Thursday, March 29, 2012

Seahawks Debate: Draft Elite or Trade Back

The recent poll posted on this blog asked Seahawks fans what they wanted to see the team do with their 1st-round draft pick (#12 overall). The leading answer, with almost a quarter of the vote, was to trade back to accumulate more picks. Now, that could also be read to say 75% of fans want to draft a player, even if not the same player, but 25% is still a significant chunk of the fan base. It also highlighted my own internal debate about what the best thing is for the Seahawks to do. There are going to be some great players available in the draft at #12, players that could become elite at their position. The Seahawks, however, only have six picks through all seven rounds. Trading back could reap something as high as a 1st-round pick next season, to just adding a 2nd-5th this season, depending on how far back they go and how desperate the team is who wants their spot. The Seahawks are an improving squad that is unlikely to be drafting this high again for some time, so their decision to stay put or trade back will have a lasting impact on the franchise.

Many people point to franchise quarterbacks as being the key element to any Super Bowl run, but the truth is Super Bowl teams are made up of elite players. Elite, in this case, means All-Pro players who rate as the top 2-3 in their position within the NFL. Free agency and the salary cap have had a drastic impact on the number of elite players necessary to win a Super Bowl over the past 50 years.

As recently as the 1990s, SB teams often featured 10+ All-Pro players. 7 of the last 10 have had three.
This gets to the fundamental question of whether it is quality or quantity that matters in the NFL. The 2010 Green Bay Packers are a great case study in that regard. They won the Super Bowl despite losing an NFL-high 91 games due to injury. If there was ever a case for the importance of depth, it was that Packers team. Look closer, though, at that team. Was their depth the key to winning that Super Bowl, or the play of their elite players: Aaron Rodgers, Clay Mathews, and Charles Woodson? It is hard to imagine that team winning the Lombardi Trophy with a back-up playing in place of Rodgers or Mathews, even if they were above-average players. The Packers probably don't even make the playoffs, though, without the depth they had on the roster. Both depth and elite talent played a key role in that run to the Super Bowl, but when it comes to actually winning the Super Bowl, elite talent trumps depth every time.

The more common story in the NFL is the teams that make a deep run in the playoffs enjoy remarkably healthy seasons, making depth a non-factor. The Giants found their stride last season when all their key players got healthy and stayed that way through the Super Bowl. New England, outside of Andre Carter, had all their key players for the run to the championship. The 49ers has an unbelievably fortunate four players on injured reserve during their breakout season, while the Rams had 13 players on IR and the Seahawks had 14. Depth can help weather a storm of injuries, but staying healthy is a far more reliable way to win big.

Seattle had one elite player in 2012. Earl Thomas earned his first All-Pro honors. Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman are possibly close behind. It is worth noting that there are not any players on offense approaching All-Pro status outside of possibly Marshawn Lynch. It is also interesting that most fans that want to keep the #12 pick want to spend it on defense. Could the Seahawks win the Super Bowl with only elite players on defense? That's a research project for another time. San Francisco almost got to the Super Bowl last season with only T Joe Staley making the All-Pro team on offense, and four All-Pro players on defense.

Trading back would make it far harder to add an elite player, unless the trade netted another first-round pick next season. Finding elite players after the first-round is exceedingly difficult.


As tempting as it is to add another second-round pick, fill in the team's lack of fifth-round pick, or some other combination, the risk of missing out on an elite player seems too great. The general consensus is that the quality of talent in this draft drops of significantly after about 15-20 players. It is possible the Seahawks could trade back from #12 to #18 and still wind up with one of those players, but if the guy they love is there at #12, they should take him. The Seahawks path to the Super Bowl will be paved by adding more elite players, not by adding more depth.  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

POLL: What Should Seahawks Do With 1st Round Pick (#12 overall)?

You have hopefully already read my series on some possible players the Seahawks could select with their 1st round draft choice. Seahawks fans seem pretty split on what they want to see the team do. Register your vote here, and we'll revisit on draft day.

Imagining Lavonte David

The Seahawks own the #12 overall selection in the upcoming NFL draft. Signing Matt Flynn, Red Bryant, Jason Jones, Marshawn Lynch, Breno Giacomini, and Paul McQuistan has left the team with the luxury of picking the best player that falls to them. This series will explore some possible selections, and how they could impact the team.


DE Melvin Ingram
OG David DeCastro
MLB Luke Kuechly
DE Courtney Upshaw
LB Lavonte David

Profile of Lavonte David

WHAT DOES HE BRING?
Pete Carroll has been quoted multiple times this off-season indicating the team's desire to add speed at the linebacker position. David is a prime candidate to fill that need. He is undersized by NFL standards for a linebacker at 6'1" 233 lbs, but runs fast enough to have some teams projecting him as a safety on the next level. Nobody denies his ability as a football player or athlete. He registered 152 tackles, 6 sacks, 15 tackles for loss and 10 passes defensed as a junior. He followed that up with 133 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss in his senior season. David is comfortable in space, instinctive against the run and the pass, and will chase down quarterbacks. He can shed blocks despite his size, and aggressively strips at the ball while wrapping up. Bo Pelini called him a "coach's dream." David's size is what has many scouts projecting him as a second-round selection, as most are unsure where to play him. Some draftniks are starting to uncomfortably project him in the first-round. Don't be surprised if he ends up going in the Top 20.

BEST-CASE SCENARIO
David could be the anti-Aaron Curry. Undersized, underrated, incredibly instinctive and overwhelmingly productive. His addition would slide K.J. Wright over to the middle linebacker spot, where his 6'4" frame with long arms would make passing over the middle a headache for any quarterback. Wright can be a very good linebacker, but his skills as a blitzer remain unclear. There are far fewer questions about his ability to excel in the middle, and adding a guy like David would give the Seahawks young playmakers all over the field. Imagine a linebacker crew of Wright in the middle with two rockets on the outside in David and Malcolm Smith. Expect Leroy Hill to be in the mix, but the size of the Seahawks line could allow fleet-footed players like Smith and David to rack up big plays and big hits with regularity. The other possibility would be to play David at the WILL, leave Wright at SAM, and re-sign a player like David Hawthorne to play in the middle. David would be a three-down linebacker who would excel in the nickel packages as well. Carroll and Gus Bradley would have a field day using David in things like the Bandit package where linebackers are needed to be equally adept at both coverage and pass pressure. David has the potential to be a regular Pro Bowler and could be an All-Pro in the right system.

