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NFL Draft 2011: Matt Hasselbeck's Return to Seattle Growing Imminent?

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NFL Draft 2011: Matt Hasselbeck's Return to Seattle Growing Imminent?
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Will Hasselbeck remain out in the cold, or is the path being paved for his return in 2011?

The Seattle Seahawks’ selection of versatile, tough offensive lineman James Carpenter in the first round fills a need for a physical presence on the offensive line of scrimmage.

Day one of the draft also saw, however, Jake Locker and Christian Ponder go ahead of Andy Dalton, Ryan Mallett and Colin Kaepernick, all prospects rumored to be potential first round picks on draft day.

Seattle holds one selection on day two—second round, No. 57 overall—and will likely have their final chance to get one of the top seven quarterbacks, if they last that late into round two.

With free agency possibly days away, what about Matt Hasselbeck?

We have learned more over the past couple weeks, with Hasselbeck’s dialogue becoming more focused towards staying in Seattle for family and personal reasons at the least; rumors still run rampant he’s as good as gone.

Pete Carroll didn’t add much in terms of new information towards the situation with Hasselbeck during the Seahawks' Tuesday pre-draft press conference; the dialogue between the two sides went well before the lockout, time just ran out. When the league year starts, conversations will open again.

He added that Charlie Whitehurst would be pumped (he better be) to compete in 2011 and free agency is a wait and see process. Seattle feels “we have our ducks in line” and opportunities may present themselves in the draft, but they can’t forecast that.

Does the addition of James Carpenter increase the chance Hasselbeck returns in 2011?

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We do know the Seahawks want to get younger—that’s a main principle of the new regime’s philosophy. Youth will be a major factor on the offensive line—and presumably the defensive line as well—but will that philosophy immediately extend to the quarterback position?

For starters, the Seahawks no longer have to think about investing first round quarterback money. The 2010 48th pick Jimmy Clausen signed a four year, 3.16 million dollar deal. Any quarterback drafted going forward will not be a salary hindrance.

Second, the possibility of an average talent, hard working, system quarterback being drafted by Seattle remains.

I’ve maintained Schneider teams have two quarterbacks in the first three rounds in 17 years: Aaron Rodgers in the first round, Brian Brohm in the second. The number grows to three with Charlie Whitehurst.

But two taken in the 4th, five in the 5th and two in the 7th tell a different story.

Add in the fact that Schneider was quoted by ESPN’s Mike Sando in recent weeks saying taking a quarterback yearly is part of his personnel philosophy, and both the salary cap space and need for a veteran quarterback is increasing—there is room for two more signal callers on the roster.

The Seahawks know what Hasselbeck brings to the table and it’s valid to question if they feel there is a veteran free agent that is more dependable as a total package—relationship with the city and team included.

It its truly unknown whether Hasselbeck decides to take a little less and stay, or whether Seattle will up the ante on their offer.

By taking a tough, aggressive, pass protection savvy offensive lineman in the first round of the 2011 draft, it's possible Seattle just made the first move towards bringing back their veteran quarterback. And at the very least, Seattle invested in keeping their 2011 third round picks' jersey cleaner during his "rookie" season. 

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