Seahawks rebuilding plan Phase II: The top-3 options to replace Russell Wilson at QB
Two trades and one free agent signing (of any two players) that will satisfy Seattle's top remaining need: a ONE-SEASON quarterback
Before you get to my top-three predictions for who the Seahawks could be looking at to be the next starting quarterback after trading Russell Wilson, let me say this one thing to you:
I’m so so so so sorry.
I believe that like Jim Zorn, Dave Krieg, Warren Moon, and Matt Hasselbeck before him, Russell Wilson created so many great memories for Seattle’s fan base. Unlike those four and Jon Kitna and Rick Mirer and so on, he also created winning Super Bowl memories.
On my top-three list ahead of you, I will offer up TWO quarterbacks who have started in the Super Bowl and one who beat Tom Brady for the Lombardi trophy, but no. I am not going to be able to come close to satisfying your need to see the Seahawks find a long-term replacement for Wilson. Or even one who has escaped career ridicule.
I’m so so so so sorry.
The Seahawks are out on Deshaun Watson, as they should be. There won’t be another franchise starter moving teams this year, other than Wilson, and we know Seattle didn’t make his list. The Seahawks are also not setup to support a good starting quarterback until they’ve resolved their many roster holes on either side of the ball, but even if they were, every avenue is closed.
On this list you also won’t find Gardner Minshew, Marcus Mariota, Mitchell Trubisky, Jimmy Garoppolo, Kirk Cousins, or Baker Mayfield. Well, you’ll kind of find Mariota. Which I would use to emphasize once again: The Seattle Seahawks are best suited to look for a starting quarterback in 2023.
They will, however, need a one-year starting quarterback for 2022. One year. One year.
The following two trade proposals and one free agent signing are moves that I find to be reasonable for the Seahawks and rational given the moves that Seattle tends to make under Pete Carroll. As a show of appreciation to everyone who has opted for a paid subscription, I want to create some content for that lane and this felt like an appropriate article to fit under that umbrella. The regular content will keep streaming for all subscribers, without a hiccup, and I’ll reveal my top-three list again later this week.
I just hate it when I read a substack newsletter and then get gobsmacked by a paywall without warning.
Who do I project as the Seahawks top-three targets at quarterback this week?
#1 - Trade for Jared Goff (I know, I know, trust me… I know)
Deal: The Seahawks receive Lions 32nd overall and 66th overall picks and Jared Goff in exchange for Seattle’s draft picks at 41st overall and 72nd overall; Seahawks complete deal before March 17, therefore paying Goff’s $15.5 million roster bonus and guaranteed 2022 salary for a total of $26.15 million overall
The Seahawks move up in the second round (to last pick in the first round) and also move up in the third round and agree to pay Goff’s entire $26.15 million guaranteed in 2022. Seattle would not owe Jared Goff any money after 2022.
Before you start questioning my heart and integrity and humanity for suggesting that the Seahawks trade for Goff, please first take note that you’re talking to me. To me. To the person who nobody listened to in 2018 when I said, “Wait, you guys think that this guy is a good quarterback? This guy?”
Two days before the Rams traded Goff for Matthew Stafford, I ranked the NFC West teams for the Seaside Joe newsletter and here’s what I wrote about LA:
3. Rams - The issues will be regression by the defense and running into roadblocks when it comes to replacing Jared Goff. The Rams also have to replace two key front office members and four key assistant coaches, including defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, assistant head coach Joe Barry, and passing game coordinator Shane Waldron.
When the Rams traded Goff for Stafford two days later, here’s what I wrote in the newsletter:
A couple of days ago I ranked the NFC West: Seahawks, 49ers, Rams, Cardinals. Then on Saturday, the Rams traded Jared Goff, two firsts and a third for Matthew Stafford. I will amend my rankings. Feel free to disagree, but if you do, please consider your arguments against me in silent for three whole days before you reply.
The NFC West (as of eight months before the season even starts, so let's not overthink this): Rams, Seahawks, 49ers, Cardinals.
If the Rams had Stafford instead of Goff last year, they aren't losing the battle for the NFC West. Jared Goff is bad. Matt Stafford is good. LA didn't only get better at quarterback, they also just made Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Cam Akers, Van Jefferson, and Tyler Higbee better too. Sean McVay has a real quarterback for the first time.