WORST-CASE SCENARIO
Taking a player like David at #12 overall would be considered a stretch by most, maybe by all. Scouts love Luke Kuechly at that spot, yet he plays in the middle, a less crucial position in the Seahawks hybrid 4-3 scheme. David would add more pass rush and maximize the talent already on the roster by sliding Wright over to MIKE. The downside with David would be if he cannot stay on the field due to injury while taking on larger players in the NFL. Hill was fantastic his rookie season, but struggled to stay on the field the following years, and never regained his pass rush form. This is a different defense, with far larger lineman to keep linebackers clean, especially on the strong side where David could lineup next to Red Bryant. David is simply too good of a football player and athlete to be a bust due to anything but injury. The biggest argument against taking him at #12 is that the team could potentially get him by trading back. He may be too good to take that risk. 

Imagining Courtney Upshaw

The Seahawks own the #12 overall selection in the upcoming NFL draft. Signing Matt Flynn, Red Bryant, Jason Jones, Marshawn Lynch, Breno Giacomini, and Paul McQuistan has left the team with the luxury of picking the best player that falls to them. This series will explore some possible selections, and how they could impact the team.


DE Melvin Ingram
OG David DeCastro
MLB Luke Kuechly
DE Courtney Upshaw
LB Lavonte David

Rob Rang Profile of Courtney Upshaw

WHAT DOES HE BRING?
Upshaw, like Ingram, projects as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 or an undersized defensive end in a 4-3. Beyond that, the two are quite different on the field. Upshaw is a power player, who could be a force against the run and the pass. He is not a fast-twitch rusher who will blow by lineman, and he is not particularly creative in getting to the quarterback. Either he will be able to club or swim his way by a lineman, or he won't. His effort will be there every play, but his pass rush will be inconsistent. Upshaw's value is in that he can be a solid all-around player who will give max effort all the time and maximize whatever potential he has. He is not the next double-digit sack player in the NFL.

BEST-CASE SCENARIO
Seahawks fans have become accustomed to Chris Clemons as the LEO and Red Bryant as the 5-tech end opposite him. Clemons is the constant pass rusher who collect 10+ sacks, and Bryant is the two-down run defender who sets the edge. Upshaw could be a little bit of both. At 6'2" 272 lbs, he is not as quick as Clemons or as strong as Bryant, but he may be a nice combination of both. He is a power and effort pass rusher who could get 7-8 sacks in a good season. He is also capable of standing up offensive tackles and making instinctive plays against the run, netting tackles for loss. He could also swing inside to DT in nickel packages, paired with Jason Jones. His versatility is attractive in this defense, and his make-up almost guarantees he will be of some value. No player is "bust-proof," but Upshaw is pretty darn close.

WORST-CASE SCENARIO
Upshaw may be a solid bet to succeed in the NFL, but his ceiling is limited. He probably will never be a Pro Bowl player in the Seahawks scheme, let alone an elite defender. The puzzle with Upshaw is figuring out what problem he solves for the defense. He does not project as a good enough pass rusher to replace Clemons, although he would bring different things to the role. Bryant is great as 5-tech, and Alan Branch would be the better replacement if Bryant went down. Upshaw could wind up being a valuable rotational player, but is that what you want with the #12 overall selection? Even if he becomes a starter, who defeats run blocks with regularity and makes the Seahawks a better run defense, it is debatable whether that is the ingredient the team needs to add. Nothing about Upshaw indicates he will be an elite pass rusher. He can help in that regard, but his ceiling there is lower than a player like Ingram. On the flip side, Upshaw's floor is probably higher than Ingram's. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Imagining Luke Kuechly

The Seahawks own the #12 overall selection in the upcoming NFL draft. Signing Matt Flynn, Red Bryant, Jason Jones, Marshawn Lynch, Breno Giacomini, and Paul McQuistan has left the team with the luxury of picking the best player that falls to them. This series will explore some possible selections, and how they could impact the team.


DE Melvin Ingram
OG David DeCastro
MLB Luke Kuechly
DE Courtney Upshaw
LB Lavonte David

Rob Rang Profile of Luke Kuechly

WHAT DOES HE BRING?
The only thing Kuechly would clearly bring to the Seahawks is a difficult to spell and pronounce last name (pronounced KEEK-ly). Outside of that, he is hard to project. There is a consensus that he is the best middle linebacker in the draft, and that he wowed everyone at the combine by carrying more weight, running in the 4.5s and popping a 38-inch vertical leap. His production at Boston College is undeniable, where he averaged 14 tackles per game. Boston College is not a football powerhouse, so it can be tough to project his performance there to his performance in the NFL. Middle linebackers are also tough to place an accurate value on due to their varying role in NFL defenses. Kuechly is a consensus Top 15 pick. Put it all together, and Kuechly may be the most difficult to  predict of the players in this series.

BEST-CASE SCENARIO
Zach Thomas was a seven-time Pro Bowler and five-time 1st Team All Pro at middle linebacker. Patrick Willis is five-time Pro Bowler and four-time 1st Team All Pro at inside linebacker. You may have heard of Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher, and Mike Singletary as well. Elite middle linebackers are rare, but when your team finds one, it can transform an entire defense. Kuechly is already drawing comparisons to Thomas, who was good for 150 tackles almost every season. He was an incredibly instinctive linebacker who excelled despite being undersized by NFL standards. Adding a player like that to the Seahawks defense would cement K.J. Wright at the SAM position. It would also add another reason why it would be tough to run against the Seahawks. The mammoth defensive line already discourages runs up-the-middle, but a great middle linebacker would plug the gaps and chase down any running back who chooses to cut East-West. Kuechly is not the guy to run down an elite pass-catching tight end in the NFL, so he might only be a two-down linebacker in some situations. A great middle linebacker is not going to add much to the pass rush, except for putting teams in 3rd and long more often. That said, nobody would regret having an All-Pro controlling the middle of the Seahawks defense for the next decade.

