Charlie Whitehurst Trade Provides Insight into Seahawks' Draft Intentions

Derek Estes@NotacowCorrespondent IMarch 18, 2010

SAN DIEGO - SEPTEMBER 04:  Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst #6 of the San Diego Chargers calls signals against the San Francisco 49ers on September 4, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.   The Chrgers won 26-7.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Seattle's recent trade with San Diego for quarterback Charlie Whitehurst should have been relatively innocuous.

Picking up a player who, outside of his own club or college hometown, is virtually unknown would barely be a blip on the NFL radar—especially when that player is buried on the depth chart.

Such is the case with Whitehurst, who was the third-string quarterback behind Pro Bowler Philip Rivers and journeyman Billy Volek.

The cost for Whitehurst's services is what raises so many questions. Seattle dropped 20 picks in the second round this year and relinquished its 2011 third round pick in exchange.

That's quite a price to pay for someone who's only thrown two regular season passes in four years as a pro.

To add fuel to the fire, Seattle signed Whitehurst to a new two-year contract worth up to $10 million, counting incentives. It's not the kind of money you spend on someone expected to ride the pine.

So what does it all mean?

Only two quarterbacks in this year's draft are consensus first rounders—Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen—and despite head coach Pete Carroll's vote of confidence for incumbent Matt Hasselbeck, the Seahawks cannot pin their future on a 35-year-old quarterback who has missed 15 games in the last two seasons.

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Moving on Whitehurst as decisively as they did indicates their belief that neither one will be available when the sixth pick of the draft comes along. At the very least, they expect whoever tops their draft board to be gone.

Even if the Rams and Redskins don't both go for a signal caller, Seattle could be hedging their bets against another quarterback-needy team trading up. Detroit, Tampa Bay, and Kansas City could all be potential trade partners for someone like Jacksonville or Buffalo.

Cleveland has also most likely jumped into the quarterback market, having traded away both Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson. While some believe Jake Delhomme's 2009 season was an aberration, he's already turned 35 and is unlikely to represent the future of the team.

Of course, it could just be that Seattle values a different player even higher. The Seahawks have a number of holes to fill on their team—running back and offensive tackle headlining that list. They could address both with the sixth and 14th picks of the draft, though their defensive line is similarly lacking.

One thing is certain: Seattle has taken itself out of the quarterback market. Whether or not it was worth the price remains to be seen.