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Seattle Seahawks: Exploring Free Agency Methods and the Draft, Part IV

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Jim McIsaac

Part III from this morning is here. Part I and II. Part III ended talking about what attributes Seattle may or may not want in their next quarterback. Now onto actual candidates. This is the final part.

Quarterback options...

In college; Russell Wilson makes up for his lack of size with his feet, release, arm strength and savvy - I'm really, really intrigued by him after watching some NC State clips in addition to the Wisconsin stuff and listening to him speak. Again, have to be careful with highlight reels. But, take a listen here. Ryan Tannehill is newish to the position, but is a football player and shows potential. Brock Osweiler is that wild card type; big and raw. Kirk Cousins is seen as a leader. Kellen Moore the wowing over-achiever. Chandler Harnish was praised as Tebow-type runner and he shows potential as a passer. And you'll notice I forgot two. A lot of different styles here.

On the NFL side; Schneider called Matt Flynn a "championship kid" on the radio and praised his game/potential; I'm curious if Carroll shares the sentiment. I think Beekers put together an interesting summation of Flynn here and I'm not in the sign Flynn to a huge deal camp. I found Beekers' assessment very insightful in terms of weighing the "alternative side" on Peyton Manning as well. (Props to Beekers for the quality work on quarterbacks.)

(Note: The sentiments below were written before the rampant Manning to Seattle speculation began to occur. My thoughts about the situation and opinion on acquiring him remain the same.)

I think this Manning situation will be a great indication of 'how much does fit/scheme truly matter' for them because the commanding presence, work ethic and excellent football traits are crystal clear. Also, he is the uber "tilt the room" type and this situation will maybe shed more light on how much that intangible attribute matters in relation to other physical attributes for this front office. However, how important is mobility and youth, as he's not the threaten the edge, young guy at all - this is where he is a 'misfit' in my opinion, as health is obviously a major factor here (in the damp Pacific Northwest no less, something that may actually matter...). Also, with the addition of a player like Manning there is the issue of Tarvaris Jackson. Is it 'compete' or 'move over?'

On a different level I think it's worth asking; does this organization feel more ready to insert a quarterback than they did last year when they passed on Matt Hasselbeck and Andy Dalton - then, the potential inability to keep the quarterback upright was a reason for not selecting Dalton and Seattle has three of their five "starting" lineman currently rehabbing from injury. There would be tailoring to the offense, for sure. But, if Peyton Manning is healthy how long will the transition take given his football IQ and perceived ability to make receivers better?

I'd be very intrigued with acquiring him under certain circumstances; a low risk/incentive based contract that doesn't hinder the flexibility to keep building the whole team, in case the experiment fails. I think there are so many ways to look at this - would they go for the short term deal with a backup in place or a longer term route? There are a plethora of potential plans they could enact with or without him. If he came it would be intriguing. I mean, it's Peyton Manning. This is the type of player, when healthy, that gets viewed as the unique exception 'misfit' that is potentially worth acquiring. A face of the league type of player. It's a unique situation...moving on.

What about Jason Campbell, a mobile-strong armed veteran that played for Tom Cable? David Garrard, Josh Johnson or another dark horse via trade - Brian Hoyer is a name that gets thrown around a bit, or what about a castoff starter with "untapped potential" that has a tie to Pete Carroll (an idea mentioned here and at Seahawks Draft Blog)? The point in acknowledging the last handful of possibilities; if the Seahawks are intent on having competition, I think they will find someone, somewhere, somehow.

Lets not forget about Josh Portis, a player talked about/praised by both front office men in recent weeks. Here is a reminder - really, one of the few samples - of what Portis can potentially do. If the spoken praise is for real, then maybe he's ready to be a backup after an offseason of working with the staff. In that case, I think keeping his progression on the right track is important and therefore wouldn't be in favor of signing a veteran that would keep Portis from seeing the field if he was ready. If he is ready for the back up role, well, is something only the Seahawks know. If they think he's not, acquiring/signing the veteran quarterback and drafting a quarterback is an option. Schneider remarked in a half joking/half not manner about potentially taking two quarterbacks if it fell a certain way, like with Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn in Green Bay. Does that sentiment expand to one free agent, one draftee? The only thing I can definitively say is this organization seems constantly involved and searching for more answers. I think It's impressive.

Final thoughts

I think the approach to quarterback follows the how much more unique/versus market value/versus the talent pool/juggling the short and long term good of the organization sentiment as laid out with the defensive ends. If they see QB Player X as a "game changer" I described in part III, then I think he's surely on the radar - (to acknowledge the speculation, I'm inclined to believe a healthy, free agent Peyton qualifies as that game changer). But I think the answer would be "no, it's not worth it" to over pay at the position for a lesser player than Player X when they could continue building for the time. I think this is a conversation they may have when acquiring any player to an extent, and also when comparing top players at particular positions. I think they care how they use their cap so that if 'the opportunity' presents itself they can maybe make the move. This allows them to go after the Brandon Browner, Chris Clemons, or Doug Baldwin type acquisition, but also creates room to chase the big fish if need be.

Both Carroll and Schneider have spent a lot of time around all-time great quarterback gurus and legendary coaching figures, which I think doesn't hurt. They are confident that they can make the right assessment when the time comes and I wouldn't want the front office thinking anything otherwise. And given that they've said they will develop a player if need be, I think it widens the options for attacking the short and long term. Ron Wolf acquiring Brett Favre for a first round pick wasn't the popular decision and it's not like Matt Hasselbeck was a known commodity either. Their job is to be informed and perhaps capable of turning the surprise into a starter/star, if that's the route they chose to take, even if they acquire a veteran simultaneously.

I personally don't have an issue with if the decision they make is the against the grain one, and that's on both sides of the ball. Paul Allen wasn't at the VMAC last week talking free agency and draft strategy for nothin'. We know the intention from top to bottom; they want to win championships, they are diligent and sometimes unique in their ways. As a fan and part of the 12th man, I think it's hard not to root for an organization that approaches their job in that manner, and this regime has tried to be on the 'cutting edge' from the start. That means being willing to take the chance. I think, so far, they've shown they are cagey and capable of taking strides in the right direction. As long as they keep "busting their tail" and finding ways to build both the roster and organization in that process, I'll continue to find it very hard not to root for this organization and continue to look forward to what comes next.