The Seahawks are entering a new era as Russell Wilson is now a Denver Bronco. It is a tough offseason to be a Hawks fan as core players like Wilson and Bobby Wagner are suddenly gone, and the new starting quarterback, at least for now, is a guy who the Broncos opted not to start during the 2021 season.
Drew Lock is supposedly the guy in Seattle for the time being. I say this because they traded for him, there are no other premier quarterbacks in the free agency market (not that there were any to start), and I am not envisioning the Hawks splashing a deal with the division-rival 49ers for a guy like Jimmy Garoppolo.
This was a weak quarterback class coming into free agency. The most notable names were guys like Mitch Trubisky, Jameis Winston, Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Andy Dalton.
The trade market was likely the place to get a big name quarterback this offseason, but the Hawks are the team that traded one of the biggest names away, Aaron Rodgers elected to stay in Green Bay, Deshaun Watson is on his way to Cleveland, and the Commanders quickly made a move for Carson Wentz early on in the offseason.
So, where does that leave Seattle? Well … with Drew Lock. Plus, a bounty of picks which includes the ninth-overall selection in the upcoming draft. The Hawks have expressed confidence about their new QB after the trade.
“If he plays like he did early on, I think we’ve got a shot,” Carroll said. “You go back to his first year when he was balling as a rookie, when he was 4-1, his third-down numbers were terrific. Taking care of the football really well. … We think he’s still that guy and so we’ll see.”
But how much do we really trust quotes like these anymore when it was denied that Wilson would be traded over the last two seasons now? Still, it didn’t stop the Hawks GM from boasting his praise while also hinting that another move might come.
“We’ll continue to explore options,” Schneider said, “but we have a ton of faith in Drew. We’re excited about it. We’re excited about a change of scenery for him. I know a couple of my buddies were trying to acquire him all last spring and into the fall. He’s a guy that, in my opinion, the media has beat down a little bit. We’re excited to get him into our culture with our coaching staff, and we’ll continue to look for guys to compete with him.”
I’m not sold on Pete Carroll going into the season with a guy at QB whose track record isn’t the cleanest and that he hasn’t developed himself. The Hawks might be in a rebuild given the massive trade, but I don’t see this franchise, with this roster, just folding. Let’s review three options the Hawks have from a trade, free agency, and draft perspective.
TRADE – Baker Mayfield – Cleveland Browns
Okay, I get that Baker’s name isn’t synonymous with winning and impressive play, but he did turn around the Browns franchise and create more of a winning culture in Cleveland. The beauty of a trade for Baker Mayfield is that it shouldn’t cost a lot. Watson is clearly their QB, Mayfield has publicly requested a trade, and any leverage the Browns may have had is long gone. Not to mention, they just traded away five draft picks and would likely be happy with getting one back. Given all the drama, and considering he has just one-year remaining on his contract, I think a third or fourth round pick would do the job.
Mayfield would create some healthy competition for Lock, although it is clear to me that he would be the day one starter. If the shoulder remains an issue, they have Lock right there to back him up. Let’s not forget that he is a season removed from throwing for over 3500 yards and 26 touchdowns to just eight interceptions. I think what’s most important about Baker is that he comes from an offense that prioritized the run first. We know Carroll wants that more than anything.
FREE AGENCY – Andy Dalton
Dalton has bounced around the last two years since leaving the Cincinnati Bengals. In Dallas, he was injured and playing under tough circumstances. Last year in Chicago, it never felt like the starting job was his, even if head coach Matt Nagy publicly supported him to begin the season. The plan all along was going to be to play Justin Fields as soon as the rookie was ready.
In his two years away from Cincy, Dalton has a 64 percent passer rating, over 3600 passing yards, and 22 touchdowns to 17 interceptions. Dalton works as an option if the Hawks are confident in Lock being the full-time starter but want a steady backup with plenty of experience. Who knows what Andy Dalton wants in his next team, but if he is fully ready to take on the role of what Mass Hasslebeck did later in his career as a backup, Seattle could be a great option for him.
DRAFT – Kenny Pickett, Matt Corral, Sam Howell, Carson Strong
The Hawks will pick at numbers 9, 40, and 41 in this draft. The class of quarterbacks is very questionable. However, as draft hype always does, the class has been slightly manipulated. At one point early on in the offseason, it seemed like no QB was worthy of going in the top-15, but now it appears that Malik Willis could go as high as number two to the Lions.
At pick nine, the Hawks could have their choice of any other QB. Unless they absolutely love Kenny Pickett, it’s probably wise to let him go a little later on and see who they can grab at number 40 or 41. NFL teams are QB hungry, so even if no one believes this is a strong class, we could still have three or four QBs picked in the first round. If a guy like Carson Strong, who played at Nevada, is there at 40, I think Seattle could take him. However, if Willis drops to them at number 9, it’d be tough not to consider.