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Ranking Seahawks free agent options to replace Russell Wilson at QB
How Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, Tyrod Taylor and 19 other free agent quarterbacks would fit into Seattle's 2022 season
I’ve spent the past week watching the movie Birdemic with my girlfriend, as she had never seen it before, and what I’m finding with this experience is that we need to take breaks every 30 minutes or so because laughing for that long without any breaks tends to crush your soul and removes the joy out of anything that doesn’t reach that extraordinarily high bar of comedy. That’s why I’ve spent multiple days watching a movie with her, rather than knocking it all out in under two hours.
It’s too damn funny to watch all at once, and I insist you do not watch it alone.
For the uninitiated, Birdemic is the best bad movie ever made. Not The Room and not Troll 2—though those stand next to Birdemic like Bobby Wagner and Marshawn Lynch alongside Russell Wilson—but this 2010 film directed by James Nguyen and starring Alan Bagh and Whitney Moore. If you count yourself “uninitiated” then seek it out (we streamed it through some free movie app called Plex), whether you believe you like bad movies or not.
You will like this bad movie. If you don’t: check your soul. And besides, it may help you prepare for watching the 2022 Seattle Seahawks.
Though you won’t be able to take your eyes off of the “chemistry” between Bagh and Moore, the thing that really makes Birdemic special are the one-shot characters who will be in and your lives so quickly that you can hardly dream to blink without fear of missing the moment that will make your day. If not your whole year.
For a heartbeat, you’ll think that Jerry Owens with Solar Power Accessories is the best two minutes of your life. Then suddenly you meet Bill “A Billion Dollars” Stone and you, you, you, you, you will all get your stock options. And dare not miss the chance to “hang out with your family” while catching a live musical performance by the one and only Damien Carter.
We’ve all seen hundreds of movies that have tried and ingloriously failed to create handfuls of unforgettable characters, the people who say things that you’ll be quoting with your friends for the rest of your lives. Nguyen practically did it by accident and for all of his shortcomings in attempting to make a good film, it is actually the totality of Birdemic’s faults that make it one of the more entertaining and watchable movies ever made.
At this stage of the rebuilding process, the Seahawks may be better off finding their next “Jerry Owens” or “Tom Hill” in 2022 instead of seeking out the next Don Corleone.
That is why I want you all to take a very long look at this guy before you read the names of free agent quarterbacks who Seattle will consider as starting options for next season:
That’s Drew Lock. He is now a Seahawks quarterback and by NFL starting standards, he is bad. Whatever competition Seattle brings in next, he almost certainly won’t upgrade value at the position by a significant amount.
Are you ready to embrace bad?
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Teddy Bridgewater (2/5)
The Vikings originally drafted Bridgewater by trading up with Seattle for the 32nd pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Signing Bridgewater would be full circle for that story, but also potentially a nightmare for Lock to find himself losing another QB competition to the veteran who has played for four teams in the last five years.
Believe it or not, a Bridgewater-led offense was enough for both Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore to top 1,000 yards with the Panthers in 2020, while Curtis Samuel finished with 851. That’s where my brain goes to first with whoever the next quarterback is: Can he get the ball to DK Metcalf, Dee Eskridge, and whoever else is left (Tyler Lockett?) often enough, down field, and with a chance to make a play after the catch?
That was clearly not the case in Denver last year and that’s why the Broncos traded so much to acquire Russell Wilson.
I don’t think anyone had fun with the Lock/Bridgewater dilemma in Denver so Seattle must do the world a favor and not repeat it in 2022. That would be like Jerry Owens showing up at your door and even if he’s willing to knock of $1000 for you, it’s not what the Seahawks need right now.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (2.9/5)
Could this be Seattle’s “TreeHugger Tom Hill”?
Fans love Ryan Fitzpatrick, perhaps because of his faults and not in spite of them. Similar to a bad movie. Because the fact remains that most of us admire and like Fitzpatrick due to the fact that he’s had no business manufacturing a 17-YEAR NFL CAREER with at least one start in each of the last 14 SEASONS and playing with NINE DIFFERENT TEAMS.
For that reason, there’s no reason for me to necessarily dissuade the Seahawks from signing him. However, I can’t fully endorse him as a possibility because despite that extremely long resume (rap sheet?), I’m not sure Fitzpatrick’s ever played in an offense similar to what Shane Waldron and Pete Carroll want to run.
His style doesn’t mesh. But there won’t be a pity party if this is the direction Seattle goes in and it opens the door for the Seahawks to have an opening at QB in 2023, which is what they need the most.
