The Seattle Seahawks are staring down the barrel of their first season since 2011 without Russell Wilson at quarterback.
That is a strange sentence to type.
Consequently, Seattle has been connected to a slew of quarterbacks via the offseason rumor mill. Kirk Cousins and Tom Brady both came off the board Sunday night, while the Deshaun Watson hype appears to be fading somewhat.
That leaves the more run-of-the-mill free agent or low-cost trade targets that have been connected to the Seahawks in various forms.
From the remaining options, and with where Seattle currently stands as a franchise, the best option for them at quarterback next season is Gardner Minshew.
As of this writing the Indianapolis Colts are also strongly connected to the pursuit of Minshew, currently on the Philadelphia Eagles, but here are legitimate reasons Seattle should pull the trigger first.
Gardner Minshew was picked 178th overall in 2019. Something happens in the NFL after the 3rd round; expectations effectively fall off the table. There’s a drastic drop-off in (fan) perceived production for the later-round players. This is true of GMs as well, as evidenced by the cumulative number of games first-round picks play in the NFL even if they are
L.J. Collier not productive.
Coupled with that, some athletes acquire an unshakeable reputation of not being expected to be great. It’s hard to quantify why this is, but seems to run in circles with guys who smile a lot, have great beards, and are kind of goobers. Ryan Fitzpatrick is this and also one of the names thrown out hand-in-hand with Minshew. It’s weird to be one of the 32 best at what you do in the world and not carry the perception of being the least bit useful, but it’s the world in which we live.
“I think it should put a chip on everybody’s shoulder on our team to be kind of counted out like that,’’ Minshew said. “I think we do have a lot to prove that we’re not what anybody says about us. I think we’re going to set those expectations for ourselves and not worry about what anybody else has to say about us.’’
This is a very good thing for the Seahawks. Unquestionably the lowest expectations since 2012 surround the team this year. Nobody knows, and many don’t care anymore, what Seattle’s roster is going to be capable of come September. If they draft Malik Willis in Round 1, or trade for Deshaun Watson, all that goes away. A team with question marks and fresh hurt will carry the pressure of matching or even succeeding last year’s finish in attempt to prove Russell Wilson wrong.
Minshew does not bring that. And for the record, the point here is not to say Minshew is bad. This is a false understanding of his talent and capabilities - more on that later - but point being he is the most likely candidate to add no pressure to the team’s success and to exceed those very same expectations.
2) Personality & Leadership
Russell Wilson is many things. One of them, even for those who want to deny it, is that he is a good leader. He leads by example, with his words, out of his character, and with consistency.
The next quarterback that Seattle employs will likely not have Wilson’s insane drive for success. That’s kind of unparalleled in this league, as we witnessed this year with the weirdness surrounding his return from finger surgery.
However, Minshew provides proven, solid leadership skills in addition to something that Wilson did not. Because while Wilson was an elite, dynamic leader for this franchise, he was not what anyone would call excessively personable.
In only his second year in the league, Jay Gruden called Minshew a great leader as they gave him another run at leading the Jacksonville Jaguars. Minshew’s former teachers have spoken up about his unforeseen success in the NFL, saying “We already know what the rest of the world is finding out. He’s fun and has an ability to rally people around him, have a good time and see the light-hearted things in life. He’s got a gift.”
You can tell by the reactions all over the Pacific Northwest that players and fans are hurting. Following a fun guy who just gets people to have some fun might be exactly what the organization needs, especially as more stories continue to trickle out - like this incredible one from Seattle’s own Bob Condotta - about the internal tension and drama that stemmed directly from Wilson.
Here’s why we’re here though, right? Is this dude any good?
Leaving the sacks in was probably a dead giveaway.
Player A - Gardner Minshew, 2019-20
Player B - Russell Wilson, 2013-14
Considering the roster that Minshew had to work with in 2019, throwing to DJ Chark and um, another wide receiver presumably, I’m intrigued.
Nobody’s going to walk in here with Wilson’s deep ball, but in 2019 Minshew’s Yards Per Catch at 11.5 was exactly between Deshaun Watson and Josh Allen.
Perhaps more importantly, he’s good with the football. We all remember last week when the team kept Pete Carroll and not Wilson - well Carroll’s thing is kind of not turning the ball over. Here, Minshew is very good.
Best Pass TD/INT ratio since 2019— Robby Snyder (@RobbySnyder) March 13, 2022
Aaron Rodgers 8.54
Patrick Mahomes 4.21
Russell Wilson 4.00
Kirk Cousins 3.62
Gardner Minshew 3.42
Tom Brady 3.34
Deshaun Watson 3.11
*min. 800 attempts pic.twitter.com/83vqHCEQBU
- Nobody tell Carroll that he will inevitably get worse at turnovers regardless of who he picks
- Look at that guy. Who doesn’t want to see that guy just give a big goofy grin to Aaron Donald and literally not care what happens to him?
4) There’s few better teams to give Minshew a shot than the Seahawks
The Colts may be on this list, unfortunately. However, the Seahawks have the far superior receiving corps, a talented and improving defense, and more money that they’re supposed to spend this year than I will make for the rest of my life. Tons of flexibility to make things interesting. If the Eagles are fielding trade calls, Seattle is one of the teams that makes sense to do so. They have a better roster than the 2019 Jaguars did, and are in that range where it’s worth it for them to see what a guy is capable of, over and against forcing their hand at drafting their next QB immediately.
Minshew can play, he can lead, he can help heal, he can very capably carry things forward for a year or two, and he’s the best guy to provide the type of reprieve year (with hope!) that Seattle fans need after this multi-year Wilson departure circus.