The 2011 NFL draft is in the books and the Seahawks did it their way. With an element of the unknown and a distinct lack of thrills, Seattle added several pieces in the latest chapter of Pete Carroll’s rebuild.
Nine players were taken, starting with James Carpenter in round one. My final mock had some significant flaws but I can’t see anyone who had the Alabama offensive lineman placed comfortably in the mid-20′s. He consistently stood out for Alabama as the team’s starting left tackle and jumped off the screen. Regular visitors will have noticed my high regard for Carpenter.
John Moffitt (OG), K.J. Wright (LB), Kris Durham (WR), Richard Sherman (CB), Mark Legree (FS), Byron Maxwell (CB), Lazarius Levingston (DT) and Malcolm Smith (LB) were added in the subsequent rounds.
Yet one key position was surprisingly ignored.
It’s now six years since the Seahawks drafted a quarterback in the first four rounds (David Greene, 2005 being the last – in round three). By the time we’re ready for the 2012 draft it’ll be seven years. Of course the Seahawks have invested stock in Charlie Whitehurst, but rest assured if the team had any confidence in his ability to start, it would’ve been announced by now. He has one year left on a very expensive contract and is approaching 30. It’s not harsh to suggest this was a calculated gamble that isn’t going to work out.
I understand why the current front office have not added a quarterback. Last year’s draft offered slim pickings at the position and selecting so late in round one this week put the Seahawks in a position where reaching was the only solution. They passed on Ryan Mallett twice, yet nobody can complain considering his gigantic slide into round three.
The situation though, as a complete entity, is stunning. How can a team drift into the position it’s in at quarterback? Quarterback?Of all the positions. You know Matt Hasselbeck is approaching the end of his career and if he starts in 2011 – he’ll be the oldest starting quarterback in the league. You know he’s going to be a free agent this year and with the greatest respect to one of Seattle’s favorite sons, his performance has declined.
With no young quarterback waiting in the wings, the Seahawks’ greatest challenge is now to complete a deal for their next starting quarterback. Trent Dilfer claimed today the team won’t re-sign Matt Hasselbeck. My source said it’s still a possibility and only a disagreement on guaranteed money prevented any chance of a short term extension before the lockout. With so many teams addressing the quarterback position during the draft in round one, this surely narrows Hasselbeck’s bargaining position? Teams are not going to sign your Jake Locker’s, Christian Ponder’s and Cam Newton’s to blockbuster deals and still spend premium dollar on a two year contract for a 36-year old.
Indeed Hasselbeck’s options are fairly limited at this stage, perhaps exclusively to the NFC West. I’m not even sure the likes of Arizona and San Francisco would show much interest. Would a team like Washington show interest as a stop-gap option? If he lowers his demands, it increases the likelihood that he could return to the Seahawks.
I reported on this site last week that a deal for Carson Palmer is in the pipeline with Cincinnati receiving a deal worth a 5th rounder and a conditional pick. The drafting of Andy Dalton confirms the Bengals are ready to move on. Although people are quick to point to Mike Brown’s defiance to force Palmer into retirement, it’s important to remember a few things:
- The Bengals are preparing to start with Andy Dalton and want to move on. They don’t want any controversy with Palmer potentially turning up to camp having been denied a trade, earning a premium salary and causing a major distraction. It’s not as simple as Palmer arriving at camp and suddenly becoming the starter again, with everyone happy. Carson Palmer can make life very difficult (and expensive) for Cincinnati and it’d be a fruitless battle for the Bengals having firmly set their new direction during the draft.
- Palmer is willing to re-negotiate his contract and take a deal worth less than the one team Hasselbeck is asking for. Money is not dictating any part of Palmer’s life at this stage. He is currently in the process of arranging a permanent move to the pacific north west for family purposes. He will move there either as a retired ex-player or as a Seattle Seahawk. He won’t consider any other team, which will prevent a bidding war. Again, Mike Brown may have a reputation as a man not to be dictated too, but he ‘gets’ this situation. The Seahawks are no threat to the Bengals in the NFC West, save for one game in 2011. Why not receive some compensation and avoid any distraction?
Bengals owner and president Mike Brown has said he will not trade Palmer, but sources say he may consider it if the team secures a quarterback and gets a favorable trade offer. Several teams such as the Raiders, 49ers, Seahawks, Cardinals and Dolphins are among those that could be interested in the veteran, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2003 draft.
Quarterback secured, Bengals now considering it.
Things can change quickly in this deal. Already the Seahawks and Bengals have gone from talking about potential first round compensation to a much cheaper arrangement. I’m not suggesting a deal is anything close to a ‘lock’, but it’s very much on the table. The Seahawks’ investment in the offensive line was part one of an offensive remake which will include a veteran quarterback addition. It could be Hasselbeck, back on a two-year deal. It could be Palmer.
Rest assured the Seahawks’ lack of investment in a quarterback during the draft wasn’t without a plan. This was a no thrills draft, but the fireworks will begin whenever free agency opens for business.