What next at quarterback?

April 30th, 2011 | Written by Rob Staton

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?

Here’s a report from Chris Mortensen via Cincy Jungle.com:

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.

53 Responses to “What next at quarterback?”

  1. Louis says:

    Rob,

    Do you think it is worth it to sign Palmer? I dont see many benefits to this, because he wont be our QB of the future, and we arent a Carson Palmer away from contending for the championship.

    If I was running the team, I would let Whitehurst start. If he does good, then we have our franchise QB. If he does bad, then we get a high draft pick, and we draft our franchise QB, as next year’s draft includes some potential star QBs such as Luck and Barkley.

    The worst thing for the Seahawks would be to get an aging QB, do decent, and then be left without a Qb when Carson’s skills continue to decline.

    What do you think?

    • Lance says:

      Either way I’m not sure Whitehurst should be considered a possible franchise QB. He’s 29 now and that is not the age when you want a franchise qb to begin starting, i think that boat has sailed.

      • plyka says:

        Steve Young’s boat hadn’t sailed yet…i believe he finally started his career in year 6 or 7 and one of the best franchise QBs of all time did pretty well for himself.

    • Rob says:

      I look at it two ways. First of all, unless you want to start a rookie QB you need a stop-gap. Palmer isn’t like Matt Hasselbeck in that when he gets to 34-35, he’s going to retire. If you want to build this team without regular top-10 picks, we’ll need to upgrade at QB and thats what Palmer will offer. I think if Whitehurst had any shot at being a franchise QB, the team would’ve handed him the starting job already.

      They need to do something and Palmer at a good price like this is a great deal for now. It buys time, which is needed because there are no long term options on the team.

      • johnny b says:

        if we get palmer, gallery, a playmaker, and get our running game going strong, we could be something in as little as 1 good draft. palmer knows the offense pete wants to run, he ran it very well. with some key additions to our defense we are a playoff team. we are in the nfc west btw and could be in the playoffs again this year. maybe tate with the right tutoring could be a playmaker like he was at ND, we need to get washington involved in the offense, but it all starts with the running game. the running game ruling the TOP and our defense is already better. palmer has the ability to hand off, hand off, hand off, then burn them deep when the safeties cheat up.

    • Dylan says:

      I’m not Rob, bit I agree. Palmer (in my humble opinion) is merely Hasselbeck 2.0. A veteran stopgap with an injury history. Trading for Palmer simply doesn’t fit with the philosophy of going bigger, stronger, & most importantly – younger. Why waste the picks on Palmer when we could go with Whitehurst, who’s already under contract for this year, save those picks, & draft a QB next year. Trading for Palmer seems like a waste of capitol & time.

    • Don says:

      I agree with Louis 100% ! Don’t get Palmer, he will only make the Seahawks over acheive again next year and we end up picking in the middle of the first round again. This just delays picking the franchise QB. Go with Whitehurst, you either have a good QB or you get into draft position to get one. Seahawks are not ready to “WIN NOW” , we need to get more players first.

      • Charlie says:

        I don’t get this philospohy at all. I would rather win games every year and slowly build up talent rather than lose for the sake of drafting high. As a fan, how can you support your team losing?

        • D says:

          Amen, winning is a habit, a issue of culture. Just ask Lombardi and anyone who’s played any team sports. A high draft pick produces one great player (at best!). Getting to the play offs makes 55 players a few percent better.

          • Lance says:

            I disagree for a few reasons.

            1- Players turnover dashes any winning creates an culture. You can’t have a winning culture with turnover of players. If winning does set some type of culture, why did we sign Housh to a big contract? Or trade for Lynch? Trade for CW (SD won, but he watched). Leon was another pickup fro a non-winning franchise at the time.

            2- Yes the draft is a gamble, but losing didn’t hurt Indy when they got Manning. There are certain teams that seem to just miss the playoffs and never get the top pick and do this for years and years when there are some teams that just flopped and got that franchise player to lead them to years of playoffs. Of course, you can’t have a Millen as your GM either or you just continue to draft top 3 for years.

            Not saying I am right and the opposition is wrong, just giving my viewpoint. And yes I played team sports my whole life and I hated to lose including in college (basketball not football).

          • FWBrodie says:

            One great player? Try 7 rounds worth of increased value.

  2. Kurt says:

    Even a casual fan would have to think the Hawks have a plan. Personally I think the Carson deal is done. Just waiting for FA to open and sign on the dotted line. With that said the NFL is great at smokescreens and have proven that time and time again. The Hawks have a plan. No team would go to training camp with just one QB thus there is a plan. Sonn it will be revealed. Good draft tho IMHO.