WORST-CASE SCENARIO
Kuechly could just be a decent starting linebacker. David Hawthorne was a pretty darn good starting MIKE last season despite playing with a bum knee. Hawthorne has made impact plays throughout his career, forcing fumbles, intercepting passes, even sacking the quarterback on occasion. Will Kuechly be that much of an upgrade? To put it another way, Kuechly would need to be a Zach Thomas-level NFL player in order to truly  upgrade the position. Wright is already on the roster, and projects to be a darn good MIKE if the team decides to add a SAM that forces him to slide over. Wright played the first game of the year at MIKE, and did a nice job. He is cerebral, extraordinarily lanky, and a great open-field tackler. He very well may be a better coverage linebacker than Kuechly, which would allow him to be a three-down linebacker. Finding a great outside linebacker that pushes Wright over also would mean a greater impact to the pass rush, as middle linebackers just don't get that involved with pressuring the passer. If Kuechly is the equivalent of adding a Patrick Willis or Brian Urlacher to the Seahawks defense, nobody will complain. Much less than that would mean the Seahawks used an incredibly valuable draft choice on a position they could have addressed in a myriad of other ways with roughly the same output. High stakes.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Imagining David DeCastro

The Seahawks own the #12 overall selection in the upcoming NFL draft. Signing Matt Flynn, Red Bryant, Jason Jones, Marshawn Lynch, Breno Giacomini, and Paul McQuistan has left the team with the luxury of picking the best player that falls to them. This series will explore some possible selections, and how they could impact the team.


DE Melvin Ingram
OG David DeCastro
MLB Luke Kuechly
DE Courtney Upshaw
LB Lavonte David

Rob Rang Profile of David DeCastro

WHAT DOES HE BRING?
DeCastro is regularly compared to Steve Hutchinson and Steve Wisniewski. Seahawks fans don't need much help in understanding what a lineman of that caliber can mean to any football team. He is a dominating run blocker and an unflappable pass protector. He has the mean streak necessary to play in the trenches, and the intelligence to handle combination blocking and hand-offs during line stunts.

BEST-CASE SCENARIO
Nobody will ever be Walter Jones again for the Seahawks, but DeCastro could be Steve Hutchinson. He would start right away at left guard, and while his combination with Russell Okung is appealing, the more interesting combination is with future Pro Bowl center Max Unger. Robbie Tobeck was an overachieving center back in the day, but Unger can be a much better player. Not only that, but the idea of DeCastro pulling to the right side with a healthy James Carpenter could become one the NFL's most dominating run combinations. A dominating offensive line would help whoever is playing quarterback to succeed, with more time, clearer throwing lanes, and shorter 3rd downs to convert. The running game would continue to improve and the increased time of possession would make the defense fresher and more effective. Seattle would be on its way to having the best secondary and best offensive line in the NFL.

WORST-CASE SCENARIO
DeCastro is not a guy who is going to become a bust. He may fall short of being a Hall of Fame lineman, but will start in the NFL for the next decade. The true worst-case scenario with DeCastro is that by using a pick on him, the Seahawks drastically increasing the odds that they will be without a Chris Clemons replacement next year, and far less likely to find an edge rusher to pair with Clemons this year. They would take this risk to add a player at a position the team already has qualified players. Paul McQuistan, Lemuel Juanpierre, John Moffitt, and even James Carpenter all have the potential to play guard at a starter level this season. The team was rushing successfully and cutting down on sacks allowed before injuries took hold. It is not clear the Seahawks really need a major upgrade at guard, and how much that upgrade would translate to tangible changes on the field. 

Imagining Melvin Ingram

The Seahawks own the #12 overall selection in the upcoming NFL draft. Signing Matt Flynn, Red Bryant, Jason Jones, Marshawn Lynch, Breno Giacomini, and Paul McQuistan has left the team with the luxury of picking the best player that falls to them. This series will explore some possible selections, and how they could impact the team.


DE Melvin Ingram
OG David DeCastro
MLB Luke Kuechly
DE Courtney Upshaw
LB Lavonte David

Rob Rang Profile of Melvin Ingram

WHAT DOES HE BRING?
Ingram appears to be the best pure pass rusher in the draft. If his arms were 2-3 inches longer and/or he was 2-3 inches taller, he'd be a certain Top 5 selection. The jokes about his "T-Rex" arms and in-between measurables make it possible that he could slide to the Seahawks. Length is seen as a key factor in determining whether a college pass rusher can translate to an NFL pass rusher where offensive tackles regularly stand 6'5" or taller and can push most edge rushers right past the quarterback. Watch Ingram in pass rush drills, or in a game, and it becomes clear that he finds the quarterback on instinct, not a physical measurement. He effortlessly swims outside, spins inside, and clubs his way around offensive lineman. He can play inside or outside, and some even project him as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Quinton Coples is considered the prototype defensive end, but Ingram crushes him on every down effort and natural football instincts. Coples could be great if he cared. Ingram cares to be great.

BEST-CASE SCENARIO
Ingram has the tools to be the Defensive Rookie Of The Year if he is given the chance to rush the passer regularly and play in a rotation. Registering 10+ sacks in his first season would not be a shock, and he could become the heir apparent to Chris Clemons at the LEO spot by next year. Coupling Ingram's ability to rush for the edge with Jason Jones' ability to penetrate inside and Clemons coming from the opposite side could completely transform the Seahawks pass rush package. Ingram swinging inside to work with Jones can also work if someone like Dexter Davis emerges as a rush end. It would not be out of the realm of possibilities to see Clemons, Jones and Ingram combine to challenge the Seahawks team total of 33 sacks last season. Scoring Ingram would also allow the team to focus on linebacker, running back, and quarterback in later rounds.

WORST-CASE SCENARIO
Ingram is not going to fail in the NFL. He could wind up as a more limited pass rusher due to the being overwhelmed physically by NFL lineman. Imagine a player like Darryl Tapp, who gives everything on each down, but fails to dominate. Ingram is a more natural pass rusher than Tapp, so where Tapp nets 2-5 sacks per year, Ingram's floor is probably 4-8 sacks per year. He would still be a valuable member of the defense, but would not be a starter, and would be more complimentary. This would leave the team in a bind next season when Clemons hits free agency at an age the Seahawks would be unlikely to pay him top dollar for his services. Seattle would be back at square one in terms of finding their future LEO. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Something Special Happening In Seattle

Jim Mora got up in front of the press after his dismal 2009 season as head coach of the Seahawks. The man who had hired him, Tim Ruskell, had already been fired. Mora represented the last remnant of a dark era in Seahawks football, littered with horrible personnel decisions and cliche-driven coaching. The news broke shortly thereafter that Mora had been fired to make room for a special mystery candidate. Fans and media were understandably skeptical when word spread that Pete Carroll was taking over. I had questions about what type of identity Carroll would establish with the team. It felt like a splashy hiring, lacking in substance, by a desperate ownership looking for anyone not named Mike Holmgren.

