John Clayton reported today that the Seahawks may not even make an offer to Matt Hasselbeck after the lockout and have their sights on Tavaris Jackson. I’m not one to be all that reactionary to these things, but since Jackson’s name has been brought up multiple times, it’s worth exploring what that move would look like.
First off, let’s get to know Jackson as a QB. He is 28 years old, 6’2″ tall and 225lbs.He has started 20 games in his career and his team is 10-10 in those games. He has a career QB rating of 76.6. He started a career-high 12 games in 2007 and led his team to an 8-4 record in those games (the team finished 8-8 for the season). In 2008, he started five games and was 2-3, while Gus Frerotte was 8-3. The discrepancy between a 37-year-old veteran QB in Frerotte and Jackson likely made the Vikings that much more interested in bringing a guy like Brett Favre in 2009. Jackson did not start a game in 2009 and only got one start in 2010. He has 24 TDs and 22 INTs in his career, a completion % under 60% and a Whitehurst-like 6.6 yards/attempt.
There is little to see in those numbers that would have anyone targeting Jackson as a franchise QB. His most appealing traits to a team like Seattle are that he know’s Darrell Bevell’s system, is young, and would be cheap. The cynical reaction would be that the Seahawks front office is bringing in a QB to compete with Charlie Whitehurst that he actually has a chance to beat. The team has to know Whitehurst has no chance of beating out Hasselbeck this year.
Let’s try a less cynical perspective. Whitehurst is on the last year of his contract. The Seahawks are undoubtedly going to draft a QB in the first round next year that will be the guy Carroll and Schneider build around. They have already stated multiple times that they believe in having a QB develop behind a veteran for a few years instead of throwing them into the fire. That means the team needs a veteran starter next year. They may not want to lock up too much money in the QB position for the next two years to plug holes elsewhere, knowing that the guy they invest in will not be the long-term answer. A player like Carson Palmer has at least 2-3 years left and would be expensive. Hasselbeck may not stay healthy long enough to count on him for two seasons, leading them to have to invest more money in another stop-gap quarterback. Signing Jackson to a modest two year deal with a team option for a third gives them a guy to compete with Whitehurst this season, and a guy who can either start or backup the next couple of years. He knows the offense, and can help bring a rookie along.
There is logic in there.It just so happens to be logic I don’t agree with. Hasselbeck gives the team a much better chance to compete this year and next while also bringing along the rookie they draft and allowing him to retire a Seahawk. If the Jackson signing happens, the NFC West QBOTF situation will be: Sam Bradford (STL), Colin Kaepernick (SF), Kevin Kolb (if the rumors are true ARZ), Whitehurst/Jackson (SEA). Yikes.
The truth will be revealed soon enough, but the resolution of the QB situation is one item I’m beginning to dread more than anticipate.