My crazy Seahawks trade proposal that feels the most like Pete Carroll
The Bears-Panthers made a wild draft trade, is it the last of 2023? Seaside Joe 1470
On Saturday morning, I woke up with the urge to use Friday’s huge trade between the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers as a jumping point to map out (aka “mock”) what the Seattle Seahawks would do with the fifth overall pick in six weeks. But it feels much too soon for that.
This is a common mistake that I see all the time: There’s massive breaking news that’s immediately followed by a rush to assess how it has impacted events in the future. In the social media age, people no longer take time to think about the news itself, how it affects the present moment or even what they think about the news. And you can’t process a trade like that in the time that it takes to hit “send tweet”.
I’m not saying I’m innocent. I’m admitting guilt! This is literally me:
What does the Panthers trading up from nine to one, and the Bears trading down from one to nine, mean for right now? What does it tell us about the league’s assessment of the draft?
The Bears don’t see a QB prospect worth replacing Justin Fields
Chicago GM Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus clearly value Fields, D.J. Moore, and the extra draft capital (2023 and 2025 second round picks, 2024 first round pick, but minus eight spots in the 2023 first round) as being worth more than Bryce Young, Anthony Richardson, C.J. Stroud, or Will Levis.
We have no idea what the Bears could have gotten in return for Fields, so that should be accounted for too.
This isn’t my judgment on Justin Fields or any of the 2023 quarterbacks, right? This is just a statement of fact because the Bears chose to trade down and likely out of range for a quarterback. This is Chicago’s judgment on Fields and the class. If you took everything about Young but put him in Richardson’s body, would the Bears have made the same decision? Would the Panthers have had to pay a much higher price?
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The Panthers didn’t see “the QB” falling to them at 9
If this is a four-QB class, or even a three-QB class, it’s a real question of whether or not the Carolina Panthers had to do this trade so soon after the combine. We do see early draft trades up to one, most recently with regards to the Rams trading up with the Titans in 2016 so they could pick Jared Goff. That trade still didn’t happen until April 14th. The Eagles traded up to pick Carson Wentz six days later, which was eight days before the draft.
We did see an early draft trade similar to this in 2012, when it was the Rams trading down with Washington for the number two pick on March 14th, the Andrew Luck-RGIII class. And in 1998, when the Chargers traded up to number two on March 16th in the Peyton Manning-Ryan Leaf class.
What were the QB classes like in those particular years?
In 2016, the next QB off the board was Paxton Lynch at 26th overall to the Broncos, followed by Christian Hackenberg at 51st overall to the Jets. We know that 2012 was a deep class—Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins, Nick Foles—and also Ryan Tannehill went eighth, Brandon Weeden went 22nd, and Brock Osweiler went 57th.
The 1998 draft didn’t see another QB off the board after Leaf until Charlie Batch at 60th overall.
Did the Panthers trade up so soon because they felt three quarterbacks would definitely go in the top-eight or because they felt there was only one quarterback worth having? Carolina immediately leaked rumors that they would be open to trading down…
So maybe it’s the former and the Panthers just want to make sure that they get one of three prospects. But if that is the case, it is strange that Carolina acted so fast—surely they could have waited until the draft and made a deal with the Arizona Cardinals or Seattle Seahawks for a cheaper price to move up.
The fact that the Panthers moved up only to start spreading rumors that they’re open to moving down makes it seem like they’re being run by a lunatic and therefore it is a little hard to assess Carolina’s line of thinking and to balance that against the usefulness of their judgments of the QB class. It’s always important to remember that not all teams are being run by competent people and that the NFL is constantly doing damage control to mitigate the impacts of the league’s stupidest owners.
As far as I’m concerned, Panthers owner David Tepper has yet to prove himself worthy of football respect and especially when it comes to quarterbacks. The best compliment I could give Carolina right now is that maybe Tepper is so aware of how bad he is at this job that he didn’t want to leave any doubt and hoped that the Panthers could back themselves into the best quarterback prospect. But then that would also mean that the Panthers are perfectly capable of making the worst pick and letting the best one fall to two—similar to the Browns and Jets pricing Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold (two eventual Tepper acquisitions) above Josh Allen.
Which teams didn’t trade with the Bears?
The Texans—must feel that there are two prospects worth having.
The Colts—must feel that there was no reason to panic, as GM Chris Ballard reiterated at the combine, but it’s too soon to rule out trading up with the Cardinals to block another team.
The Seahawks—Pete Carroll is the least likely evaluator to feel that there’s simply one guy he “must have”. Pete couldn’t be on The Bachelor, he’d want to make sure there were enough roses for everybody.
The Lions—At this time, Detroit may feel confident in Jared Goff. I know that Pete is confident in Geno Smith, whether anyone agrees or disagrees with that opinion, I don’t think it’s disagreeable that Pete believes it. He believes it!
The Raiders—Houston and Las Vegas both have GMs off the Belichick tree, both need quarterbacks, neither felt as desperate for “the best quarterback” as the Panthers did.