Back then, almost anyone would tell you the expectation was that Carroll would come in and create a middling team that played undisciplined finesse football. The Seahawks would become a USC graduate program, with Carroll unable see past "his guys," from the glory days. Very few, if any, would have foreseen what has happened since:

- The now-famous roster turnover of 2010
- A division title in year one
- A playoff win in year one
- The rise of a Top 10 defense in 2011
- The creation of what may the best secondary in football as soon as this coming season
- A punch-you-in-the-mouth identity on both sides of the ball built on mammoth offensive and defensive lines, and a runner more often called "Beast" than his given name

The word was that Carroll's rah-rah demeanor might play well for a year at best, but that professional players would soon tune him out. Seattle crossed a chasm this off-season. Key players on both sides of the ball were free agents. This would be the first time we could truly see how players felt about Carroll, and what he was doing in Seattle. Would they run to other teams and start talking trash like Josh Wilson, who famously referred to "California Pete," after his trade to the Ravens? Would the Seahawks have to overpay them to retain their services? After nearly a week of free agency, the Seahawks have re-signed arguably all of their most important free agents, and to reasonable deals.

Players like Red Bryant talked about feeling like they are onto something in Seattle, and that he wanted to stay a part of it. As exciting as that was, there was another test when it came to attracting players who had not been a part of the resurrection for the past two years. Jason Jones and Matt Flynn were both highly sought-after free agents. They each visited Seattle during a particularly nasty stretch of weather. The Seahawks were recruiting them, but not blowing them away with financial offers that made the decisions easy for either player. If they were going to come to Seattle, it was going to be because they believed in the program.

Jones was the first to fall in. His signing was a shock because there were so many reasons to expect him to sign with his former coach, Jeff Fisher, in St. Louis. Instead, he decided to move to the farthest NW corner of the country and play for a team that will rarely make an appearance on SportsCenter. Then, Flynn flew to Miami. His former offensive coordinator was there. It was right around the corner from Louisiana, where he played college football and where his girlfriend grew up. The fan base was clamoring for him. The starting job was there to be had. Instead, he decides to take a job with the Seahawks where there will be no guarantees that he will be a starter. How does that happen?

Sports Illustrated writer Peter King posted some illuminating tweets Sunday night after speaking with Flynn:

"Talked to Flynn. Said a big factor in Sea over Mia was vibe in the building in Seattle: "The coaches, the staff--they were fantastic.'' - link

"Said he sat for a long time with OC Darrell Bevell, formerly of GB, and felt the Sea offense would be just like the one he learned in GB." - link

Carroll and John Schneider are building something that players want to be a part of. Flynn could wind up being a total bust, but that's besides the point. At the moment of truth, two free agents who had interest from multiple teams, chose the Seahawks because of a belief that something exciting was being built here. It is still mostly a secret across the league. Seattle is the below .500 team with Marshawn Lynch at running back. The tide is turning, though, and even the commonly blind national media is slowly starting to realize what is going on. King, Pete Prisco, and others have started talking up the Seattle defense. A few may even go as far as picking the Seahawks as their sleeper team in 2012. None of it will matter if the team does not continue it's evolution on the field, but there is little reason to project a step backwards. The team should be healthier, more cohesive, clearer in its identity, and now bolstered with some new free agent goodness. And that's before Schneider gets to work his magic in the draft.

Give Carroll his due for getting the franchise where it is now, after being so far gone only a couple years ago. I greatly underestimated him, and totally misunderstood him. He deserves continued scrutiny until the team starts winning, but there is nothing wrong with tipping your cap and taking some pride in being a team on the rise.

Matt Flynn Gives Hawks Fans Off-Season Victory

Admit it. You saw Matt Flynn's last game against Detroit last season, or heard about it, or saw the box score, and spent some time daydreaming what it would be like to have the Seahawks sign him as a free agent. Some of you led with your head and questioned the small sample size, Flynn's lack of standout physical talent, and recent history with Kevin Kolb being a disappointment in Arizona. Others led with their heart, desperate for any sign that Seattle was getting closer to finding a quarterback who could make the Seahawks a legitimate contender. Now that Flynn has signed a deal, reported to be 3 years $19M (up to $26M with incentives) with $10M guaranteed, good luck finding any Seahawks fan who is not excited.

The biggest argument against Flynn was that he is an unknown. Ironically, the most exciting thing about him is the same thing. He has only two starts, both very impressive. Nobody would degrade his physical talents if he had a full season of performances anywhere near what he turned in for both those games. He has already proven he is capable of turning in an NFL performance beyond what Charlie Whitehurst ever has, or will do. His game against Detroit, where he threw for 480 yards, 10.9 yards per attempt, 6 touchdowns and 1 interception was outstanding no matter how you try to tear it down. Would Tarvaris Jackson have put up those numbers against the Lions that day, even if he had the Green Bay offense to work with? How many other quarterbacks would have? Remember, Matt Stafford threw for 520 yards, 5 TDs and 2 INTs in the same game, but nobody is attacking his credentials.

In his only other start @NE, versus the 11-2 (undefeated at home) Patriots in 2010, he had his team leading in the fourth quarter. He put up an impressive 100.2 passer rating while throwing for 251 yards, 3 TDS and 1 INT.  For those scoring at home, that is two starts for a combined 55/81, 68% completion percentage, 731 yards, 9.0 yards per attempt, 9 TDs and 2 INTs. Whitehurst, by comparison, has thrown for 805 yards and 3 touchdowns...in his career. Why the comparison to Whitehurst?

First off, that is who Flynn replaces on paper. Whitehurst was the first move Pete Carroll and John Schneider made when taking over the team. They traded a 3rd round draft choice and moved down in the second round for the right to sign him to a 2 year, $8M contract. He had never started an NFL game before arriving in Seattle, and was 28 at the time. Flynn signed a deal that reportedly guarantees him only $2M more than Whitehurst received, without having to give up any other compensation. He's also 26 years old. Oh, and he had already earned the back-up job behind Aaron Rodgers as opposed to getting beat-out by Billy Volek as Whitehurst did. The Seahawks quarterback situation has been so desperate that large volumes of fans were chanting Whitehurst's name well into last season. Flynn represents real hope, even if he has yet to earn anything more than a chance to compete.

