This is a guest article written by Curtis Allen…

With several quarterbacks available in this draft and the Seahawks having two quarterbacks on the roster who have had varying degrees of NFL success, there has been much discussion about whether they should break their draft cycle habit and seriously invest in the quarterback position for the first time since they drafted Russell Wilson in 2012.

It would be beneficial to explore both sides of this question as objectively as possible.

Why The Seahawks Should Not Draft a Quarterback

1-They have several long-term needs at other positions

The new administration has done an admirable job of filling the holes on the roster for this season.  However, many of the moves are merely temporary fixes.  Thankfully, many of the positions the Seahawks need to address have deep pools of prospects available in this year’s draft.  There is agreeable symmetry.

The Offensive Line is where the most questions are.  Olu Oluwatimi and Anthony Bradford have not yet established themselves as long-term options.  There are injury concerns about Abe Lucas.  Nobody knows who the starting Left Guard will be at this point.

Thankfully, this draft is the richest in recent memory for Offensive Line picks, something that should not be taken for granted.  There is quality all along the line available for the team to choose from.

Tyler Lockett is currently scheduled for a $31 million cap hit in 2025 and may choose to retire next year.  Noah Fant is the only contracted Tight End for 2025.

This draft is rich in Wide Receiver prospects and there are some Tight Ends who could match up very nicely with the team’s style of play.

On the Defensive Line, Jarran Reed and Jonathan Hankins are free agents next year and are in their 30’s.  Dre’Mont Jones is an open question and may not be on the team next year.  Mike Morris and Cameron Young are still mostly unknowns.  As we all know, investment along the Defensive Line is always a priority.

There is depth at the interior spot in this draft, something that is not a common occurrence.  Byron Murphy, T’vondre Sweat, Darius Robinson, Mekhi Wingo and Ruke Orhorhoro are among several tempting targets to pair with Leonard Williams.

In the pass rush spot, the team is well-provisioned — but they may not be able to say no if someone like Chop Robinson or Jared Verse is there at pick 16.

The Safety position has several intriguing prospects in the draft and the team only has Rayshawn Jenkins and Jerrick Reed contracted for 2025.

At the Inside Linebacker spot, the team has only Drake Thomas contracted in 2025.  Enough said.

They have so many needs, they could be forgiven for avoiding the Quarterback position in this draft and building their roster base with a new administration entering their first season.

In fact, it might play to their advantage to have a Quarterback or two sitting there at pick 16.  Some starry-eyed team might be talked into giving up more than they should to get their preferred target and the Seahawks could give their roster reset a charge by trading down and tapping into the depth of this draft at several positions.

2-They Have Already “Drafted” a Quarterback (technically)

By swapping picks with Washington to acquire Sam Howell, it could be argued they have already made their investment in the Quarterback position for the offseason.

Nobody should think of Howell as the long-term solution — but there are several intriguing reasons to consider him a prospect for the team.

As several outlets have noted, Howell is the same age as some of the Quarterbacks entering the draft but has two seasons of NFL experience already.  With eighteen career starts, he has a leg up on those prospects.

Backup Quarterbacks at his age coming off a 17-start, 3900-yard, 21-Touchdown season are not readily available for a simple mid-round pick.

Not to be ignored is that Howell threw 21 Interceptions and took 65 Sacks for Washington last year.

It is fair to say a good chunk of those sacks were Howell’s doing.  Washington’s Offensive Line performed adequately, and Howell frequently suffered from the classic ‘rookie trying to do too much’ syndrome.

It is worth noting that 40 of those sacks came in the first seven games of Howell’s season, starts 2-8 of his NFL career (a crazy average of 5.7 sacks per game).  The final 10 games of the season saw Howell’s rate drop to a more earthly 2.5 sacks per game.

Something else needs to be said, though:  The Commanders ran out by far the most lopsided run/pass split in the NFL last year, with a 34/66 split.

Just for reference, the next highest split came from Cincinnati at 36.5/63.5, a 2.5% swing, and only five other franchises were above 60% passing.

The point being, Eric Bienemy and Ron Rivera intentionally game-planned to place their young Quarterback in front of the cannons and asked him to advance while dodging live fire like no other Quarterback in the NFL.

While still learning the position!

And Howell did it — and lived to tell the tale.

As a thought experiment, ask yourself how, say, Michael Penix Jr, J.J. McCarthy or Drake Maye would have done in Year Two of their NFL careers with that kind of setup?

That has got to account for something.  To take that kind of beating and keep going.  When John Schneider says the team got a gamer in Howell, you can take that to the bank.

Is Howell the long-term future at the position for the Seahawks?  Possibly.

At the very least, his acquisition demonstrates a step in the right direction of addressing the position.  And it may be the only one the Seahawks intend to make this year.