The Falcons—I’m of the mindset that Atlanta wants a veteran QB upgrade and they aren’t done fishing on the market.
These six teams are notable because they should have all had an advantage over the Panthers in negotiations with the Bears for the number one pick and they all declined. I would say that five of them are run by more conservative, patient GMs who don’t believe that they can be saved by one QB, and the other team is the Falcons.
A lot of people are saying that three QBs will go in the top-four, so it’s notable to me that so far the Raiders have stayed out of it. Either they don’t care if they miss out on a quarterback in the draft or they believe that the right quarterback for them will be available at pick seven.
Is there a belief in the league that there are two quarterbacks setting themselves apart from the rest of the class (if we ran a poll, the consensus is still probably Young and Stroud, which it would have been a year ago) and that if you miss out on one of those two, there’s still going to be good picks after them like was expected in 2012?
OR is there a belief that the quarterbacks will go so early, you might as well give up now?
Reminder, you do not have to answer that question TODAY. It’s okay for us to acknowledge that there are questions like that in the ether and to ponder it for a while before reaching a conclusion.
2022 was a QB outlier; so was 2021
Despite there not being any top-15 quarterbacks in the 2022 draft, there has been a “rush” to select quarterbacks early for quite some time now.
In 2021, the top three selections were QBs, then Fields and Mac Jones at 11 and 15; in 2020, three of the top-six picks were QBs; in 2019, two of the top-six picks were QBs and Dwayne Haskins went 15th; in 2018, four of the top-10 picks were QBs and Lamar Jackson went 32nd; in 2017, three of the top-12 picks were QBs; in 2015 and 2016, the top-two picks were QBs.
So between 2015-2021, that’s 25 first round QBs (3.5 per year, with the obvious joke being that Kyler Murray is the 0.5) and 22 of them went in the top-15.
If we ignore the outliers and play the odds, I think it’s fair to assess that GMs, owners, coaches, people who run NFL teams believe that at least three and maybe all four of these QBs will go in the top-15. Another bonus post I wrote was playing with the idea that only one QB goes in the top-10, but that’s just one scenario. As most things I write, it is not a prediction. It’s a thought experiment and a scenario to help us better grasp a situation.
What if instead of one QB in the top-10, there are two QBs in the top-four?
We can now guarantee that the Panthers traded up for a QB. Between the Texans, Colts, and teams that could trade up with the Texans and Colts, I would lean into “surprising” if one of the next three picks is not the second-ranked quarterback. Is the NFL so “QB crazy” now that three of the top-four picks will be quarterbacks?
We saw QBs as the top-three picks in 2021. We saw it happen in 1999 with Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, and Akili Smith. We saw it happen in 1971 with Jim Plunkett, Archie Manning, and Dan Pastorini.
Those are the only three times in NFL Draft history that three of the top-four picks were quarterbacks. We could see three of the top-four picks go to quarterbacks—and it’s worth noting how RARE that would be if it happens.
Let’s just thought experiment for a second that the Texans decide to sign Jimmy Garoppolo and pick Will Anderson, the Cardinals pick Jalen Carter or Tyree Wilson, and the Colts select the quarterback who the Panthers didn’t select. What if two of the top-four picks are quarterbacks and the other two are Seattle’s top-two defensive prospects?
Is there a scenario in which Pete Carroll—who always trades down in the back half of a first round but rarely trades down from the top half of a first round (2012 being the only case)—gets to field phone calls for the number five pick from a team that is desperate for a quarterback?
We know that the Seahawks have Geno Smith on a contract that allows the team to draft a quarterback if that’s what they want to do. We know that’s a possibility and if that’s the only scenario that you’re willing to entertain, there are plenty of Seahawks websites happy to thrill you with singular talk of drafting a quarterback. If the Seahawks draft a quarterback, I’ll dance, because it’s the most enthralling to position to watch when the player is talented and dynamic; and one hell of a disaster when it doesn’t.
But humor me for today and think of a very Pete Carroll-like thing to do, which is that if he has only two or three “must-have” prospects on the board and they’re all gone, he’s going to trade down. When I think of this particular board, in which maybe there’s a third quarterback who has made it to five and a roster of teams who might be desperate to move up for him, is there a franchise that stands out?
I could see the most painful move for Seahawks fans being the most enticing for a head coach who truly believes in his power to turn any roster into a playoff contender without blue chip draft picks—and who doesn’t give a damn what the media says about it.
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Would Seahawks be willing to trade back from 5 to the 20s?
You may recall before last season that Pete Carroll was adament that the Seahawks were better than what the media was saying after he traded Russell Wilson and chose Geno Smith as the new starting quarterback.
"People have been saying stuff about teams for years. They don't know. They're just guessing at this point, and then we go and prove it and we see where we are ... Win a big game in the opener or struggle and not win a big game in the opener, you've got to come back and get going again and back on track regardless."
On February 27, I noted five potential trade back scenarios for Seattle. The first of those teams was the Panthers…scratch them off the list.
