said he does (in those articles about his scouting reports), does he not see when, in the video of a play, he fails to see or throw to an open receiver who could have moved the chains or at least gotten them closer for a more-manageable third down?

If we believe Wilson and his former teammates and former OC (and I can't think of a good reason not to believe them), Wilson spends a lot of time watching film, producing a scouting report, and then quizzing teammates on the contents. But also, if we believe those same people, we have to conclude that Wilson himself doesn't learn much from all that film study that can improve his own performance.
 
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RiverDog

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I think you may have bought into the image that Russ manufactured. How much does he prepare when no one is watching? I get the idea that he talks about how much he studies without actually putting in that work. I think he puts on a show of preparing, but once the cameras are gone he's done working.
Just prior to SB 48, our local paper did an interview with a lady that hosted Russell and a few of his teammates at her home when they played minor league baseball in Pasco. She said that Russell would stay behind while the others went out, and often times, she'd catch him at 3am in her living room, reading his "North Carolina (State) stuff". Since then, there's been multiple reports noting that Russell was always the first to show up at the VMAC and the last to leave.

It's possible that fame and fortune, being a husband and father, has changed his priorities and that his work ethic isn't what it was in his earlier years. He wouldn't be the first player to have that kind of experience. But I can guarantee you, it's not something that he manufactured.
 
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RiverDog

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Of course I was speculating, but then, I don't think even Russ knows, or he won't be in this situation, right?
Not necessarily. It could be an overall decline in his skills. I'm not going to speculate on what is going on inside Russell's mind. All I know is that he isn't getting it done.
 

Sun Tzu

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Just prior to SB 48, our local paper did an interview with a lady that hosted Russell and a few of his teammates at her home when they played minor league baseball in Pasco. She said that Russell would stay behind while the others went out, and often times, she'd catch him at 3am in her living room, reading his "North Carolina (State) stuff". Since then, there's been multiple reports noting that Russell was always the first to show up at the VMAC and the last to leave.

It's possible that fame and fortune, being a husband and father, has changed his priorities and that his work ethic isn't what it was in his earlier years. He wouldn't be the first player to have that kind of experience. But I can guarantee you, it's not something that he manufactured.
And, how much of that was orchestrated by team Russ? Stories have trickled out from NC State indicating that Russ' version of events was not entirely accurate. We have heard reports hinting that some former Seahawk teammates did not respect Russ as a leader, yet early on all I heard from the media was how great of a leader Russ is/was. I don't trust some lady's version of events reported in a local newspaper.

I may be way off here, but I always suspected something was off. I think team Russ did a very good job of crafting a persona and getting the organization to help prop up that persona.
 
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RiverDog

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And, how much of that was orchestrated by team Russ? Stories have trickled out from NC State indicating that Russ' version of events was not entirely accurate. We have heard reports hinting that some former Seahawk teammates did not respect Russ as a leader, yet early on all I heard from the media was how great of a leader Russ is/was. I don't trust some lady's version of events reported in a local newspaper.

I may be way off here, but I always suspected something was off. I think team Russ did a very good job of crafting a persona and getting the organization to help prop up that persona.
You can believe whatever you choose to. The guy is a well known popular subject now, and stories both true and concocted are everywhere. Come up with a take on him and you're sure to find something that will support your narrative.

But the story I related about Russell during his minor league stint here in my hometown was completely genuine and irrefutable simply because Team 3 didn't exist back then, and even if it did, they wouldn't have been able to get to some little old lady in eastern Washington and get some hick newspaper to run with it. It aligns perfectly with many of those stories from what I regard as credible sources, so I choose to believe it.
 
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5thgen

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I think he does something, but I'm not sure it's something he ought to be doing. He and his friends in the media have liked to talk about him doing stuff it seems to me the team should already have (OK, actually has) specialized professionals doing. I remember the articles about how each week, Wilson would prepare his own scouting report on the Seahawks' next opponent and distribute it to teammates, and then he'd quiz teammates on the contents. The Wilson scouting reports started out around five pages in 2012, but were about 15 pages each by 2020.