Most will assume that Tarvaris Jackson will take a back-seat to Flynn. Don't count on it. This Summer will be the first true open competition for the quarterback position in the Pete Carroll era. There was no contest between Matt Hasselbeck and Whitehurst in 2010. Jackson was installed as starter due to the lockout shortened off-season in 2011. He led the team to seven wins despite several major obstacles. He played through a terrible offensive line in the early part of the year that had him getting hammered every time he dropped back. The team identity was shifting from no-huddle to ground'n'pound play-by-play, quarter-by-quarter. He had a 50% tear of his pectoral muscle on his throwing side, which would have left almost any other quarterback on the sideline. Through it all, he showed glimpses of ability and leadership. He also reminded fans regularly that it would not be wise to count on him.

This team beat the Ravens, Giants, Eagles and Bears with Jackson at the helm. Every indication is that the team should be better and Jackson should be better in 2012. Flynn will have to earn the starters role. In many ways, that's ideal for him. He does not enter camp with the weight of the franchise on his shoulders. He will compete day in and day out for the opportunity to lead this team. The winner will be the player who can limit mistakes, get the team in the right offense, make the right adjustments at the line, and execute with accuracy. Where Flynn lacks in physical gifts, he appears to excel in managing the game. Read Peter King's article on him for more details. Advantage Flynn.

Just coming back healthy and with a more seasoned offense would have made 10+ wins possible with Jackson at the helm. If Flynn can beat him out, it means the team can eclipse that level. In other words, if Jackson would be good for 10-11 wins, a quarterback that beats him out could be good for 11+. There will be those that point to Kevin Kolb as a cautionary tale. Kolb cost the Cardinals a young starting cornerback, a 2nd round pick and a contract that was more than double what Flynn signed for. Kolb also had one underwhelming season. Don't assume he is a dud just yet.

Enjoy the news. Savor the win. There is almost no downside here. Seattle will still look for a young quarterback in the 2012 and 2013 draft. Josh Portis could still develop into a future starter. The only thing that has changed is there is new potential for upside at the most crucial position on the field. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Seahawks Thoughts: Day 4.5 Of Free Agency

Jason Jones was a prized free agent. St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher, who coached him in Tennessee, brought him in as soon as free agency opened. Nobody knows what Jones can offer better than Fisher. The Rams successfully signed Jones' former teammate Cortland Finnegan, and immediately deployed him to recruit Jones. They had dinner the night before Jones was scheduled to fly out to Seattle. The Rams even had Jones come back to Rams headquarters on his way to the airport the next morning.

Seattle's front office hosted Jones during one of the ugliest weather days in recent memory. They did not bowl him over with a mega-deal to pry him away from their division rival. Instead, they approached the situation with an uncanny sense of what would motivate a person in Jones' situation. There have been some injury concerns about Jones. He was forced to play out of position last season at defensive end, and saw his production decrease. John Schneider offered him a one-year deal, and the chance to have a break-out season in front of the best fans in football, where sack numbers are often maximized. Jones is only 25, and now gets a chance to become a free agent after a great season instead of after one that lacked luster. The Seahawks get the best possible interior rusher they could have hoped for this off-season, and an inside shot to re-sign him long-term after this year. Jones gets a fat paycheck this year (terms undisclosed, but $7-8M would not shock me), and will play in an ideal situation that includes a heavy rotation that can keep him fresh.

Compare and contrast those two approaches. How many front offices would be confident and level-headed enough to host a guy that was so sought after, and offer him less than other suitors? Schneider and Pete Carroll will not swing wildly to address their needs. There will be no blind haymakers, but there will be haymakers. Jones will not get the publicity that Mario Williams did, but his signing will impact the Seahawks ability to rush the passer more than if they had signed Williams. Jones will apply pressure up the middle, either sacking the quarterback, eliminating his ability to step into a throw, or flushing him out into the arms of an edge rusher. More than one expert has said that no player outside of Albert Haynesworth (in his good years) was more effective than Jones at wreaking havoc in the middle of the Titans defensive line. That's high praise.

This move opens up the ability for the Seahawks to add edge rushers at linebacker and defensive end in the draft and free agency. A player like Melvin Ingram would be the ideal addition. Ingram and Jones will offer considerably more production than Williams at 1/10th the price, for more years. Kamerion Wimbley was released by the Raiders, and could draw interest by the Seahawks as a guy who could eventually take over for Chris Clemons at the LEO end position, or just fill the Raheem Brock situational rusher role. He could also potentially be the SAM linebacker that would shift K.J. Wright into the middle. There are a dozen-plus other linebacker options that could add speed and pass rush on the outside. There was only Jones who could provide the interior pressure. A pivotal get by the front office.

There was also addition by subtraction yesterday when Charlie Whitehurst signed a deal to back-up Philip Rivers in San Diego. It is shocking that another team wanted him on their roster. Good luck with that Chargers' fans. They also will get to see one-year Seahawks safety Atari Bigby, who signed a deal with their teams last night. Bigby was a good fit for the Seahawks last season, and would have been a possibility to bring back, but will not be that hard to replace.

Matt Flynn left town to go visit the Dolphins, who are said to be taking a conservative approach. They do not have a ton of cap space, and are probably the only team that would be offering Flynn the starting role. Flynn has not done enough to warrant displacing Tarvaris Jackson without an open competition. Many fans would argue against that point, but the people getting paid to make personnel decisions in the NFL seem to agree. Even the Dolphins are not breaking the bank to lure Flynn. Expect Seattle to invite Alex Smith to town in the next few days. He would not be handed the starting job or a big contract either, but would be the favorite to take over the position if he came aboard. No matter your feelings about Smith, it is clear the front office is not sold on Jackson as the starter, and wants to bring in veteran competition. If not Flynn or Smith, expect them to keep looking, potentially Matt Leinart.

If the Seahawks did sign Smith before Peyton Manning made his decision, it could leave the 49ers in a messy situation. Manning could wind up choosing the Broncos, which would leave the 49ers with very few options at quarterback in a season they are supposed to contend. Manning signing with the Titans would lead Matt Hasselbeck coming available and very likely signing there. Hasselbeck could go to the Browns as well, but the 49ers are Super Bowl contenders with Smith, and only get better with Hasselbeck.