Cam Newton (0/5)
He went from “The Artist” to “The Disaster Artist” in under three years. Cam is younger than Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford, but he has practically no value left as a free agent. Coming off of a fairly typical Cam season in 2018, Newton missed all but two games in 2019; threw eight touchdowns/10 interceptions in 15 games with the Patriots in 2020; went 0-5 as a starter back in Carolina in 2021.
There are GREAT bad movies like The Room and Birdemic. And then there are simply BAD MOVIES. The ones that don’t entertain you in positive or negative ways at all; they just are. They exist and you can turn it off after 10 minutes. Newton used to be as entertaining as any football player in the league.
Now he’s single-handedly bringing back “channel flipping” to something better. Seattle needs an entertaining quarterback who can at least accurately throw the ball further than 10 yards down the field. Cam does neither.
Tyrod Taylor (3.5/5)
I recently ranked all 21 TRADE OPTIONS AT QB for the Seahawks, and we broke NFL records for most comments on a substack newsletter post (probably). If 31 comments doesn’t set the record, it’s at least top-10,000. Many of those comments were asking why I left Tyrod Taylor and Marcus Mariota off the list, or telling me that I overlooked Taylor, Mariota, and Jameis Winston.
But the reasons they weren’t on the list of trade options is that you can’t trade for free agents. Rest easy, folks, we’ve made it to the free agents list now!
Tyrod Taylor is a good starting option for a team that doesn’t necessarily want to make the playoffs, but also doesn’t want to finish with the worst record in the NFL; why else do you think the Houston Texans had to get him off the field at all costs last season? The Texans went 2-4 with Taylor as the starter, 2-11 with anyone else; that was messing with Nick Caserio’s plan to obtain the number one pick in the draft.
Taylor made way for Josh Allen in Buffalo (drafted one year after Taylor left); Baker Mayfield in Cleveland (drafted same year); Justin Herbert in L.A. (drafted in Taylor’s second season with team); and whoever the Texans nab this year.
The only thing that would really raise his score considerably is some connection to a Waldron-y offense and that he might end up being a little too good for Seattle’s liking; would you prefer the Seahawks go 4-13 next season or 7-10, if you had to choose one?
Jacoby Brissett (3.51/5)
He’s like Tyrod Taylor, but with a lower ceiling. Maybe that’s more suited for the Seahawks right now? Brissett started five games for the Dolphins last season, going 2-3 and throwing five touchdowns, but also four interceptions and getting sacked 19 times. Brissett was sacked an NFL-high 52 times as the Colts starter in 2017; ready to see the “Russell Wilson is getting killed behind that offensive line” narrative but without the arm talent?
Marcus Mariota (3.49/5)
Similar to what I wrote about Gardner Minshew the other day, I’m starting to get the distinct impression that some fans actually still believe that Mariota is “good”. If more than one NFL general manager feels this way, then the Seahawks should be priced out of the Mariota negotiations and keep searching, because Seattle isn’t legally required to go out there and spend “Matt Flynn money” before eventually landing their next Russell Wilson.
I’ll never forget the time that a Titans blogger went full napalm on me for suggesting that Marcus Mariota was a bad starting quarterback and that he’d be on the bench soon. This was 2017, a season in which Tennessee made the playoffs but Mariota had 13 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
Two years later, Mariota was benched for Ryan Tannehill.
Then he went to the Raiders and there hasn’t been enough interest from Las Vegas—or from potential trade partners—to give Mariota a second chance to start. That’s more meaningful than most people give it credit and I’ll be surprised if the 28-year-old ever establishes himself as a starter again in this league. It doesn’t mean he won’t start or be named as a starter somewhere, but is he truly a “starter” for the long haul?
If you like Mariota as a fit for Seattle because he’s not that good—and also not that bad—then fine. If you see Mariota as a “playoff winning QB who can save the Seahawks from being terrible next season” then you might be staring into the sun like one of Jerry Owens’s solar panels.
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Mitchell Trubisky (1/5)
Should be somebody else’s underwhelming 2022 contract mistake.
Tim Boyle (1.5/5)
Because I want to highlight that Tim Boyle would be a better signing than Trubisky. No cost, no hope, no problem.
Blaine Gabbert (2/5)
He’s like Mariota, but without the public’s support.
Chad Henne (0/5)
He’s like Fitzpatrick, but without the beard.