3-Geno Smith Deserves a Chance to Work with This New Regime

2023 was not a great year for Smith.  His numbers were a sharp decline from the previous year.

A good portion of his regression could be directly apportioned to the coaching staff.  There is an obvious connection between the product on the field last year and the Seahawks ownership choosing to move in a different direction this offseason.

First, the low-hanging fruit.  The defense the team rolled out was very poor.  They were #25 in the NFL in Points Allowed and #31 in Rushing Yards Allowed.  That alone puts the offense under enormous strain.

On the other side of the ball, we have the Seahawks’ running game.  This is one of the most under-the-radar aspects about the 2023 team.  Their average dropped from 4.8 yards per carry in 2022 (#7 overall) to 4.1 yards per carry (#16 overall) last season.

Both factors conspired to make the Seahawks the worst team in the NFL in terms of time of possession.  Seriously – the bottom half the league averaged 28-29 minutes per game.  The Seahawks averaged 26.5 minutes per game.  They were the worst by a wide margin.

That means the Seahawks constantly asked Smith to not only be highly effective to keep up with the other team’s offense, but to be highly efficient at the same time, knowing the offense would not get the ball often or with much clock.

Add to that, their game-planning was egregiously bad at times, further hamstringing Smith in the performance of his duties.

All this before we talk about the team going stretches of the season without their starting Offensive Tackles.

One of the biggest effects on Smith’s play was his explosive ability diminished in dramatic fashion last year.

In 2022 he had 18 touchdown passes that were 15 yards or longer.  In 2023?  He only had six.

How would, say, Will Levis or C.J. Stroud have performed for the Seahawks in 2023 with those factors working against them?

There is an argument to be made that stabilizing the defense and a renewed focus on the running game would give Smith many more chances to be successful in 2024.

He has a very workable cap hit in 2024, with a current number of $26.4 million.  For 2025, his current cap hit is $38.5 million.  (Keep in mind that $15 million of escalators are available to him with an improved performance in 2024.)

If the Seahawks want to extend Smith, they can pick up almost $19 million of cap room in 2025.  Cap hits of $26.4 million in 2024 (age 34), $19.5 million in 2025 (age 35) and say a $30-35 million number in 2026 (age 36) are easily workable for both Smith and the Seahawks.

Why the Seahawks Should Draft a Quarterback

1-The Priority of the Position

If you do not have a top-five NFL Quarterback, you always need to be on the lookout for one.

John Schneider made comments after the draft last year about acquiring a Quarterback.  He has followed that up by making many comments this offseason about how the Seahawks have neglected the position when it comes to the draft.

He is aware of their history.

We talked above about all their other roster needs.  Those needs are real.  And some of them are acute.  But a top Quarterback comes along so rarely, if you do not have one, it should be always be considered the most important need.

If there is a Quarterback the Seahawks rate available at pick #16 (or if they can work out a reasonable trade up), they are almost duty-bound to select him.

There might be another reason to draft a Quarterback that is unique to the Seahawks:

Their coaching staff is set up very, very well to take advantage of the depth in this draft and free agent market.

Mike Macdonald has demonstrated an ability to develop players on defense that do not cost the team a premium in draft capital or salary cap space.  He has an energetic staff on defense, ready to implement his vision and several talented veteran players already at his disposal.

On the offensive side of the ball, Ryan Grubb and Scott Huff will bring a depth of knowledge not unlike Pete Carroll did when he first came to the Seahawks from USC.  Being involved in recruiting, playing with and against the top college talent, and scouting opposition players to prepare to win games at the highest level gives them a leg up like no other team has.

It is very possible that we see a Seahawks team that can make good use of this brief window to add late-round picks and undrafted free agents that can provide an impact.

That being the case, they could easily reason that they can afford to skip needy areas early in the draft in favor of a big-ticket item like a Quarterback.

2-The Timeline of this Team Strongly Warrants Selecting a Quarterback

The Seahawks are bringing in whole new systems on both sides of the ball.  That fact alone warrants a ‘honeymoon season’ on expectations to get the entire organization aligned.

Both Schneider and Macdonald have demonstrated with their words and their attendance (or lack thereof) at functions like the Scouting Combine and Pro Days that they are extremely busy putting their imprint on this organization.

It is already time for their first actual football activity starting Monday.  There they will start laying the foundation for how they practice, what the organization expects of their players and installing the basic tenets of their offense and defense on the practice field.

While the roster is by no means complete, they have several good pieces that can ease this transition in 2024 and be ready in 2025 or 2026 to make a deep playoff run.

