Though the Seahawks will have Matt Hasselbeck, Seneca Wallace, and presumably Mike Teel on the roster at the quarterback position, it has been widely speculated that the team will use a high pick next year to grab a quarterback.
The team has struggled in the last two seasons with Seneca Wallace under center in Hasselbeck’s extended absences, and a few weeks ago, I called for the team to sign Jeff Garcia to be the backup to Hasselbeck.
But next year, it’s possible that Jake Locker, Colt McCoy, Jimmy Clausen, and Jevan Snead could make up the top tier of quarterbacks available in the draft, and with two first round picks, the Seahawks are in excellent position to take a stab at one of those guys in the first round.
However, Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, who has recently seen his draft stock plummet as a result of two shoulder injuries, may be a suitable bargain for the team.
Quarterbacks taken at the top of the draft are paid at an astronomical level. Matt Stafford received a six-year, $72 million contract before playing a snap in the NFL.
For some perspective, the extension that Hasselbeck signed in 2005 was worth $47 million of six years.
With uncertainty in labor talks, it’s been speculated that in 2011 there will be a salary slotting system for draftees, making top picks, especially mistakes at the top of the first round more affordable.
But the Seahawks may need to act in an uncapped year.
Bradford will undergo surgery on his shoulder, which he sprained in the season opener against BYU, and re-aggravated the injury in his return against the Texas Longhorns. However, he’s already stated that barring a setback in the rehabilitation of his shoulder, he’ll be entering the NFL draft.
With four quarterbacks potentially slotted ahead of Bradford, there’s a distinct possibility that the signal-caller falls to the beginning of the second round, or the back of the first round, where the Seahawks will likely hold two picks (Denver’s first-rounder and Seattle’s natural second-rounder).
Pat White was the only quarterback taken in the second round of the 2009 draft. He signed a four-year deal worth $4.5 million with $2.5 million in guarantees, a far cry from Stafford’s monstrous contract.
Bradford’s mobility, accurate arm, and adequate size make him an ideal fit for the West Coast offense. However, he’s been criticized for putting up numbers behind one of college football’s best offensive lines, which protected him very well in 2008.
Doubters undoubtedly didn’t see anything in 2009 that make them believe that Bradford can deal with pressure in the pocket; rather, it's quite the opposite. Bradford will have to learn to keep himself out of harm’s way, especially in an offense which relies on a quarterback’s mobility within the pocket as essentially an extra blocker.
But with Hasselbeck under center in 2010, Bradford would be allowed the luxury of spending an entire year on the sidelines, being mentored by Hasselbeck, who was once a quarterback in need of tutelage himself.
In recent years, some quarterbacks have slid in drafts to positions much lower than they expected to be drafted. Unfortunately for the drafting team, without a slotting system they’ve had to pay a contract somewhere between the going rate at the position they were drafted, and the rate at the higher position they expected to be drafted at.
Brady Quinn signed a five-year, $9.25 million contract, but the contract included large performance-based escalators, which appear less likely to be reached upon his benching, but could have made the contract worth close to $30 million.
Coming off of a shoulder injury though, the Seahawks may be able to get creative with the language in the contract in order to minimize the risk of signing Bradford.
All things considered, it would be a major coup for the Seahawks to be able to draft a player in the second round that went into the season as the consensus top quarterback available.