Brandon Allen (2.5/5)
He actually spent the better part of three years with Waldron as a third-stringer and practice squad player on the Rams. Allen, 29, made one start in place of Joe Burrow last season and had two touchdowns, no picks (but 4.4 yards per attempt) in a Bengals loss. He’s not someone who you bring in to compete to start, but could be someone who competes to backup the starter.
Mike Glennon (0/5)
Reminder: Gardner Minshew was once benched for Mike Glennon.
Mike Glennon lost a QB competition to Russell Wilson.
There are so many reasons for the next Seahawks QB to not be Mike Glennon.
Geno Smith (1/5)
Well, he does know the offense. Unfortunately for Geno Smith, we also saw him play in it last season. No, thank you.
It’s good that he’s bad, but Smith is the wrong kind of bad that Seattle is looking for right now.
A.J. McCarron (0/5)
He exists! Let’s all take a moment to be grateful for the concept of existence.
Colt McCoy (3/5)
I mentioned in the other post that the Seahawks lost a game to NICK FOLES in 2021. They also lost a game to COLT MCCOY—TWICE. In 2020 with the Giants and in 2021 with the Cardinals. McCoy also beat the Seahawks in that 2011 game against the Browns, in which Seattle lost by a 6-3 score and had that Leon Washington return called back.
If you can’t beat him, let him join you?
McCoy played for Sean McVay when he was in Washington and he carries zero expectations of lasting longer than one season with his next team, so the Seahawks must be circled on his list. If the Seahawks are looking for a QB like him, McCoy should be given a chance to compete with Lock to potentially helm the NFL’s worst team.
If not it’s best worst team?
Josh Johnson (0.5/5)
He’s like Fitzpatrick without the beard, Henne without the strangehold on a backup job, and he’s Marshawn Lynch’s cousin. Johnson played for two different teams last season and if the Seahawks are interested, they could probably wait to call him until September or December.
Chase Daniel (0.5/5)
I saw him in training camp last year and he was standing next to Justin Herbert and I don’t believe for a second that Chase Daniel is taller than 5’9.
Brian Hoyer (0/5)
Did you know that Brian Hoyer went 9-of-11 for 227 yards with a 149.1 passer rating last season?
Sean Mannion (1/5)
Spent a couple of years with Waldron in L.A. but the fact that Mannion was on the Seahawks for a short period in 2021 may only emphasize that he’s not going to be an option moving forward.
Trevor Siemian (3/5)
The next time someone points out to you that Jameis Winston had “14 TD/3 INT with the Saints last season!” please retort as so: Trevor Siemian had 11 TD/3 INT with the Saints last season.
He’s a quarterback. He’s not the worst. He seems to be adaptable. He requires no commitment. Siemian has to be one of the options, even if he’s the least exciting among them—just another white guy who doesn’t swing his arms.
Nick Mullens (2.5/5)
Finally, a QB with a losing record to the Seahawks (1-2).
Mullens went 20-of-30 for 147 yards and one touchdown in a 16-14 loss to the Raiders last season, while playing for the Browns. He turns 27 in a week and wouldn’t cost much, even if he probably also won’t play much.
Josh Rosen (2/5)
There’s nothing finer than giving a quarterback a long NFL career based mostly off of him being a 5-star superstar recruit coming out of high school! “Hey have you HEARD OF Josh Rosen? That’s all I need to know!”
Rosen went 2-of-11 with two interceptions for the Falcons last season. Yep, those are real stats, it’s like he knows exactly what his part is. But hey, you know who Josh Rosen is and you may have even been duped into thinking he’s good, so let’s not kid ourselves: you’re kind of rooting to see him start for a team.
Jameis Winston (4/5)
First of all, Jameis Winston will never take a team to the playoffs. He will never be a top-15 or top-20 player at the position. He will never be a great leader. And if the Seahawks sign him in 2022, I am confident he won’t be the Seahawks starting quarterback in 2023.
However, he will:
Air it out (good for Metcalf)
Handle the rigors of a 17-game season
Keep Lock off of the field
Entertain fans and keep us laughing (intentionally and unintentionally)
I think Winston should fit into a one-year contract and give the Seahawks an option who somehow manages to please both the “We want someone interesting!” crowd and the “We want someone who costs very little!” crowd at the same time.
Like Mariota and Minshew, you should not be fooled into thinkin that Jameis Winston is a good quarterback.
But can you be satisfied with him being a good BAD quarterback?
You might be surprised how good it can be to be bad.
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5-Trevor Siemian/Colt McCoy
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