    • Rob says:

      They’ll keep their options open, which is why it’s not a nailed on certainty. But it’s very much an option and in the pipeline – and a strong possibility.

    • Don says:

      NOOO! A year from now, would you rather have Luck or Barkley on your roster or be satisfied with an 8-8 record and an older Palmer ? Look at it long term.

      • Charlie says:

        No, I can honestly say i’d rather keep winning then look for a quick fix by throwing a season.

      • Lance says:

        I’m with you Don on this. You don’t throw games of course, but building a .500 team with veterans nearing their end doesn’t set the franchise up for years of playoff runs. People here say winning builds a culture, but mediocrity breads mediocrity. We are not a Carson Palmer away from rebuilding this franchise. We still need a deep threat at WR, a true pass rusher, and a run stopper or two away from being competitive with the rest of the NFC (not NFC West. That is not the mark we want to shoot for)

        I liken it to patching a roof with blue tarp. It keeps the rain out, but it doesn’t fix the roof. You still will need a new roof down the road, it only delays the inevitable. If you get a Luck or Barkley, you are set for a decade potentially. If you get one of those guys and they don’t work out, you are still in the same place in 4 years as if you would be with a Palmer since he would be retired by then w/o any real championship runs (most likely).

  3. Ed says:

    As long as we didn’t draft dalton, I am fine. Resign hass, get palmer or let whitehurst play. I’m good with either one. Next year qb, but getting the foundation set (oline) was a priority. It’s what I wanted to do since last year, but everyone said don’t spend high picks on oline. Well, we did and I’m glad.

  4. PatrickH says:

    Once PC/JS passed on Kaepernick at 25 and Mallett at 57, I was resigned to the fact that the QB situation will not be addressed in this draft.

    I like the Carpenter pick, but not sure if Moffit is athletic enough to be a zone-blocking guard. I do like the DB picks and Kris Durham. A lot more talents for the special team at least.

    Still, in a draft where the defensive line is supposed to be the position with the most talented prospects, it’s somewhat disappointing that the Hawks didn’t get a single potential starter out of it.

  5. jhs says:

    Luck Barkly Folk Landry Prior I like this group better than this years class.

  6. Kurt says:

    Don’t know if anyone else saw it but King 5 reported that Hass wil not be back and that the Palmer deal is done. Don’t know how or when but usually local news don’t report these kinds of things unless they have some pretty good sources. Can’t find anything anywhere else at this time. Potentially a great move.

    • Kip Earlywine says:

      Wow. I don’t mean this as in any way a putdown for Rob’s reporting on the Palmer stuff, but the reality is, yes, we are just a blog, and people have to take what we say with a grain of salt. A news organization would never report something like that from reading it online alone- they would verify with at least 1 or 2 other sources, probably the team itself.

      Can’t wait for the lockout to be over.

    • Rob says:

      I hope this blog gets credit, because to me it doesn’t matter where the info comes from.

  7. Ryan says:

    The elephant in the room: If they want a franchise QB next year (Barkley, Luck, Jones), they’d better suck and finish bottom-5 (or bottom-10 at very least probably). Otherwise, what’s the plan? Middling 7-to-9 win seasons ad infinitum?

    • Rob says:

      I’m not sure any team ever plans to finish bottom five, how can you plan for that? There are ways of addressing the position without a top five pick, but certainly any move this year will not be with the plan to be so bad to have a shot at quarterbacks who won’t necessarily declare for the draft.

  8. akki says:

    It all depends. If Palmer is really available to the Seahawks, then there’s no need to draft a QB yet. I think it’s delusional to think that he’ll be rejuvenated to 2005-06 by leaving Cincy. But at age 32 he’s still good and can be that way for 3-4 years, and you’ll be better off than half the teams out there. If he’s in house, there’s no need to draft an heir apparent with a higher pick until next year or the year after. Late developmental guys are still ok, but once Kaepernick went early and you knew they wouldn’t get Mallett, there went any consideration to get one. I don’t like Stanzi or Enderle any better than undrafted guys like Devlin and Froman, for example.

    If there is no trade for Palmer in place, then I’ll wish that they’d have tried harder to get Kaepernick. The other top QB’s turned out to be unattainable.

    My main concern is that I attribute last year’s secondary issues as largely due to inconsistent pass rush, in turn due to lack of interior pressure. While the OL will be improved, the interior DL is not any better, and might be worse if Mebane leaves. And I don’t know if doing both in one draft was possible with the lack of ammo. Given the choice of one of the two, I work on the offensive line first because (a) you want them to have more time to become a cohesive units and (b) you clearly have to upgrade the starters on the OL, whereas you want rotational guys on the DL. But it’s just a tough situation overall with so many things to fix.