The Seahawks have already locked up Red Bryant, Breno Giacomini, Paul McQuistan, Michael Robinson, and Marshawn Lynch. Jason Jones is their first free agent signing that was not on the 2011 roster. The team could do little the rest of free agency, and still have been very successful. They will be bargain shoppers from here on it, unless an unexpected opportunity like Zach Miller reveals itself again. Wimbley may be that guy, but Schneider and Carroll have proven they will not let desire outpace reason.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Seahawks Thoughts: Day Three Of Free Agency

Attracting and signing free agents is tough for Northwest sports teams. Seattlites feel like crossing the bridge to the Eastside is another world away. Imagine how folks from the East Coast feel when traveling to Seattle for the first time. The Sonics and Blazers at least had the chance host free agents during the Summer months. The Seahawks are stuck bringing in players at a time when most of the country is starting to come out of Winter, yet Seattle still struggles with inclement weather. This week may be the worst weather of the year, and don't underestimate the impact that has on a player's decision. Former Chargers lineman Kris Dielman famously was set to replace Steve Hutchinson in Seattle, but turned down more money to return to a more pleasant climate in San Diego.

Jason Jones spent the day in Seattle yesterday, and Matt Flynn flew in last night. Both are pivotal figures in the Seattle off-season. The aforementioned Hutchinson already made his visit and decided to go to the Titans instead. It's hard to imagine the weather was a factor for a guy that already played here a few years and knew what he'd be in for before making the trip. Reports are that Flynn has a visit scheduled to Miami after Seattle. He, and his girlfriend, have strong ties to Louisiana. The Dolphins are far more desperate for a quarterback and the Seahawks (no matter what your opinion of Tarvaris Jackson is). It is hard to see what would cause Flynn to pick Seattle over Miami. To put it another way, if he did pick Seattle, it would speak volumes about who he is and what he values. The Seahawks are a better team, with better young talent, and more functional front office. A person who would turn down what will almost certainly be more money, better weather, closer proximity to home/family, less threat of competition, in order to play for a more promising team is a guy any fan would love to have. It almost never plays out that way. Expect Flynn to leave tonight for Miami, and only to return if the Dolphins are playing at CLink.

Jones is being pursued hard by the Rams. It is a great sign that he got on the plane to Seattle despite their aggressive overtures. He may have some connection with the team that has not been made public yet, or his agent is convinced they will get a blowout offer that will drive his market way up. The Rams were reportedly still in contact with his agent while the Seattle visit was going on. The Titans, his original team, also are still in the mix. This has all the makings of a bidding war. Jones is 25, has upside, and is a rare find as a disruptive interior pass rusher. He could fill the role Pete Carroll wanted Jimmy Wilkerson to do last season, moving all along the line to pressure the passer. The downside is that Jones is undersized and has had some injury issues. Make no mistake, Seattle will have to outspend the other teams to get Jones. He youth, potential and rarity make him worth the risk and cost. If Red Bryant just got $14.5M guaranteed, Jones could hit the $10-20M range, maybe even more. Word is that he will make his decision by Monday. This one has the feel that if he leaves Seattle without a contract, he won't be back. Just a hunch.

Michael Robinson tweeted last night that he had re-signed with the Seahawks. Robinson was always a good special teams player, but became a Pro Bowl fullback last season. His toughness and leadership are undeniable. This ensures the key elements of that running game are back intact. There should be no reason for the team to take a step back there.

It could get very quiet over the next week after Flynn and Jones make their decisions. There will be other guys that come and go, but don't expect many impact signings. Seattle has an obvious need at linebacker, and some are asking about Curtis Lofton, who is possibly the premium linebacker on the market. What many many not realize is that the linebacker position is going through a similar commoditization that running backs went through. Rookie linebackers can come in and make an impact right away as starters. They don't take as long as other positions to adjust to the NFL. K.J. Wright is an obvious recent example. Paying a premium for a position that can be addressed with high-impact players in the 4th round is not something a smart front office does. There are plenty of great linebackers in this draft. Expect the Seahawks to be very frugal in their linebacker free agent shopping. Larry Grant continues to be a guy that would make some sense, but he will be a second or third-tier free agent since he would cost a 7th-round draft pick in return. David Hawthorne could get re-signed, but only if another team doesn't offer him a good contract.

Since the Seahawks expressed interest in Hutchinson, it would make sense that they would continue to look for veteran depth at guard. Former Brown Eric Steinbach may be a name to watch.

Pray that the Seahawks have full-spectrum lighting installed at the VMAC, and that some news of real import breaks today. If another player's girlfriend is the biggest story of the day, it would be disappointing. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Seahawks Thoughts: Day Two Of Free Agency

Robert Gallery was the most obvious free agent signing the Seahawks made last season. He became the most unexpected Seahawks free agent this season after being released by the team. Gallery, 31, started the season injured, but managed to play through it for the bulk of the year. He was the one free agent the Seahawks signed over the age of 26, and the team has already made the decision to reclaim some $5M of cap space instead of keeping him on the roster.

The reason for the move is a driven by a combination of factors. Paul McQuistan was forced into action late in the year when John Moffit was injured. He played well at guard, and then at left tackle. The team re-signed him yesterday. Lemuel Juanpierre filled in at guard when McQuistan moved to left tackle, and he played well. James Carpenter had a serious knee injury, and was already questionable in terms of lateral quickness for a tackle. This may clear the path for Carpenter to transition to guard permanently. Giacomini showed promise at right tackle, and will likely start the season there no matter what due to Carpenter's injury. This could open the position to him long-term. Last, Steve Hutchinson was in Seattle for a visit yesterday, and could be signed for veteran depth. He has been injured and less effective the past two years, but Juanpierre, Giacomini and Carpenter give the team enough depth to not need to rely on Hutch if he signs. He would likely compete for the role, but would only be signed if he'd be willing to back-up should he lose the competition.

Jason Jones was still in St.Louis as of last night, having dinner with former Titans teammate, and newly signed Ram, CB Cortland Finnegan. The Rams are doing everything they can to sign him, and there are conflicting reports this morning that Jones was either on his way to Seattle or heading back to Ram headquarters in the morning before flying out to Seattle. It seems logical that the Rams convinced him to stop by one more time before leaving. It also seems logical that Jones and his agent are using the threat of this Seahawks visit to make the Rams desperate enough to propose a higher offer. Jones knows Fisher and the defense he runs. Until he leaves St. Louis, fans should expect that he will sign there. If he gets to Seattle, game on.

