The Seattle Seahawks found themselves in an unexpectedly great situation at the start of the 2012 season. They had two quarterbacks–Russell Wilson and Matt Flynn–that were both capable of being productive starters. The Seahawks brought in Flynn with the expectation that he would be the starter, but with the success and leadership that Wilson showed throughout the 2012 preseason, he won the Seahawks starting quarterback job.
Now the Seahawks have to decide what to do with Flynn. While Flynn is a solid backup quarterback, he is set to make over $11 million over the next two seasons. That is a considerable price for a backup quarterback that hopefully won’t see any playing time.
Flynn came to Seattle with the intent of being the starter, but with Wilson showing that he may be a future NFL superstar, Flynn won’t be starting in Seattle. If Flynn wants to be a starter he won’t re-sign with the Seahawks when his contract expires. If the Seahawks were to part ways with Flynn, the most likely method would be a trade.
With this years draft class being fairly weak in the quarterback department, and with so many teams hurting for quarterbacks, Flynn’s trade value is higher than it will ever be. The Seahawks could get a third round pick for Flynn, or possibly even a second round pick if a team is desperate enough. Flynn has shown that he has the potential to be a successful starting NFL quarterback, and I believe that teams would be interested if he was on the market. But who would the Seahawks bring in to backup Wilson?
Today, former Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck was released by the Tennessee Titans. Hasselbeck would be a great fit as the Seahawks backup quarterback. Hasselbeck, being Jake Locker‘s backup in Tennessee, is already used to limited playing time at this point in his career, yet he can still come in if needed and be effective.
What Hasselbeck can offer at the backup quarterback position that Flynn cannot is experience. Hasselbeck is a 15-year veteran that spent his best years as the Seahawks’ starting quarterback, leading them to Super Bowl XL. He also learned from some of the best quarterbacks and quarterbacks coaches in NFL history. He was brought into the league by the Green Bay Packers, where he backed up Brett Favre and played for Mike Holmgren.
Holmgren was an offensive assistant coach under Bill Walsh for the San Francisco 49ers and their legendary quarterbacks, Joe Montana and Steve Young. There is a good chance that some of that knowledge has trickled down to Hasselbeck. Wilson would have a field day picking Hasselbeck’s brain and learning from a true veteran quarterback. That may be the last piece needed in Wilson’s development into a superstar quarterback.
While Hasselbeck would be a great teacher for Wilson, he is also getting older. Hasselbeck will be 38 next September. The Seahawks may not be able to re-sign Flynn when his contract is up, but the Seahawks would be confident that they had a solid backup through 2015. Exchanging Flynn for Hasselbeck would leave uncertainty after the 2013 season as to who would be backing up Wilson.
His age not only raises the question of how long Hasselbeck will still be playing, but also how effective he would be if Wilson was to get injured. In his two seasons as a Titan, Hasselbeck showed that he could still play in the NFL. He nearly led the Titans to the playoffs in 2011, and played a solid eight games in 2012 backing up Locker. If Hasselbeck can continue his previous performances as a backup, than he should do fine if he was signed by the Seahawks.
The Seahawks don’t need to add much to make their team a Superbowl favorite. They have put together the players and coaches needed to compete. Wilson is a sponge for football knowledge, and giving him unlimited access to a quarterback as experienced as Hasselbeck could be quite the long term investment for this Seahawks franchise. What he could learn from Hasselbeck could help the Seahawks for years to come.