There has been a lot of talk over the last few weeks since the NFL lockout surrounding the Seahawks and their situation at quarterback. Seattle lost the opportunity to sign their longtime quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and now the team enters the draft with much uncertainly at that position.
If the Seahawks goal was to have Matt signed before the draft, maybe Coach Pete Carroll shouldn’t have announced him the Seahawks top priority to re-sign in the offseason. The latest word from Carroll suggested the two sides were close, but couldn’t quite come together before the deadline. The Seahawks coach knows his options are limited.
Hawks fans have been split over the potential for the return of the team’s starting quarterback of the last 10 years. With three years of injuries making fans aware that Matt’s best days may be behind him, it may be time to start looking in a new direction.
But considering the in the draft and in the free agent market, sticking with Hasselbeck may be the best alternative for now as Carroll and the Seahawks. Greater needs on the offensive and defensive line make it difficult to consider any trade that would take the Seahawks out of the first round.
Personally, I’m having a difficult time knowing if Carroll is genuine about his talk to bring Matt back. I get the sense that he is ready to move on though. Partially due to discussions in the media about quarterbacks the team is looking at and even more so because he went after Whitehurst so fervently after arriving in Seattle.
It comes down to whether or not the team wants to win right now, or whether they feel they can have a couple rough years to build around a young quarterback in the draft. I don’t think there’s a quarterback in the draft that Seattle could get who would come in and have that kind of immediate impact that Sam Bradford had on the Rams last year.
If the team wants to win right now, and have a quarterback that can stick with the team into the future, Philadelphia’s Kevin Kolb may be the best option. Kolb has the best mix of talent and youth on the market right now, but he also has the biggest asking price. If the Seahawks are going to land Kolb, it would take their first round pick and likely more.
If Seattle can’t see a future starting quarterback in the draft, then the price they pay with draft picks would be worth it, especially considering the crop of free agent quarterbacks. Other needs can be met through free agency, but when Alex Smith, Matt Leinart, and Tavaris Jackson are the top options in free agency – the answer isn’t there.
Players like Carson Palmer and Vince Young may also be available via trade, but Palmer is no more than an interim option at his age. Young can’t seem to get his head right to play in Tennessee, so my confidence is relatively low that he could succeed at Qwest where fans can sometimes be quick to boo. Young’s apparently aptitude for winning is tough to argue against though.
Even with Young’s winning record, I would prefer to take a chance on a guy like Tarvaris Jackson in Seattle. Considering the Seahawks new offensive coordinator was hired away from the Vikings, it would be interesting to know if he believes that Jackson would fit into the offense here.
As one of Pete Carroll’s former quarterbacks at USC, Matt Leinart is always one of the names thrown around to come to Seattle. I’m not sure if it matters what the full story was surrounding his departure from Arizona, I just know that if you get cut in favor of Derek Anderson then you’re not worthy of being a starting quarterback in the NFL.
With these options around the league, maybe we need to look toward backup Charlie Whitehurst. If Whitehurst is the guy, I don’t buy the idea that he could use another year behind Hasselbeck. He’s had four years behind Phillip Rivers before coming to Seattle. How’s another year on the bench going to make him more ready to play?
One positive with Whitehurst is he at least showed that he can win, not only that but he can win in a big game situation. Of course, I can’t argue that winning at home against anyone in the division last season could be considered anything special.
If the game against the Saints was Matt’s last game in a Seattle uniform, it would sure be a great last game to remember him by. There’s no doubt in my mind he’s the top Seahawks quarterback, and it would be difficult to see him in another team’s uniform — especially a division rival.
If the Seahawks can’t get him for a reasonable price, I don’t think they should hesitate into throwing Whitehurst into the starting role if the coaches feel that he has what it takes to be an NFL starter. If they don’t feel he has that potential and the team wants to win now, they need to take a hard look at picking up Kolb from Philadelphia.