  9. Erik says:

    I would love to see the Seahawks pick up Vince Young. He had a 30-17 record with the Titans and I think he just was in a bad situation there. He still has a ton of upside IMO.

    • Dave says:

      Could be Pete’s new project like Williams was last year. It sucks that there’s no free agancy

  10. johnny b says:

    btw, this blog rocks. just found it recently. i live in montana and have no real football fans to talk seahawks with. its great to have people to talk football with that actually know what they are talking about and arent your packers, cowboys, denver fans go hawks

  11. Ralphy says:

    I have to say that I would love the Palmer signing. I think he has the potential to be a great QB for a few more years and I would prefer him over Hass.

    I am also thankful that the Hawks didn’t jump in on the QB run in the draft. I think they would have been reaching for the sake of trying to fix a position of need and that rarely works. There are a lot of teams that will be drafting early next year that think they solved their QB problems in this years draft meaning if the Hawks aren’t picking near the top (which they obviously could be anyway) it’s likely a QB will slide to them anyway.

    I know this years draft wasn’t the sexy picks but I am satisfied with what they did.

  12. TonyB says:

    Rob, what are your thoughts on both Gallery and Asomugha ending up following Cable up here? It just seems odd that we would not address the glaring need at CB with late round picks if we didn’t have a alternative plan..just like how we neglected the QB problem since they have Carson trade in the works…too far fetched?..

    • TonyB says:

      oops..i meant to say..we ONLY addressed the need with late round picks..I really thought we would pick higher caliber prospects..since I really can’t see us going in to the season with Jennings opposite Trufant again..and Thurmond doesn’t seem to be ready to start yet..

      • Rob says:

        I think the fact Cable listed the projected starting offensive line and left a hole at left guard was telling. It’s safe to assume they will add a veteran and Gallery is the obvious pairing just because of Cable.

        As for corner, they will have options. Joseph from Cincy is also a good corner on the market. Asomugha will cost top dollar and several teams will show interest.

        Of course none of these moves will be possible if the injuction eventually does force the elite-8 rule into effect which will prevent teams in the divisional round of the playoffs from signing free agents until they lose their own players.

        • FWBrodie says:

          I don’t really think Asomugha’s age lines up with the Seahawks’ timeline.

  13. Al says:

    Now that this draft has been and gone with no additions at Quarterback I believe that Palmer would a really smart pick up. I think he’d give us a bit more talent than Hasselbeck is now able to provide on a consistent basis. He’s also a few years younger, a tad more mobile and has already had productive experience with Carroll and one of his receivers, Mike WIlliams.

    It’s surely a given now that the Seahawks will look to spend a high draft pick on the position in 2012, or failing that, 2013 at the very latest. If Hasselbeck is resigned and keeps the starting job he’s unlikely to get any better as time goes on, meaning there may be pressure to start a rookie before long. If Whitehurst is the starter this year they’ll then have to resign him to a new contract for 2012 unless they want the rookie to start. As mentioned in the article, Palmer would probably give us 3 years and then want to retire, a perfect timescale as we could even potentially, at a squeeze, have another year before drafting a QB, and still give them time to develop before handing over the reins.

    Although I wouldn’t have a huge problem with it, my only slight concern would be that if the deal for Palmer was on the terms that Rob mentioned last week, a 5th and a conditional, the Seahawks might be forced to commit 3 x 2012 draft picks (or more if they have to trade up) to the QB position.

  14. Misfit74 says:

    Or, it could be Kolb.

  15. Jeriod Klovas says:

    I don’t see how Palmer is a fit in what Scheider/Carrol are looking for in their QB. He isn’t mobile, and is injury prone. He did absolutely nothing in Cincy, and he had weapons. He has declined considerably after his major knee injury. I wouldn’t even consider him a stopgap solution. I like Kolb, a little better, but he is unproven.

    • Rob says:

      Hasselbeck isn’t a great fit either, but if they’re looking for a stop gap what alternative is there? His numbers in Cincy are acceptable and you have to remember – he’s facing the Steelers and Ravens four times a season. There will not be a better transition guy to get you from now to the point when a younger guy is ready to take over.

