Guest Blogger: Looking at the veteran QB options

Written by Glen Peer
Holding the 25th pick in the draft, the amount of QB needy teams drafting ahead of the Seahawks, and the unsettled CBA leaves no real clear picture of how the Seahawks QB situation will work out for the 2011 season.  QB is certainly a huge area of need for this franchise, and needs to be addressed but I don’t think its as simple as saying “take a QB with the 1st pick” and let him figure it out.

Via Free Agency

First we all must understand that as of right now Free Agency will not exist, as we all have come to know it.  With the owners opting out of the current CBA and no new one in place starting March 4th there will be no player trades, or contracts signed until it is resolved.  This leaves teams in a very precarious position since typically they have the free agency period to sign players in areas of need and then draft based on areas of need knowing what players they will enter OTAs and training camp based on free agency activity.  With no CBA the draft will take place before free agents are allowed to sign with teams.

Matthew Hasselbeck – 170 games – 2572/4279 (60.1%) for 29579 yards – 176 TD 128 INT – QB Rating 82.2

After his Wild Card weekend performance we are right back to old faithful (or unfaithful depending on your opinion of Hasselbeck at age 35).  Pete Carroll openly admitted that he wants Matthew back next season.  Unless the Seahawk’s upgrade with a guy like Kolb (who I don’t think can be had) I believe this makes the most sense.  The problem will arise when other QB needy teams (San Francisco, Carolina and Cleveland to name a few) may offer Hasselbeck more money to be the starter. 

Carroll’s philosophy of “Always Compete” leads me to believe that if Hasselbeck comes back it will be knowing that he is competing for the starting job, and not just handed it.  Say for example Hasselbeck resigns, Charlie Whitehurst’s 2nd year of his contract is picked up (at this time it is not guaranteed), and Ryan Mallett were drafted in the late first round an open competition would be held for the starting job.  This is the scenario I have been hoping for all season (feel free to replace Jake Locker, any another potential rookie QB for Ryan Mallett, or younger FA QB) for a couple reasons.  First, it keeps continuity at the most important position, it would be Hasselbeck and Whitehurt’s second year in the system and would bring in a younger QB to learn from 2 veterans for at least a year.  Second, and I say this never personally interacting with Hasselbeck, but he really seems like the type of veteran that would help a younger QB grow into the position which I think is important at the QB position.  To have a proven guy teaching a younger QB could prove to be invaluable down the road.  Certainly the younger QB would have to want to be shown the ropes for that to come to fruition though.  As I’ve outlined before the Seahawks don’t have the talent yet to throw a young QB in as the starter where he will thrive similar to what we’ve seen in Tampa Bay, Baltimore, and Atlanta.

Vince Young – 54 games – 698/1190 (57.9%)  for 8098 yards – 42 TD 42 INT – QB Rating 75.7

Recently Bud Adams released a statement saying the team will be moving on from Vince Young.  Adams public acknowledgement that Young will not be part of the team next year makes it hard to believe that anyone would trade for him and give up draft picks when they know he will eventually be released.  Young has had numerous off field issues since entering the NFL as the #3 overall pick in 2006.  I personally view Young as a high risk high reward type of veteran.  He has shown the skills to be successful on Sunday’s but much of that is overshadowed by his off field antics.  I do not think Young would be a terrible option to bring in for a look (similar to the Lendale White situation early last year) but that would only be possible if other teams were to value him higher. 

Below is a list of other, younger, noteworthy QBs that will be free agents (whenever that happens based on the current CBA issue is resolved):

-Alex Smith
-Tyler Thigpen
-Tavaris Jackson
-Dennis Dixon

Via Trade

Kevin Kolb – 19 games played (6 starts)- 194/319 (60.8%) for 2,082 yds – 11 TD 14 INT – QB Rating 73.2

Kolb at 26 years old and four years experience is arguably the most coveted back up in the league heading into the off-season.  The biggest question is whether Andy Reid would trade him with the amount of punishment Mike Vick takes.  Reid is a disciple of Mike Holmgren who traded Marc Brunnel, Matt Hasselbeck and Aaron Brooks when he had starter Brett Favre on the roster as the starter.  Reid personally traded former franchise QB Donovon McNabb when he handed the keys over to Kevin Kolb last off season.  Kolb had two terrific starts in 2009 in which he became the 1st player to throw for 300 yards in his first two starts. 