A lot will change between now and March, between March and May, between May and September. But as of right this very second, the Rams are in hypothetical first.
The number one reason that I picked the Rams to win the Super Bowl after making that trade was not that I saw Stafford as a top-five quarterback, it was that I saw Jared Goff as a bottom-five quarterback.
And yes, I am now going to argue that the Seahawks should trade for him on Tuesday.
They will be absolutely bullied beyond recognition on Twitter for doing it, but it feels like there at least had to have been discussions between Shane Waldron and Pete Carroll on whether or not Jared Goff would make sense as a replacement for Wilson, as well as discussions in Detroit about whether to trade or release Goff before his $15.5 million roster bonus is due on Thursday. An upcoming engagement between the Seahawks and Goff seems to be right in our faces, yet somehow this hasn’t been speculated anywhere else but here.
I believe that the Lions are secretly willing to give up some draft capital if another team will take on Goff’s 2022 signing bonus and guaranteed salary before Thursday’s deadline. What do we know about Seattle, even after re-signing Quandre Diggs, Will Dissly, and Al Woods?
They can afford to spend more money at quarterback. Goff’s $26.15 million guarantee falls into an interesting category of being relatively cheap for a starting quarterback but also too much for him. That’s why Detroit should be willing to lose draft capital if a team is willing to take Goff’s contract off of their hands, saving the Lions $16.15 million in the process.
The Lions can then choose to either draft a quarterback with their first pick or acquire one on the free agent or trade market who they feel gives them a better chance to improve next season. I was actually impressed with Goff in the second half of last season, he was playing better and Detroit won a few games after a 0-10-1 start.
But the Lions also know that he’s not a franchise quarterback and if they have any designs on picking someone in the draft, then the time to trade Goff is now. And $16 million in savings is considerable for Detroit.
Reading: Ranking Seahawks free agent QB options
Why are the Seahawks doing this then?
First and foremost, Jared Goff needs the least amount of tutoring on the Shane Waldron offense of any quarterback who Seattle could hope to acquire this year. He spent four seasons in it with the Rams and when he had supreme talent around him, he went to a Super Bowl. The idea that Malik Willis or Matt Corral or any rookie quarterback could be drafted and running the Seahawks offense in Week 1 or even in year one is unfathomable.
The same could be said for most options on the trade and free agent markets.
The best possible solution to unlock Waldron’s offense in the second year with Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf still needing to get their targets is to bring in a quarterback who lived in it for 74 starts. There are a ton of intricacies to the offense, pre-snap motion and post-snap reads and all sorts of other terms that a guy with below-average Xs and Os knowledge like me will sometimes use as a defense mechanism, and for all of Goff’s shortcomings as a number one pick… he’s kind of a good game manager.
That’s all the Seattle needs to find between now and Week 1. Nothing more. A GAME MANAGER. Yes, that’s finally the correct term to use.
What I’m NOT writing: Jared Goff is the answer to the Seahawks’ QB woes.
What I AM writing: Goff is the answer to the Seahawks’ needing a starting quarterback for one year only.
Secondly, taking on a one-year, $26.15 million cap hit for a quarterback who a) knows the offense and offensive coordinator, b) can be benched without anyone complaining, and c) can be released for $0 dead money next year without anyone complaining—that is not as painful as just telling a fan, “The Seahawks traded out Russell Wilson for Jared Goff (barf emoji)”
Okay, sure, but this is sort of dreamy for Seattle’s chances of getting a franchise quarterback in 2023, which will be a much better year for quarterbacks.
Third, if the Lions would agree with me that they need to sacrifice something to move Goff’s deal, then the Seahawks would officially get their second first round pick this year. That’s a second player with a fifth-year option. Or it’s John Schneider’s second chance to trade down. I also swapped picks at the top of the third round for a cherry on top.
But let’s say that the Seahawks would have to give up something for Goff? The reason I doubt that is that if Detroit does trade Goff this week, they’re conceding that they’re getting anxious and willing to move him no matter what it takes. Therefore, a team doesn’t want to necessarily give something up to complete the deal. Instead, I think this looks more like a Brock Osweiler-to-the-Browns situation.