Chad Henne signed with Jacksonville. {Shrugs shoulders} Matt Flynn is supposed to visit Seattle today. Reports are that he is only being offered back-up money so far. Seattle would be silly not to make him an incentive-laden offer that starts at a level similar to Tarvaris Jackson, but escalates if he earns the starter role and other performance-related thresholds. Flynn would be signed here to compete for the starting role, not get it handed to him. That continues to be the reason he would be a more likely fit in Miami where he would take over for Matt Moore from the get-go. Cleveland may have cooled on Flynn because they believe Matt Hasselbeck will come available in the wake of a Peyton Manning signing. If that somehow does not play out, they could get back in on Flynn if he has not signed yet. It benefits no sides to in this to move quickly. It would be surprising if Flynn signs a deal before leaving Seattle.

John Carlson signed with Minnesota. Don't lose sleep over that. He was not a fit here due to his inferior blocking. The Vikings former tight end Visanthe Shiancoe is said to be coming in for a visit. He is 31. Getting a 31-year-old free agent is never appealing (see Gallery), and getting one at a position where you already have Zach Miller, Anthony McCoy and Cameron Morrah is a little puzzling. Darrell Bevel and Tarvaris Jackson obviously know him from the Vikings, so it may just be someone who can step in for a year and contribute. That takes snaps away from developing younger players, so it better be worth it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Seahawks Thoughts: Day One Of Free Agency

There is an old saying that movement does not equal progress. Free agency in the NFL proves that more than most things. Teams that make a lot of noise with big signings rarely are the ones making significant progress on the field. The Philadelphia Eagles were dubbed the "Dream Team" by some after their free agent spending spree last year, but the results did not match the hype. Meanwhile, a team like San Francisco let a number of players leave and signed only modest names, and nearly went to the Super Bowl. The Seahawks front office has been taking a discerning approach to free agency in their first few seasons. They will not turn up their noses at free agency, but there are certain qualifications they look for. Namely, they want someone young (25 is ideal, no older than 27 in most cases), affordable (i.e., not record-setting deals or big guaranteed dollars that gum up the salary cap), and with a high ceiling.

Players like Mario Williams just don't fit the profile for what the Seahawks target in free agency. If his price was far lower, you can bet they'd love to have him, but they will not move off their principles. Williams is said to have spent the evening with the Bills, who are talking about making him the highest paid defensive player in the league, with as much as $50M guaranteed. That will not happen with the Seahawks. Move on, folks.

Matt Flynn is reportedly negotiating with the Browns and the Dolphins (or not). Bidding wars on players of uncertain quality are also not something the Seahawks are likely to dive into. Flynn is going to get a premium starting quarterbacks salary. He becomes the person Schneider and Carroll pin their legacy to if they sign him to a contract like that. If you were in their shoes, would you be ready to take that plunge with Flynn? Staying with Tarvaris Jackson allows them to keep the door open. If Flynn was available for $5-7M/year, with around $10M guaranteed, the Seahawks might be interested. He'll get way more than that. Seahawks will look elsewhere.

The reports of Chad Henne making a visit is only mildly surprising. He fits the bill as a young enough player who has way more wins and experience than a guy like Flynn, but can be had for a back-ups salary, with low guaranteed money, or even no guaranteed money. There is little downside in bringing in a player like that to compete with Jackson, Portis and whoever the team adds in the draft. Many fans will freak out thinking this is how Carroll and Schneider plan on handling the quarterback position every year. It is not. This is a product of who is available, who they believe in, and confidence that they can compete for the division this season without upgrading the quarterback spot.

Re-signing Red Bryant was good news. I had predicted $9-13M in guaranteed money for him. He ended up with $14.5M. Interest from other teams was high enough to convince the Seattle front office that they would lose him if their offer did not increase. Bryant may have been able to get more money elsewhere, but clearly wanted to return. Both parties gave a little, and both should be pleased with the result. Bryant's health will be the only question about whether this becomes a good deal for the team. If he stays on the field, the Seahawks will be thrilled with this move.

DT Jason Jones is said to be in St. Louis meeting with his former coach Jeff Fisher. Reports have said his next visit will be to Seattle. Logic would lead one to believe Jones' agents are the ones broadcasting the planned Seattle trip so that they have leverage when talking to St. Louis. Jones knows Fisher, knows his system, knows he thrives in it, and knows the Rams have big dollars to spend. The most likely outcome is that Jones signs with St. Louis, but the ideal outcome is that he visits the Seahawks and gives the team an interior pass rush it simply has not had for some time. A few fans have questioned why the Seahawks would be more interested in a guy like Jones with only 15.5 career sacks than a guy like Williams. First, Seattle could sign Jones, a rush linebacker and draft a DE with their 1st round pick for less money than Williams. That group would almost certainly eclipse whatever production Williams could add, and for a longer stretch of time. Second, an interior lineman like Jones is not measured solely by sacks. The most common way a quarterback avoids pressure from edge rushers is to step forward into the pocket. A player that can push that pocket back into the quarterback's face may not get the sack, but can either drive the QB into a teammates arms or force an inaccurate pass. It is far more difficult to find an interior lineman who can collapse the pocket than an edge rusher. Jones would be a fantastic addition to the Seahawks, but there is a big hurdle in St. Louis that must be cleared first.

Seattle also re-signed LB Heath Farwell. He was a great special teams player, and is a good guy to have back on the roster.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Quarterback Solution Yet To Show Itself

John Schneider and Pete Carroll did not address the long-term quarterback situation in their first season. They did not address the long-term quarterback situation in their second season. It is looking more and more like they won't commit to a Quarterback of the Future (QBOTF) this season either, but will instead spend a few non-first round picks on project QBs that are long-shots to become franchise players. This front office has arguably aced almost every other personnel decision they have had to make thus far, but their legacy will still be defined by how they address this one position. It is usually easy to look backwards in situations like this and second-guess the decision makers, "If they had just drafted [Insert Guy Few People Wanted At The Time], we wouldn't be in this mess." Take a look at the choices they could have made. You might be surprised how few options they really had.

Start with the draft. Here are all the QBs drafted in 2010:

RDSEL #PLAYERPOSITIONSCHOOLTEAM
11Sam BradfordQBOklahomaSt. Louis Rams
125Tim TebowQBFloridaDenver Broncos
248Jimmy ClausenQBNotre DameCarolina Panthers
385Colt McCoyQBTexasCleveland Browns
4122Mike KafkaQBNorthwesternPhiladelphia Eagles
5155John SkeltonQBFordhamArizona Cardinals
5168Jonathan CromptonQBTennesseeSan Diego Chargers
6176Rusty SmithQBFlorida AtlanticTennessee Titans
6181Dan LeFevourQBCentral MichiganChicago Bears
6199Joe WebbQBAlabama-BirminghamMinnesota Vikings
6204Tony PikeQBCincinnatiCarolina Panthers
7209Levi BrownQBTroyBuffalo Bills
7239Sean CanfieldQBOregon StateNew Orleans Saints
7250Zac RobinsonQBOklahoma StateNew England Patriots


Source: http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/fulldraft?type=position

Colt McCoy would be preferable to the third round pick spent on Whitehurst, but not many Seahawks fans would be chomping at the bit to have McCoy as their QBOTF right now. A miss, but not a devastating one. Joe Webb would be a nice guy to have on the roster, especially at a 6th round value, but again, not devastating to miss on him. Time will tell, but that's a pretty crappy looking quarterback class. Even #1 overall pick, Sam Bradford has some questions to answer after a sub-par sophomore season.