The difficulty in projecting Kolb what it will take to obtain him.  Will Andy Reid require more because the serious chance Mike Vick could be hurt with the amount of running and punishment he takes?  Its hard to tell but it will be at least what Matt Schaub and Matt Cassel were traded for.  Below are those two deals:

Matt Schaub – Traded 2007 from Atlanta to Houston – Both teams swapped 1st round picks in the 2007 draft (Atlanta moved up from 10 to 8), and Houston also gave up 2nd round picks in 2007, & 2008.

Matt Cassel – Traded 2009 from New England to Kansas City –  Kansas City sent a 2nd round pick for Cassel, and 12-year veteran LB Mike Vrable.  This was the first major move for Scott Pioli, former New England executive, as Kansas City’s new GM.

My gut tells me it will take at least a 1st round pick this year, along with possibly a 2-7th rd pick or picks, plus a 2nd or 3rd round pick next year at the minimum.  Last year we saw John Schneider and Pete Carroll trade picks along with players, but with no CBA in place its unlikely there will be the inclusion of players in draft day trades.

Kyle Orton – 62 games played – 1134/1952 (58.1%) for 12,774 yds – 71 TD 41 INT – QB Rating 79.6

Orton is 28 years old and has five years experience in the league with Chicago and Denver.  Orton last year signed a one-year extension with the Broncos.  Since the extension was signed, head coach Josh McDaniel’s was fired and Tim Tebow showed decent progress in his final three starts.  John Elway has been hired to help turn the team around and was had good things to say about Tebow being part of the Broncos going forward.  Even with a larger sample size and better numbers to support Orton, he maybe cheaper to obtain than Kolb.  We also don’t know how Elway (who has final say on all decisions with in the Broncos) will run this franchise.  From a scheme perspective he may not be the ideal fit for Seattle but Pete Carroll has shown the ability to not force players into roles, but rather tailor the scheme towards players strengths.  

Matt Flynn – 14 games played (1 start) – 49/83 (59.0%) for 497 yards – 3 TD 3 INT – QB Rating 73.2

I put Matt Flynn on this list for two reasons.  First, his tie to John Schneider – who was part of the Green Bay front office who drafted him – and second his great game at New England late this season.  With a full week to prepare as the #1 starter Flynn posted a 100.2 QB rating going 24/37 for 3 TDs, 1 INT and narrowly lost to New England 27-31 on the road.  Certainly that game will increase the stock of Flynn, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he wasn’t seriously on Schneider’s radar since he swapped 2nd rd picks last year with San Diego and gave up a 3rd round pick this year for Charlie Whitehurst who had zero starts, let alone any pass attempts in the NFL.  Flynn to me becomes even more intriguing after Matthew Hasselbeck’s big day in on Wild Card weekend vs. the Saints.  Flynn is still young enough to bring over as a back up for a year to learn the offense and hone his skills, but has also shown the ability to step in as the starter if needed. This could possibly be the truest QB competition heading into next season.


  1. Scott

    Sign me up for Matt Flynn! Between the anticipated cost, potential, experience (vs. a rookie), and youth he seems like the perfect combo for us to target. I’m not sold on Kolb’s skills NOR am I a fan of paying the cost it would take to land him. Orton is fine, but no “upside” to him. You know what you get with him….which isn’t a bad thing, but I’d prefer someone much like Hasselbeck when we got him from GB. Flynn seems to fit perfectly. And we could still use our 1st rounder to upgrade the DL, CB, or WR spot!

