clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Seattle Seahawks QB: Tarvaris Jackson and Josh Portis In Competion With Each Other, Not In Competition With Each Other


A funny thing happened on the way to a franchise quarterback in Seattle... They got a franchise quarterback by signing a backup, former seventh-round, weak-armed quarterback from Green Bay.

Maybe that's something we will say one day. Or maybe we will say... "They got a franchise quarterback by drafting one of the shortest quarterbacks in modern NFL history in the third round." And maybe, just maybe, it will be said that Seattle "Got their franchise quarterback by taking a chance on an athletic specimen in undrafted free agency out of the California University that's not located in California."

Yes, certainly no matter how you say it, if the franchise quarterback is on Seattle's roster right now, we got there in "a funny way."

Those are all unlikely scenarios in theory since most "franchise quarterbacks" are players that entered the NFL draft with high profiles and high pedigree, but the unlikeliest scenario in Seattle is that the Seahawks next franchise quarterback was a low-profile signing of a former Viking that was mostly disappointing there and mostly disappointing in his first season with Seattle.

Matt Flynn, Russell Wilson, Josh Portis, and Tarvaris Jackson. These are the four quarterbacks in camp that are mostly likely fighting for three jobs. The most interesting part about this competition isn't necessarily that they are in competition for one job as a starter, but that they are in competition for different strings on the depth chart and the round-robin scenario that will probably put one of these guys on the free agent market.

It's highly unlikely that Flynn or Wilson won't make the final three, so it really comes down to Jackson and Portis. Two guys that are in competition for different roles on the team, but will still probably leave one of them off the roster by the time the season starts.


First you have to start with the competition for starter. I believe that Flynn has an almost-guaranteed spot of either starter or backup. Given the free agent contract he was given and the belief-system he was sold on, it seems likely that Pete Carroll has a firm belief that Flynn is either going to be the starter or a very-good backup as he was for the Packers. Matt Flynn: #1 or #2.

Secondly, there is Wilson. The enormously high praise that Wilson has been given by the front office doesn't suggest that he'll make the team... it guarantees it. There's no doubt that Russell Wilson is going to remain on the team but I think it's interesting that he could wind up as either the #1, #2 or #3. He's getting a shot to be starter but if he can't win that job, then he's really in competition with Jackson and Flynn for the backup job. If it does not appear that he is ready to play in an NFL game, then he could very well end up as the #3 for his rookie season. Not necessarily a horrible scenario for a third round rookie.

Given a scenario in which Flynn wins the starting job, then the real competition is between Jackson and Wilson for the backup job. Say that Wilson wins the job over Jackson, would we expect Tarvaris to really be the third string? Frankly, I think that this is the competition that Portis should be watching. (By watching, I don't mean he should literally be paying zero attention to his own advancement, because he still has to show that he's growing into his potential.) But this backup job could determine his fate.

Given a scenario in which Jackson actually wins the starting job, then it also might spell the end of Josh Portis unless he's able to be kept on the practice squad. If Jackson beats out Flynn and Wilson, then he's shown that he's not expendable, which makes three unexpendable quarterbacks on the roster, which leaves Portis on the outside again.

Then there's the scenario in which Wilson wins the starting job, which could spell doom for Jackson. Given that Wilson and Flynn are unexpendable and that it seems unlikely that Jackson would be kept on as the third-string, it could actually be beneficial for Portis to see Wilson win the starters role as long as Portis has a good off-season and pre-season.

Of course, much of this depends on the idea that Tarvaris Jackson would not be kept as a third-string quarterback but I just find it highly unlikely that you could keep a happy locker room when the guy that started 14 games for you a year ago is now relegated to sit behind two other guys the very next season and that you'd pay a third-string quarterback anything more than the league minimum. For Jackson to be kept, he'd have to be released and re-signed and even if he's not exciting, he could find a backup job on another NFL roster so why would he come back to be third-string?

When it comes to Flynn and Wilson, we can basically take a dump in a box and mark it "Guaranteed" while Jackson and Portis must fight for different jobs in an effort to make the final 53.

I held the opinion that if you want to win now, you absolutely must keep Jackson based solely on the fact that every other QB on the roster had a combined two NFL starts and only one of them had ever been active for an NFL game, but that was short-sighted because if Wilson proves to the coaches that he's good enough to start or be the backup, then Jackson almost must become expendable. Danny O'Neil recently wrote that he thinks that Jackson is not going anywhere, but I've started to come around on the idea that he just might go somewhere else.

I know that a lot of people want to hold onto Josh Portis, but that's sort of a perfect world scenario because while it seems logical that you can have your cake and eat it too, for some reason it is not. You are supposed to just look at the cake. The Hawks already have two very interesting quarterbacks fighting for a starting job and at this point Portis is just frosting.

All of my metaphors are bakery-related.

If Portis makes this team, it might simply come down to how well Russell Wilson does and not how Tarvaris does, but almost certainly one of those two players will have to go at some point. You simply can't have a bakers dozen of potential franchise quarterbacks on the roster.

Follow me on Twitter for my Red Velvet recipe.