Then I had the Titans, Texans, and Moons. If the Texans do actually pick Will Anderson, it’s probably their best chance at getting their top-ranked prospect and a top-three quarterback because I don’t believe Seattle would trade down if Anderson was there.
But if you’re Pete and you have absolute confidence that the Seahawks will be fine in the future with Geno, if you’re John Schneider and you have the patience to push draft capital into the next two years like Poles just did for the Bears, is there a willingness to drop down further than 12 if Houston isn’t making an offer?
Even further down the order than Seattle’s next pick at 20.
My number five trade-down team is way out there, I just wonder how realistic it is that the Minnesota Vikings are just going to wait and see if a quarterback falls to them all the way to 23.
Would Seahawks take calls on pick 5 and drop to pick 23?
Pretending that the Vikings are happy with how far they can go with Kirk Cousins, 11 seasons in the NFL and a 1-3 playoff record, he’s still a 35-year-old quarterback with one year left on his contract. He’s older than Derek Carr and Geno, he’s not far behind Matthew Stafford. Minnesota just cut Adam Thielen, they’re going to move on from Za’Darius Smith, there are rumors about Dalvin Cook, the roster is in transition despite a 13-4 record in 2022.
The Vikings should be legitimately concerned that if they aren’t worse than the Detroit Lions next season, they very well could be by 2024 and beyond. The Lions have a better all-around roster and an ability to make moves at quarterback, if they want to—Detroit is also picking at six, one spot ahead of Seattle, potentially selecting the number three QB in the draft.
The Packers are moving into the Jordan Love era and we’ll see how that goes, but it could be a good thing for Green Bay. The Bears are moving forward with Justin Fields and they have two first round picks next year. How much cognizance does Minnesota have of the possibiltiy that even if they won the division in 2022, they seem to be the worst-positioned of the four NFC North teams beyond 2023?
Is their one shot at staying ahead of the division going to be sacrificing future draft capital with the belief that a) future draft capital will be late first round picks and b) maybe Anthony Richardson behind Cousins for a year—and out of the hands of the Lions—is the perfect transition at quarterback for head coach Kevin O’Connell (a former QB) and offensive coordinator Wes Phillips?
The Vikings sure didn’t feel “out of contention” for Richardson when they met with him at the combine. And if there’s a HC/GM who feel that they can get just as good of prospects at 20 and 23 as they could get at 5 and 20, it’s Pete and John.
What’s the trade offer?
I mentioned this in the previous trade down article, but moves as huge as this one are rare so the precedent may not even matter that much. What matters is that if a team as low as the Vikings does want QB3, similar to how the 49ers wanted QB3 in 2021, negotiations should open with two future first round picks.
Minnesota is actually lacking draft capital this year (no second, they don’t have their original fourth (but they have Detroit’s), don’t have their original sixth or a seventh) so this would be a true all-in move for a quarterback who they get to develop for a full year. The reason that they might push in that direction is that if the Vikings don’t do it now, they risk handing over a good roster to a rookie quarterback in 2024, sight unseen, and they don’t even know if they’ll be any better positioned next year. They probably won’t be.
There is a chance that Minnesota would trade Cousins for more draft capital, but let’s set that aside.
I think that the cost would be pick 23, a 2024 first, a 2025 first, a 2025 second, and a player. You could argue that Za’Darius Smith, who has asked the Vikings to release him, could be a good value to Seattle, if traded.
Looking up and down the board, the Minnesota Vikings appear to be the team that might be willing to be fleeced in a deal for a quarterback prospect because of where things stand not only with their quarterback, but also the other three teams in the division. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah seems a little too chill to make such a dramatic move, but perhaps the Wilf ownership, which has made desperate moves in the past with Brett Favre, Sam Bradford, Case Keenum, and Cousins, is open to override again.
It’s way too soon to say what the Seahawks will do with pick five. It’s also too soon to say what they would never do.
It’s not too soon to say that desperation is in the air.
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If Carter and Anderson are gone and the Vikings throw you their pick at 23, 2 future firsts and Za'Darius Smith, I'd scream yes before they could even finish. That would be the fleecing of the decade for a QB3. And the Seahawks could still trade up into the teens, say like 15, bundling pick 20 with their late 2nd. You'll still get 2 first round players this year, the ammo to get a QB in 2024 or 2025 and an elite veteran contributor. That would truly be the best case scenario for the Seahawks. Realistically, I don't think the Vikings would do that move and especially not for that much. I'm not sure any of the teams that far down the board are so desperate for a QB. I think Tampa Bay at 19 is as far as you can go (and who knows what'll happen with the Ravens), at least with only one trade. But I agree with the notion that, if the blue chips are gone, the Seahawks should strongly consider trading down, maybe even multiple times. The value in this class lines up best in the mid to late 10's and if they can acquire future draft capital to prepare for a rookie QB coming in next year or the year after, I'm all for it.
We shouldn't play around with these picks. Draft Jalen Carter, and Ocyrus Torrence. That's what they should do. What they actually do could be way different. We really need defensive tackles thought. #88