  2. kevin mullen

    Im sorry, but with a return to the Holmgren branch of the WCO, we’d need a smart, disciplined QB and Vince Young is not that. Not discounting VY’s athletic ability but if Bevell’s offense is close to Holmgren’s, precision and timing is the most important aspect of that offense, and Hasselbeck probably has the leg up (knowledge-wise) on most of these FA QB’s.

    Kolb would be interesting if he were available via trade but the price will be way high, not sure on how the ‘Hawks can afford to trade for him with the amount of needs we have across the board. Same with Flynn, why trade for another backup when we already did that with Whitehurst? They’re both (Whitehurst & Flynn) relatively unkown commodities with their limited starts.

    I say we stay the course with Hass and Whithurst for at least another year and draft talent around them for 2011.

    • Rob

      I think it’s a major assumption (mainly via the media) that we are going towards anything like the Holmgren branch of the WCO. Simply put – that is not going to happen. Firstly, the offense we are intending to run (and were supposed to in 2010) was not Bates’ per se, rather Carroll’s. He knows what he wants – it’s a ZBS running game that will open up the pass. Vertical shots down field. Big, fast receivers. Mobile quarterback who can help the running game with PA and bootlegs and make plays on the ground himself. That offense lends itself better to a Vince Young type than any of the other names mentioned. Even so – I don’t see this team bringing in Vince Young this off season.

      Secondly – Darrell Bevell may have started his career at Green Bay when Holmgren is there – but it means absolutely nothing with regard to the offense he will look to run. He isn’t tied to Holmgren. He’s spent much more considerable time with Brad Childress, who is a descendant of Andy Reid at Philly. The Eagles do not run a Holmgren WCO – they have extreme downfield playmakers, mobile QB’s (McNabb, Kolb, Vick) and speedy running backs who are good pass catchers. They are a quick strike offense. In Minnesota, there were greater leanings towards the run largely because they had Hutchinson and the best running back in the NFL. The offense in Minnesota – were Bevell spent five years – looked nothing like the Holmgren offense. They drafted QB’s like Tavaris Jackson – not a Holmgren type QB. They started a QB at the end of the year when DB was calling plays (Webb) that was an athlete type QB.

      Anyone thinking that the appointment of Darrell Bevell means a return to the Holmgren type WCO is wrong. It’s an assumption by the media based around Bevell’s time in Green Bay and the fact Carroll has backed Hasselbeck to stay with the team if they can get the right deal done. In reality, Bevell is coming here to run the offense PC wants to run which will eventually involve a much more mobile QB than Hasselbeck, Flynn or anyone of that ilk.

      • kevin mullen

        I’m not saying Bevell is Holmgren 2.0 nor a Holmgren WCO purist but there is some truth to the lineage of that tree. Holmgren to Reid to Chilldress to Bevell, far different than the Shanahan branch but still under the same general offense. Yes, Reid does have a more down field attack but none the less the concepts of their routes, verbage, and overall philosophy was derived from Holmgren, Reid’s just adding his stamp just like Holmgren did when he tweaked it from Walsh’s version.

        Yes, the Vikes had a completely different offense than those of Holmgren’s and Reid’s but it was due to TJack sucking (in that system since 2006, mind you) and AP was their RB. If your QB can’t understand the offense put forth, you give it to your All-Pro back. Look at the Vike’s offensive stats when Favre joins them in 2009, 4000+ pass yards and a more pass happy offense. Compare it to before Favre in 2008, TJack passed around 2000 yards in a more run friendly offense. AP’s stats for 2008, 1700+ yds. 2009, 1300 yds.

        Yes, PC wants a more mobile QB to set up play-action but you don’t need a QB that can run a 4.4 40. Just mobile enough to evade if/when the pocket collapses and not get negative yards. If you look at Hass and Whitehurst, Whitehurst was the more mobile QB, but Hass was the smarter QB. And in the end PC chose the guy that can execute the offense and throw darts in the pocket rather than a guy that can outrun Julius Peppers.

        • Rob

          But that’s more down to Whitehurst than anything else. Nobody is saying they need to be able to run a 4.4 more but it is clear (and PC has mentioned this often) that he intends to use a mobile QB going forward.

