Luke Willson acknowledges the Seattle Seahawks extended a new deal to him, but says it wasn’t a particularly serious offer.
Both the Seattle Seahawks and Luke Willson have publicly stated they would like to continue their relationship into next season (and beyond). However, there appears to be difference of opinion in terms of how much effort the front office is putting into making this happen.
As reported by Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times, head coach Pete Carroll discussed his tight end at a press conference two days after the Seahawks’ season concluded. At the time, Carroll said: “(We) tried to get something done (contractually with Willson during the season) and we weren’t able to.”
Willson sees things somewhat differently, as he admitted during an interview with KJR-AM 950 in Houston, where he is doing broadcast work for TSN. In fact, he was extremely surprised to hear of Carroll’s comments.
Speaking on the Ian & Puck Show, Willson said: “I mean, there was an offer extended. I don’t know if it was extremely serious, we’ll leave it at that.”
However, the 27-year old must have been bothered by his head coach’s comments, as he was unable to leave it there: “It wasn’t (serious), I didn’t really respond to it.
“I was surprised that that kind of was let out there to the media or public because it was not extremely official, at least in my mind. But who knows.”
Willson said there has not been any contact with the team since the end of the season. However, he expects this to change when the NFL combine starts at the beginning of March.
The 2013 fifth round draft pick went on to stress he would like to return to Seattle: “I have said that it’s like a home to me, but again, I am going to explore all the opportunities.
“This is kind of the first time I’ve come out in public and said this, but for me it’s a bit of a sliding scale in the sense of that it’s not all about money —does money play a factor? Yes. But a winning culture, Seattle is a great city to play in.”
Willson says another factor which will play a part, is the possibility to move somewhere nearer to where he grew up, in Ontario, Canada: “I’m going to be completely honest and say that part of me would like to be closer to home, so that’s always a nice thing, too.
“So at the end of the day, I’m going to sit down with my family and take a look at the situation and kind of play out ‘hey, here are the offers, here are the cities, here are the teams with the culture that I like.’”
Of course, the Jimmy Graham factor plays a significant part, both in respect of how much money and playing time will be available for the Canadian. Consider that in 2014 he had 22 catches, 362 yards and three touchdowns, which dropped to 15, 129 and two respectively last season.
Even allowing for the fact Willson missed five games through injury, there is no denying the impact Graham’s presence has on his own production. Not that he wants to necessarily be the number one guy, but this will still have some influence on his final decision.
Willson said: “I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say that personally I believe that I can have some pretty big years statistically, but that’s not all it’s about. … it’s kind of a complex decision.
“It’s not just a one-factor decision. But once I actually have some concrete things to think about I will probably go from there.”
For what it’s worth, Pro Football Focus rated the former CFL draft pick as the 42nd-best tight end in 2016. Even allowing for any criticism of the formula deployed, this still give you some indication of how valuable he is.
Overall, Carroll and the Seahawks can claim all they like that they want Willson back. However, they’re going to have to find a way to prove this by making a more serious offer, or risk losing him altogether.
What is your take on the situation surrounding Willson. Do you think he will return to Seattle next season or play elsewhere, and why? Share your thoughts in the comments section.