We’re roughly six months out from the start of the regular season. Free agency is still a few days away and Day One of the 2022 NFL Draft is six weeks from next Thursday. In each case, a lot can (and will) happen between now and then.
“Any rookie” leads the way with odds of -150 (meaning you have to bet $150 to win $100). Amusingly, that rookie can be anyone from the 2022 class: Malik Willis, Sam Howell, Matt Corral, Kenny Pickett, Desmond Ridder, whoever. Heck, it could even be Western Michigan’s Kaleb Eleby (in which case he’d be tossing passes to one of his former teammates, D’Wayne Eskridge).
In second place is the guy that came Seattle’s way in Tuesday’s bombshell trade: Drew Lock. The odds on him taking the first snap are +125 (meaning you would win $125 if you bet $100). Personally, I wouldn’t place that bet.
Behind Lock, are 2 players with odds of +500.
One of those players is Geno Smith. On the surface of it, that seems like a safe enough bet - especially if you’re of the mind that Geno Smith > Drew Lock. But Geno is going to be a free agent on March 16th and is facing some legal issues (and a possible suspension?) for a DUI arrest in January.
Granted, it’s been reported that Pete Carroll wants the Seahawks to re-sign Geno Smith for 2022, but it was also reported, around the same exact time, that Seattle had “no intention” of trading Russell Wilson and we all know how that turned out.
Plus, we all saw how Geno did in place of Russell Wilson for 3-1/2 games last year; does anyone really want a full 17 games of that?
The other player with odds of +500 is The Mustachioed One: Gardner Minshew.
I think it’s safe to assume that there are a fair number of 12s that would happily place that bet and then lobby Pete Caroll and John Schneider to “make it happen.”
Next up is a sucker’s bet: Jimmy Garoppolo (+600).
That’s not a knock on Jimmy who I actually think is a “fine” quarterback. Not “elite” or even “top tier” necessarily, but certainly better than either Drew Lock or Geno Smith (and most of the other players on this list). Unfortunately, Jimmy G. is currently under contract with the San Francisco 49ers and there ain’t no way our division rivals are going to interrupt the celebration that started the moment they heard RW3 was headed to the Denver Broncos in order to “do us a solid.”
Note: Jimmy G. has gotten a lot of grief from the 12s but dude’s career passer rating of 98.9 is pretty darn good. For comparison, Geno’s career rating is 75.7, Lock’s is 79.3, Minshew’s is 93.9, and Wilson’s is 101.8.
Free agent to be, Jameis Winston has the same odds as Jimmy G. and while I am not personally a fan of the 30/30 passer, he is considered the top free agent QB this year. As such, PFF is projecting a 1-year, $7M contract (fully guaranteed).
If Seattle’s intention is to be “competitive” in 2022 ... Winston isn’t the worst option. Assuming that he is fully recovered from his 2021 ACL injury, of course.
Mariota was the #2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. A case could be made that he was a serviceable starter for the Tennessee Titans (i.e., “good” but not “great”) from 2015 to 2018, but he fell off a cliff, performance-wise, in 2019 and has thrown a total of 30 passes for the Las Vegas Raiders over the last 2 seasons (28 in 2020 + 2 in 2021). PFF estimates that Mariota will sign a fully-guaranteed 1-year, $8M contract which ... Why?
Note: Geno Smith threw 47.5x as many passes as Mariota in 2021 and is expected to cost half as much in 2022.
Like Mariota, Deshaun Watson is a former first-round pick, having been selected by the Houston Texans with the 12th overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. Watson made the Pro Bowl in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and his 4,823 passing yards in 2020 led the league. Dude is undeniably talented and would arguably be the best possible option for Seattle going forward .... if only.
Let’s start with the fact that Watson didn’t throw a single pass in 2021 and could easily repeat that feat in 2022 due to his ongoing legal issues. On Friday, a Texas grand jury declined to indict Watson on 9 criminal complaints, but 22 civil suits remain, as does the possibility of a suspension.
In a statement on Deshaun Watson, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said the league has "been closely monitoring all developments in the matter which remains under review of the personal conduct policy."— Sarah Barshop (@sarahbarshop) March 11, 2022
On top of the legal ickiness, there’s also the financial impact of acquiring Deshaun Watson as he is currently under contract to the tune of $136M over the next 4 seasons, including $35M (fully guaranteed) this year.
Oh, and let’s not forget about the sizable compensation (both draft picks and players) that it would take to acquire him. From The Athletic, less than 2 weeks ago:
The Texans have continued to ask for five to seven assets, including three first-round draft picks, in any potential trade for Watson, according to sources.
Long story short, I wouldn’t hold my breath on seeing Watson in a Seattle uniform.
Last up, with odds of +800, is the only quarterback who was on the Seahawks’ roster last year and is still on it (and under contract) today: Jacob Eason.
Y’all know that I love former Huskies and try not to say mean things about them, but ... Eason’s ceiling is career backup. In my opinion, anyone who drops money on Eason being the Seahawks’ Week 1 starter is missing out on a chance to spend that money on a Seahawks jersey instead.
Speaking of which ... I hear the team shop is having a sale on Wilson jerseys.
(Too soon?) Go Hawks!