  16. OlyFan says:

    Last season’s squad had flaws: poor running game, numerous injuries, & only one solid CB. Upgrade the OL, QB, the CB opposite Trufant, & keep players like BMW, Red Bryant, Cole, Obamanu, & Tatupu healthy for more of the year…

    The NFC West is again ripe for the taking. If we had beaten the Bears last year in the playoffs would anybody be singing these tank-the-season-for-Luck tunes? The squad will have some defincies but you have to play the games & “stranger things have happened.” Eight teams go to the playoffs, you only have to win three or four games in a row at the right time. Getting there is a huge part of the battle & the Seahawks can.

    Palmer, Asomuga, Gallery, improved health, & a few more small pieces this team could be a contender. Count on it. Even with a tougher schedule.

    Palmer with a sound running game & big targets could make a big difference. Hasselbeck only showed flashes of his old form last year while Palmer was throwing for 3900 yards. Imagine Lynch running behind a better line with a bigger threat to damage teams with the pass behind center. Think they stack the box as much then? Heck no.

  17. Chris says:

    I’m not sure exactly how contracts work, but it sounds like Palmer is going to retire from cincy regardless. He’s currently under contract and I assume he’ll have to take a big penalty for leaving while under contract. So why give Cincy anything? Can’t we just let him walk, offer to pay his fines for leaving while under contract, then acquire him without giving up any picks? I’m not sure how this works.

    • Rob says:

      That would be a very complex situation and filled with legal pitfalls. Not worth the hassle, considering the deal is such good value.

  18. Ed says:

    next years 5th that could turn to 3rd/4th if he balls for a qb that still has 4 yrs works for me. we have a young solid oline. that still gives us 2 years to get qb of future, which means next year we could go bpa at wr/rb/de instead having to go qb.

  19. Joe says:

    In my opinion Pete and John are doing it the right way. Build a young dominate OL before drafting our fanchise QB. It takes at least a couple of years to develop those guys. Just look at the Jets or Ravens. They were able to insert a rookie QB becasue of the strong OL that can run the ball and protect the QB. The hawks have too many whole to address. Com’on the hawks arent going to win the super-bowl next year. We need to develop and acquire young talent through the draft.

    Personally, I wouldn’t waste a pick for Palmer. The hawks already made a huge investment on Whitehurst. It cost us a third rd pick and several spots in the 2nd rd. Let me be clear Im not a huge Whitehurst fan. But the hawks gotta see what he can do before giving-up on him. The best case senario Whitehurst proves the haters wrong. And, he doesn’t turnout to the QB that we traded for we get to draft in the top 10 in 2012.

  20. Your Mom says:

    Is that confirmed Palmer is looking to move to the PNW? Or is that just rumors?

  21. [...] For the articles referred to in this commentary, click here and here. [...]

    • 200tang says:

      I’m surprised at how many of you are saying the only way to get a franchise QB is to be terrible and get a top 5 pick. Yes, that would be the easiest way to get one, but there are plenty of guys who have gone on to have success who were drafted toward the end of the draft, signed as an UDFA or even gone in the later half of the first round. For every good QB in the game today taken in the top 5 of their drafts I can name 2 guys who are every bit as good and taken later on. Romo (UDFA), Brady (6th), Roethlisberger (11th overall), Rodgers (24th overall), Freeman (17th overall), etc.. Again, I’m not saying that these guys are the ‘standard’, but you have to realize that there are just as many QBs who succeeded who weren’t taken by the teams that picked 1-3. So let’s lighten up about the Seahawks not purposefully throwing the season.

      • Lance says:

        I know what you are saying, but odds go up with an earlier pick in most cases. Your example of Brady, Rodgers, and Roethlisberger has a flaw in it and that is all those QB’s went to a franchise that were already successful when they drafted the QB’s in question. These were not rebuilding teams like Seattle. As far as Romo and Freeman go, they are nice QB’s who I believe have not yet won a playoff game. If they have, it is few and far between.

        Not saying it can’t happen, because you are correct that it can, but I will take a Manning or Elway type any day for a rebuilding team. For a playoff franchise, I would take a late flyer on just about any QB because you have nothing to lose.

        Players won’t throw a season so we won’t have to worry about that. Playing a guy like CW instead of a healthy MH in a win or out game can help your cause if your cause is to get a better pick. It just didn’t work the way PC and JS had planned…my belief.

  22. [...] is what I wrote on the situation originally – article one, article two. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is one of the few national journalists who has been willing to [...]

  23. [...] On April 26th we reported information that a trade between the Seattle Seahawks and the Cincinnati Bengals for quarterback Carson Palmer was in the pipeline. Some people disputed that information on the basis that Bengals owner Mike Brown wouldn’t be prepared to make a deal, an issue I addressed here and here. [...]