Geno Smith will be 35-36 around the time this team is ready to seriously compete.  The rising cap cost and the question of a performance drop-off as he ages must be considered.  That is not a popular notion among fans but given the dramatic impact on team success the Quarterback has, I can guarantee you it is being discussed inside Seahawk Headquarters.

A Quarterback drafted in 2024 who has been groomed for a season – or has even perhaps won the job as a rookie like Russell Wilson did – would be ideally placed to rapidly rise just as this team is hitting its stride on both sides of the ball.  The Seahawks would have enough cap room to both pay their core players acquired in the 2022 and 2023 drafts and add some premier talent from the market.

As an aside, to me this is why Michael Penix Jr is an intriguing prospect for the Seahawks to consider if he is available to them.  He has the arm strength, athletic ability and leadership traits you want in a Quarterback in excess.

But Penix might be perfectly placed to be a unique draft pick in recent NFL history, as a player who:

— Would have time to develop if that is what the Seahawks decide is needed.  Geno Smith could guide this team, Sam Howell could be the primary backup, and Penix can just focus on learning the nuances of the NFL and eventually emerge after a period like Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love or Patrick Mahomes did.

— Is not starting out on a team with expansion-level talent.  He would have three fantastic Wide Receivers, two bookend Offensive Tackles, a top Tight End and three Running Backs who can be pressure-release valves as he adjusts to the game.  Not to mention an improved defense.

— Would step into an offensive system he has lived and breathed for the last two years.  He has strong relationships with Grubb and Huff.  He would know their terminology, how they think, how they relate to their players and have a leg up like no other rookie would have.  No doubt Grubb will not implement the exact same offense in the NFL that he ran at Washington.  Yet Penix has a knowledge base to work from that no one else on the offense will.  He might be a team leader from Day One, schooling teammates in the system and acting as a facilitator between the players and coaches.

There is more than the usual incentive for the Seahawks to consider Penix.

3-The Value Proposition

Hitting on a Quarterback on a rookie contract is the best and easiest way to substantially increase your viability as a Super Bowl contender.

The Seahawks practically invented this method, paying Russell Wilson $300,000 a year and building around him.

Look at what the Houston Texans have done by hitting on a rookie Quarterback and having an excellent Defensive Head Coach.  The Seahawks could be even better-placed to replicate that model, as they are not starting with a team that has ‘expansion-plus’ level roster talent that the Texans did.

The 2025 salary cap situation is already very, very tight for the Seahawks and they will need to create room to continue progressing.  Shedding a veteran Quarterback’s salary is a very big way to do that.

4-The Current Quarterbacks on the Roster Have a Ceiling

We can all agree that for Sam Howell to become a Super Bowl-winning Quarterback, a dramatic and unexpected improvement will need to happen.

What about Geno Smith?  What is his ceiling?

Most agree that he slots in at about the #10-15 Quarterback in the NFL.

Is that good enough to get the Seahawks to a Championship?  Honestly.

Championship-caliber Quarterbacks elevate their teams in a way that others cannot.   

When the defense is being trampled.  When the offensive line is leaky and the running game is not clicking.  When they’ve thrown a couple of poor interceptions.  When they’re on the road in a tough environment and it is cold and raining.

Top Quarterbacks buckle down, command the game and will their teams to victory more often than not.

Brass tacks:  Is Geno Smith that kind of Quarterback?

He is a good Quarterback.  At times, a very good Quarterback.

But we frequently see ‘Goldilocks’ type of play from Smith.

He is very good if the offensive line is having a good day.  If the defense makes stops and does not let the team get too far behind.  If the running game is more than just an attempt to keep defenders honest.

If their safety takes a ball off his forehead and it comes down in the arms of the good guys.

Then we get the ‘very good’ version of Smith.  But otherwise, it is hard to depend on him to overcome big obstacles.

John Schneider has acknowledged this in his words this offseason.  Asked to assess Smith’s play as quarterback, he pointed out he has had good halves and not-good halves in each of the last two seasons.

Schneider and Macdonald also frequently pivoted to talking up Drew Lock when asked about the Quarterback position from Day One, and had steadfastly refused to openly say that Smith is their starting Quarterback for 2024 until very recently.

These are not the comments of a leadership team that believes Smith is The Guy to elevate them to a championship.

One path they could pursue is to focus intently on building up every other spot on the roster to make everything just right for Smith to succeed.  But at that point, would it be too late because Smith has aged out of the game and is carrying a prohibitively expensive cap number?

If the answer to these concerns leans more toward yes than no, the Seahawks need to commit to drafting a Quarterback.  The downside of taking that chance cannot outweigh the upside of staying with the familiar and comfortable if that choice cannot take them where they want to go.


What do you think?  Should the Seahawks draft a Quarterback this year or not? Have your say in the comments section.