          And all this stuff about trees and lineage is massively over rated. Verbage may be similar, but Reid’s offense is completely different in concept, intention and system to Holmgren’s WCO. He’s always used a mobile QB with an arm, which is more similar to Shanahan. As you say – Reid has put his own stamp on things. But then so has Childress (who Bevell has worked with the most) and Bevell will too. He simply has not been brought in to change anything. Absolutely nothing. Carroll admitted this. The ideology of the offense does not change. They went away from what Carroll wanted to do last year (ZBS mainly) and he wants to go back to that. It’s the Pete Carroll offense more than anything, it’s just Cable and Bevell are being hired to run it instead of Bates.

          The 2010 Seahawks offense was light years away from anything Holmgren ever did. That won’t change in 2011.

  3. James

    I have spent some time the past few days looking at highlights of the various QB’s in the draft. Admitedly, these are only hightlights, but I was very surprised to see that Andy Dalton of TCU was clearly the best looking player. He does not have the rocket arms of Gabbert, Newton, Mallet or Locker, but his arm strength still looked NFL ready. His arm is certainly as strong as Brady, Brees, Hasselbeck, etc. Certainly, he would be fine in a west cost offense. His demeanor and leadership was superior to the others, and his drop backs and reading the defense were light years ahead. Prof John Clayton said the rumour of the day is that Jacksonville may select him at #16, but if not, the Seahawks should grab him instead of Locker, et al.

    • Rob

      The rumour of the day is ridiculous then. Dalton has the potential to make a move up the board because after the top four guys – the depth is weak. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dalton performs well at the senior bowl to see him move up from the range I have him at the moment (R5). But #16 overall? No. That won’t happen. He’s so frail mentally that one mistake quickly becomes two or three. He’s not immobile and the arm strength isn’t weak, but he’s also a much more limited prospect compared to the top guys without great accuracy to make up for it. His scheme at TCU is very similar to most college systems in that he’s asked really to make one or two reads max and he’s given the freedom to scramble or call QB Draws/options. He isn’t reading a defense such as Ryan Mallett and progressing through 3-4 targets. Like I said – I can see a move up the board. But R1? No.

      • Matt

        Well let’s hope Jax does draft Dalton at 16…although I think that could be a fireable offense. I’ve never understood the infatuation with Dalton. He looks decidedly average against really low levels of competition. Yes, he played ok against Wisconsin and Oregon State. He reminds me of Jared Zabransky of a few years ago. He was the Boise State QB who beat Oklahoma. Their games are exactly the same. Goofy offense, one big win in a spotlight game, distinctly average tools.

  4. Ed

    I heard that too and agree with you rob. But, jax did shock the draft world last year picking a guy everyone else valued much later.

    I really think this is too much qb talk. It’s pretty simple. The only way we get a qb in 1st rd, is if (locker or mallet) falls too us. Which I doubt. We don’t have any ammunition to move up and don’t think (schneider and carroll) would even if they had the ammo.

    I really hope the cba gets done soon and we can get a guard (gallery) and center (satale), maybe rt, so that #25 can be playmaker at cb or de.

    • Rob

      What I would say though – Jacksonville drafted a player who was largely expected to go in R1 by a lot of people. With Dalton – we’re talking about a guy who is a late round project. I can’t help but feel like it’s a name plucked out of the air paired with a team that made a surprise pick last year. I’m not buying it.

      I’m not sure Seattle wouldn’t consider packaging picks to move up – but we’ll see. It depends how much they like a particular guy I guess.

  5. plyka

    I think Orton has to be one of the most underrated QBs in the entire league! Remember, when Orton was playing, Denver had the worst rushing offense in the league! Moreno was actually hurt for a great part of the season. I had Orton as my backup QB on my main fantasy team (behind Vick) and tried to watch as much as i could and definitely followed his stats. He was very impressive. I remember after about game 8 or 10 of the season, Orton had the most passing yards of anyone in the league (i think PHilip Rivers passed him around that time). In fact, if he hadn’t been hurt and replaced by Tebow by the end of the year, his numbers would be even more incredible.

