Seattle Seahawks: Replace Seneca Wallace with Ryan Lilja

Chris CluffCorrespondent IIMarch 9, 2010

BALTIMORE - NOVEMBER 22:  Ryan Lilja #65 of the Indianapolis Colts defends against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 22, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Colts defeated the Ravens 17-15. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

The failed seven-year Seneca Wallace experiment is over, and the Seattle Seahawks can now look for a legitimate quarterback to back up Matt Hasselbeck. But first they should beef up Hasselbeck’s protection by signing guard Ryan Lilja.


Released by Indy after six years with the Colts, Lilja is now the top guard on the market—and a guy the Hawks should jump on ASAP.


As the Colts’ starting left guard, Lilja had no penalties in 16 starts last season and was charged with giving up just one sack. Those are easily the best stats of any free-agent guard this year, including Pro Bowl guards Jahri Evans and Logan Mankins.


Evans had four penalties (one false start and three holds) and gave up two sacks. Mankins had seven penalties (four false starts and three holds) and gave up one sack.


Lilja, 6'2'' and 290 pounds, was cut by the Colts reportedly because they want to get bigger on the line. Well, the Hawks just want mobile guys, and Lilja could fit right in.


The Hawks should jump on him right away. Adding him and Ben Hamilton would seriously upgrade their line situation heading into the draft, leaving only a left tackle as a need.


Meanwhile, the trade sending Wallace to Cleveland was the first “big” move of the Pete Carroll-John Schneider era, representing in some ways the new direction of the Seahawks.


The 2011 draft compensation Seattle received from Cleveland was not revealed, which means it’s probably a conditional pick.


Cleveland has four fifth-round picks in the 2010 draft, and the Hawks surely could have had one of them if the Browns weren’t offering a better deal in 2011. So the guess is it’s a 2011 fifth-rounder that can upgrade to a third- or fourth-rounder based on how much Wallace plays in 2010.


A fourth-round pick in 2003, Wallace became Mike Holmgren’s pet project after convincing Holmgren to let him remain a quarterback instead of moving to wide receiver.


From 2003 to 2008, Wallace was nurtured by Holmgren, but he never fully justified Holmgren’s faith when he got to play. Wallace was only 5-9 as a relief starter for Hasselbeck.


Having proven his inability to win as a starter in the NFL and with no ties to Seattle’s new coaches, Wallace rejoins Holmgren, who needs Wallace to help teach Brady Quinn or a rookie quarterback Holmgren’s West Coast scheme.


Meanwhile, the Hawks are now in the market for a new backup for Hasselbeck. The only other quarterback on the roster is second-year project Mike Teel.  


Immediate speculation has the Seahawks picking up Cleveland QB Derek Anderson, who was released Tuesday in the wake of the Browns' acquisition of Wallace.


The Hawks also could sign a veteran like Jake Delhomme or Rex Grossman—or Marc Bulger if/when he is released. Grossman knows the offense, having played in it for Houston last season. But Delhomme and Bulger are better quarterbacks.





**Even though Aaron Kampman signed with Jacksonville, the Hawks still have options at defensive end. They reportedly brought in Tyler Brayton on Monday. They also could look at Charles Grant and Adewale Ogunleye. Grant, 31, had 5.5 sacks last season for the Saints, who cut him last week. Ogunleye, 32, had 6.5 sacks for Chicago last season. Any of them could be a moderately priced addition in the next couple of weeks.


**The Seahawks reportedly are interested in CB Leigh Bodden, although New England and Houston seem to be the most active teams in pursuing him. None of the other best available corners—Lito Sheppard, Fred Smoot, Nick Harper—look capable of beating out Josh Wilson for the right-side gig, so the Hawks’ best move might be simply to re-sign Ken Lucas.


**No way the Hawks are giving up the No. 6 pick in the draft for WR Brandon Marshall. The Broncos know they won’t get a first rounder for him, but they are obligated to posture as if that’s all they will take. The bet here is this deal will get done, but perhaps not until draft day. The most the Hawks will give up are their second and fourth rounders.