Here are the quarterbacks drafted in 2011:

RDSEL #PLAYERPOSITIONSCHOOLTEAM
11Cam NewtonQBAuburnCarolina Panthers
18Jake LockerQBWashingtonTennessee Titans
110Blaine GabbertQBMissouriJacksonville Jaguars
112Christian PonderQBFlorida StateMinnesota Vikings
235Andy DaltonQBTexas ChristianCincinnati Bengals
236Colin KaepernickQBNevada-RenoSan Francisco 49ers
374Ryan MallettQBArkansasNew England Patriots
5135Ricky StanziQBIowaKansas City Chiefs
5152T.J YatesQBNorth CarolinaHouston Texans
5160Nathan EnderleQBIdahoChicago Bears
6180Tyrod TaylorQBVirginia TechBaltimore Ravens
7208Greg McElroyQBAlabamaNew York Jets


Could Seattle have traded up from #25 in the first round to get Jake Locker? Perhaps. Very few teams were convinced he was going to be a successful pro player heading into last year's draft. He showed flashes of a great future in the chances he was given last season. If there is any regret, it is that the Seahawks would have had that #8 pick if they had lost to the Rams and failed to make the playoffs. Five years from now, will you wish you had Locker or the Beast Quake memory? Either way, there is no blame that can be placed on the front office. Seattle could have made an attempt to trade up for Blaine Gabbert or Christian Ponder. Neither appear worth the capitol it would have taken to move up and nab them. Andy Dalton is possibly the most controversial. He was selected 10 picks after the Seahawks chose RT James Carpenter. Word is, the Seahawks tried desperately to trade back, possibly to select Dalton. They could not find the right deal, and stuck to their guns about drafting talent at the level they saw it. Dalton had a very promising first year, but there aren't many fans up-in-arms that the Seahawks don't have him at the helm. He has the look of a good enough quarterback, but will he ever be great? The jury is out on that one. It's too early to tell on the rest of the players. None of those players stand out a year later as major misses by the Seahawks.


Now, take a look at the free agent QBs available in 2010:


Derek Anderson
R.J. Archer
Richard Bartel
Charlie Batch
John Beck
Kyle Boller
Todd Bouman
Tom Brady
Tom Brandstater
Levi Brown
Mark Brunell
Marc Bulger
Jason Campbell
David Carr
Kellen Clemens
Brodie Croyle
Daunte Culpepper
Nate Davis
Jake Delhomme
A.J. Feeley
Charlie Frye
Jeff Garcia
Bruce Gradkowski
Quinn Gray
Chris Greisen
Rex Grossman
Matt Gutierrez
Gibran Hamdan
Graham Harrell
Tarvaris Jackson
Byron Leftwich
Matt Leinart
J.P. Losman
Josh McCown
Matt Moore
Matt Nichols
Keith Null
Kevin O'Connell
J.T. O'Sullivan
Kyle Orton
Jordan Palmer
Chad Pennington
Patrick Ramsey
Brett Ratliff
Chris Redman
Mike Reilly
Ben Roethlisberger
Jeff Rowe
JaMarcus Russell
D.J. Shockley
Chris Simms
Troy Smith
Jevan Snead
Jim Sorgi
Brian St. Pierre
Mike Teel
Charlie Whitehurst

Any huge misses in that group? No. The 2011 group is not much better.

Derek Anderson
McLeod Bethel-Thompson
Kyle Boller
Rhett Bomar
Todd Bouman
Tom Brandstater
Brian Brohm
Jarrett Brown
Mark Brunell
Marc Bulger
Sean Canfield
Hunter Cantwell
Rudy Carpenter
David Carr
Kellen Clemens
Kerry Collins
Todd Collins
Mike Coughlin
Jonathan Crompton
Eric Crouch
Brodie Croyle
Nate Davis
Jake Delhomme
Dennis Dixon
Trent Edwards
Brett Favre
Charlie Frye
Jeff Garcia
David Garrard
Bruce Gradkowski
Chris Greisen
Rex Grossman
Matt Gutierrez
Matt Gutierrez
Caleb Hanie
Graham Harrell
Matt Hasselbeck
Shaun Hill
Tarvaris Jackson
Dan LeFevour
Matt Leinart
Thaddeus Lewis
J.P. Losman
Peyton Manning
Josh McCown
Luke McCown
Donovan McNabb
Matt Moore
Keith Null
Kevin O'Connell
J.T. O'Sullivan
Dan Orlovsky
Kyle Orton
Jordan Palmer
Chad Pennington
Ryan Perrilloux
Tony Pike
Patrick Ramsey
Brett Ratliff
Scott Riddle
Zac Robinson
Sage Rosenfels
JaMarcus Russell
D.J. Shockley
Chris Simms
Alex Smith
Troy Smith
Jim Sorgi
Brian St. Pierre
Drew Stanton
Tyler Thigpen
Scott Tolzien
Michael Vick
Billy Volek
Seneca Wallace
Adam Weber
Charlie Whitehurst
Drew Willy
John Parker Wilson
Vince Young

Note that many of these players were not unrestricted free agents, but even if they were, how many do you wish the Seahawks future was tied to? 

Carroll and Schneider deserve a ton of scrutiny for how they are handling the QB situation. They have not invested in young players at the position outside of Josh Portis. If he hits, it won't be because they knew he could be the franchise quarterback. It will be lucky. If they knew he could be a great player, they would have drafted him. A number of factors have contributed to the situation the Seahawks now find themselves in relative to this all-important position, most have been out of the team's control. The patience for explanations like that will run extremely thin this year. You cannot win the raffle if you do not buy a ticket. Schneider needs to buy a few tickets this year. Settling for mediocrity will not fly much longer.
Quantcast