What's really odd and hard to understand is how all that preparation didn't help Wilson learn to look for wide-open teammates on plays in which, on previous occasions, he had missed one or more. If he really watches all the film his teammates and Schotty said he does (in those articles about his scouting reports), does he not see when, in the video of a play, he fails to see or throw to an open receiver who could have moved the chains or at least gotten them closer for a more-manageable third down?

If we believe Wilson and his former teammates and former OC (and I can't think of a good reason not to believe them), Wilson spends a lot of time watching film, producing a scouting report, and then quizzing teammates on the contents. But also, if we believe those same people, we have to conclude that Wilson himself doesn't learn much from all that film study that can improve his own performance.
You can watch all the videos and scouting reports, but after a couple of hits from 300lbs linemen, all that goes out the window. Compounding the fact that it's hard to see over a 6'5" wall when you're 5'10".
 

acer1240

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Spotrac says the Broncos could realistically get out in 2026 (i.e., after the 2022-2025 seasons, "just" four years) with "just" $31.2M in dead money, and having spent "only" about $161M, that is, "only" about $40.25M per year for four years.
Overthecap says that if the Broncos were to cut Wilson after June 1 of 2024, they'd get zero cap savings and have "just" $35.4M in dead money. But since the cap savings would be zero, you'd think they'd keep him around as an expensive backup or tanking starter. Any time before that, there would actually be negative cap savings, so it just wouldn't make any sense to cut him unless the plan was to tear down everything, tank like crazy, and start again from scratch. I'm not even sure that kind of thing could work, because I'm really not knowledgeable about the intricate salary-cap rules.
Now I'm not sure how much dead money there would be, but it looks like Wilson will probably be with the Broncos through 2025, unless their front office can find a way to hoodwink some other team the way Wilson hoodwinked them.

That's an aspect of this I really haven't seen people discussing much: the unbelievably great con Wilson pulled on the Broncos, getting them to sign him to an extension that will make them pay out $161M or more to him over four seasons or more, without him ever having played even a preseason snap for them, much less seen any actual NFL-game action for them. I love heist movies, and I've got to give Wilson props for this one. While everyone else is saying the Seahawks pulled the heist of the century on the Broncos, I suggest Wilson may have actually pulled off a greater one at exactly the same time. What's really great about this for me as somebody who can't let go of my loathing for old Seahawks rivals from the Seahawks' days in the AFC West is that the victim of both heists is the Broncos.

I actually suspect Wilson may have [oh yeah, I'm qualifying the crap out of this... I'm very far from sure!] had an inkling he wasn't as great as everyone was saying he was, and that that was why he accepted a contract that was noticeably below the top of the market in annual value, even taking into account the fake-ass 2026-2028 part of the contract, with the no-way-the-Broncos-would-actually-take-them (even if Wilson really were "the man" now) cap hits of $58.4M, $53.4M, and $54.4M. Those years are basically there to spread out the signing bonus. Sure, Team 3 spun it as Wilson giving the Broncos a discount to help them build a team around him, but I think he might have been just going with the bird in the hand, knowing that playing out the season might make the two birds in the bush fly away.

I suspect Broncos management may have at some point said "this is as much as we'll give you now, without having seen how the team will play with you running the offense, and if you want more, let's have you play a season on your current contract first," and that tactic may have ultimately worked, because Wilson may have actually had the self-awareness to see that if things didn't go as well as expected, the contract offer after the 2022 season might be lower than the offer on the table before the season. Of course, those Subway ads suggest Wilson has no self-awareness at all, so 🤷‍♂️
Wow. Thank you for this.
 

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I think it's one thing not playing well and your skills declining but going by accounts in Denver, having people like Jake Heaps around despite being a non Broncos employee and other entourage along with Wilson getting his own office are rubbing the other players the wrong way and having an effect on the dressing room/culture. A lot of that stuff only flies if you are peak Brady or Manning.

I am starting to think Wilson believed the hype and genuinely thought he was going there to win MVP and spray the ball around. Ironically, it might cost him a HOF spot though, if this bad form continues.

It's a weird one. While we have the Broncos draft picks I want them to crash and burn but some of the stuff negative said about Wilson by people sounds personal and harsh. I think some of the narratives by the media/Wilson camp about the seahawks in the off season did piss me off but Wilson and the rest of the team also won us a super bowl, almost 2.
 
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