By trading for Goff, Seattle would make it clear to me that they are not drafting a quarterback (which they shouldn’t) and that they will have a training camp competition between him, Drew Lock, and a third low-risk, weird-upside option who comes cheap to become the Week 1 starter. Goff might also serve as a tutor to the other new quarterbacks on the Seahawks roster.
To me, this should be the worst kept secret in the NFL, that Jared Goff to the Seahawks is an inevitability. But perhaps it really has not been discussed by either side, the Lions may also be waiting to draft a quarterback until 2023.
It’s a one-year contract. One year.
#2 - Trade for Nick Foles (I apologize, it’s not Gardner Minshew)
Deal: Seahawks trade 2023 5th round pick to Bears for Nick Foles, 2022 6th round pick
I see the draft picks as a formality only. The new Chicago Bears regime (head coach Matt Eberflus, general manager Ryan Poles) have no connection to Foles and might just want to clear out that quarterback roster spot to bring one of “their own guys.”
Releasing Foles outright saves the Bears only $3 million, but trading him could save them as much as $8 million if a team pays his $4 million roster bonus. If a team trades for Foles, similar to the Goff proposal, they might actually get a higher draft return to do so by agreeing to pay the roster bonus.
On Foles side, he would just be happy to be traded to a team that would give him a chance to compete to start. He is unbelievably adaptable, having starting at least one game in each of the last 10 seasons, including for six different teams over the last eight years.
Again, like Goff, I am stunned that there hasn’t been more talk and speculation around Foles being traded to the Seahawks this week.
If Seattle trades for Foles this week, they would owe him a $4 million roster bonus and a $4 million salary, and then he would be a free agent in 2023. In the best case scenario, he wins the job and plays well enough to be tagged and traded in a year, or earns the team a compensatory pick. In the worst case scenario, Foles is released during training camp at the cost of pocket change for an NFL quarterback.
Most likely scenario: Foles would be a capable starting option for exactly one season, which is what the Seahawks should be seeking at quarterback this year.
#3 - Sign Jameis Winston to a one-year, $10 million contract ($6 million signing bonus)
Last offseason, Football Team signed Ryan Fitzpatrick to a one-year, $10 million contract with a $6 million signing bonus. This situation feels comparable and necessary if the Seahawks go the free agent route.
I know that people have feelings for Marcus Mariota and it doesn’t matter to me which failed 2015 draft pick Seattle chooses. So long as it’s a one-year contract.
Let me be graciously blunt: there will not be any free agent signings this year at quarterback who will “adequately satisfy a fanbase for many years to come.” Not even for the next two years.
One year. That’s all you should be setting your hopes up for: one NFL season.
I know that there’s nothing I can do to slow down the media/fan obsession with quarterbacks this offseason, but my advice would be to focus on the positions that will have players who are far more likely to still be on the Seahawks in 2023. Quandre Diggs just signed for three more years! I wouldn’t spend too much time thinking about whether or not Seattle should “bring in Marcus Mariota” when his Seahawks career would be more likely to last three games than three seasons.
My three picks:
#1 - Trade for Jared Goff (increase 2022 draft capital)
#2 - Trade for Nick Foles (low $8 million one-year commitment, no picks lost)
#3 - Sign Jameis Winston to a one-year deal (but I don’t care if it’s Marcus Mariota)
It will be hard for anyone to predict what the Seahawks are thinking/doing at quarterback, but given that we almost certainly will hear news soon I figured I’d take my three best shots in the dark. Now you can be gloriously blunt with me:
Goff never occurred to me but if they could move up in this particular draft for a non-QB, would be worth the salary cost for sure. Agree 100% with your logic.
Foles I'm also with you, not only for this year but also as a back-up down the road, clear upgrade vs Geno.
Winston is the one I'm not really crazy about, for a couple of reasons: proclivity for int's on a team that will need to be reliant more on Michael Dickson than the deep ball; and not nuts about his character on a team that should avoid distractions given losing is its own distraction. Thinking maybe Siemian who I think is more likely to accept being a game manager and not a big distraction.
But loved this post!
Stupid sexy logic making sense. sigh... fine. Let's hope there's a QBOTF available for next year. (Trading two 1's to move far enough up is no guarantee)