    This year:

    Playing 12 full games and a partial game I believe:
    293 completions vs 498 pass attempts for a 59% comp %
    3653 passing yards (again in 12-13 games)
    20 TDs vs only 9 ints (what an unbelievable ratio!)
    Yards per attamp: 7.3, yards per compl 12.5, yards per game 281
    QB rating 87.5!!

    Let’s compare him to Hasselbeck:
    Matt had 14 starts but only 13 full games i believe (came out after a TD drive against Tampa). So he had a full game or more than Orton:

    266 completions vs 444 pass attempts for a 60% comp %
    3001 passing yards (in 13-14 games)
    12 TDs vs 17 INTs (what a crappy ratio!)
    Yards per attempt: 6.8, yards per comp 11.3, yards per game 214
    QB rating 73 (4th lowest in the league!)

    Looking at these numbers, and just watching the games, Orton was far better than Hass last year. And this is on a much worse team with no running attack and the best WR is Brandon Lloyd, a year after losing their best WR in Brandon Marshall. Just watching the games you could see that especially early in the year, Orton was incredible. He is extremely accurate in passing and can make all the throws on the field. His decision making was excellent and didn’t have much help.

    But the biggest benefit to potentially signing Orton is the cost. Denver has already stated that a 2nd round draft pick is all it will take to get ORton. If they have said a 2nd round, you know they will accept a 3rd or even perhaps 4th round pick. I’m not aware of his salary, but you can bet your you know what that it’s lower than Hass (just a guess by me mind you).

    Orton is underrated in this league. He would be the perfect QB over Hass in my opinion.

    • Charlie

      I agree that orton played really well this year, he was pretty beastly, a definite upgrade over hasselbeck if we dont draft a guy, but don’t downplay the play of brandon lloyd, he made extremely incredible catches all year long, it wasnt like the colts offense where peyton manning turns all the receivers into studs, brandon lloyd definitely played great, but thats not to say orton didnt play well, just an observation. but i wouldnt trade a second round pick for a guy thats just a stop-gap till we get our franchise guy, im still a little butthurt we traded those third rounders, especially in such a deep class last year

      • plyka

        No, you’re right about Lloyd, he was beastly this year. But who would you rather have, BMW Or LLOYD? I think BMW is better.

        • Charlie

          soley based on this season? lloyd, but ill get back to you in a year on that one

  6. Alex

    I’m in favor of Orton as well. He is younger than Hasselbeck and has performed pretty well early in the year without Brandon Marshall. Another thing is that signing Orton does not mean that we don’t draft a QB. It just simply means we can A) delay the pick a little longer or B) draft one that falls to our lap and have him learn and then “compete” when the time is right.


  7. Patrick

    I have been all for Matt Flynn for some time now. He really strikes me as a guy with a ton of potential. The John Schnieder connection is there, and to me the difference between him and Whitehurst is age. I’d be thrilled if Seattle made the trade (That is if we can’t get Mallett or Locker at #25).

    One QB that I noticed hasn’t been mentioned much so far is Bruce Gradkowski. Now that the Cable connection is there, I wonder why we haven’t heard any rumors about him? Sure he’s an injury risk every season, but he’s definitely had some good games. I think I’d rather have him than Vince Young, Kyle Orton, or Kevin Kolb.

  8. Alex

    Having read about the situation with Carson Palmer now (demanding a trade), Seattle would actually be one of the more logical locations. He says he needs a place to restart and this is one potential place to restart.

    Further, his cost (draft pick wise) should be low because of the salary (50 million over next 4 years). If he is a mid rounder, I would be more than happy to throw a mid rounder.

    Granted, Palmer isn’t the 04 Palmer, but from what I heard from John Clayton, he seemed to have a resurgence at the end of 2010. In particular, his arm strength seemed to have returned (according to Clayton, I haven’t seen him play this year) and that was a reason why Marvin Lewis would go back to Palmer rather than draft a QB in the 2011 draft. So that is something to look at.


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