We should know more in a few hours, but this could be that we traded for a draft pick and turned that into a trade for a backup QB. Let’s look at these things separately for the time being.
Fisher to Titans for undisclosed draft pick
This is curious. Fisher was still a clear contributor, and even a preferred DE over starter Darryl Tapp in certain running defenses. He was good locker room guy from the Seattle area (Renton) that also had a weekly show on KJR. He is also clearly on the downward trajectory in his career. He could be a legit starter for another season or so, but I wouldn’t expect 8+ sacks anymore.
On it’s own, this only makes sense if the Hawks are big believers in rookie DE Baraka Atkins, and wanted the roster spot for another player (likely a backup QB, but possibly another DT).
Frye to Hawks for a 6th round pick
You knew they were going to pickup a backup QB sometime in the next week or so. With Hackett’s injury, and Holmgren’s intimations that Seneca could be used at WR, the move seemed imminent. Indeed, it was.
I don’t much about Frye except that he washed out in Cleveland and never has had a QB rating higher than 72. They thought enough of him to try him as a starter for a few years, so maybe there is a reclamation project in there for our QB gurus, Holmgren and Zorn. He can’t be worse than David Greene. A 6th-rounder, on it’s own, seems a small price to pay for the chance to add a dynamic new option to our offense in Wallace.
What it likely means
Even if the Hawks did not take the pick from the Fisher trade and move it to Cleveland (i.e., they traded their own 6th rounder and got a different pick back from the Titans), they technically swapped Fisher for Frye on the roster. Getting a backup QB that Holmgren feels confident in could lead to very interesting things. Burleson is now a starting WR who also takes a beating on punt returns. Gil Haskell has said Wallace would be one of the best punt returners in football if he was in there. Do you alleviate the pressure there, or maybe share the duties?
What kind of plays could we see with Wallace on the field as a receiver? Holmgren hates trick plays, but he loves deception. He just tends to do it more subtlety with things like formations. Would Holmgren entertain WR option plays? I would guess we’d just see Seneca used as a WR in almost all cases, with an emphasis on end arounds to give him a chance to create.
At the DE position, this means Atkins must step up and Tapp must stay healthy. Tapp is undersized and we have no idea if he will wear down as the season moves along. Atkins impressed me a lot in the preseason, even as some were down on him. He was in the backfield a bunch.
Knowing how often Peterson lines up at DE in pass-rush situations really reduces our need for DE overall.
Nothing in these moves scares me. In fact, there is a chance for some additional freedom in how we use one of our most dynamic players, Wallace. As more information comes out, we’ll see if that opinion changes.