At 1pm today the NFL opens its free agency season. When they do some rumors have it that the Seattle Seahawks will be very involved in early activity. It’s a good thing. With San Francisco having won 13-games and missing the Super Bowl by a fumbled punt; the St. Louis Rams having landed a plethora of draft picks by trading the number-two overall, and rumor that Arizona is Peyton Manning‘s first choice
; the Seahawks suddenly look like the fourth best team in the four team NFC West. To be clear, they are already the third best team having lost the regular season finale to the Cardinals and closing the 2011 season with a 7-9 record for the second straight year. Without a good draft next month along with the signing of some key free agents Seattle is doomed to mediocrity at best. And I wonder if Pete Carroll can survive a third straight losing season.
The Seahawks have one glaring need in order to assure their rapid improvement. A blind man without a stick or a dog could see it. They need a good quarterback. They haven’t had one in at least three years. Matt Hassellback’s injury filled last two years don’t count as Seattle having a good quarterback. And Tarvaris Jackson just plain sucks and cannot be an option going forward. To be fair to Jackson he played to his statistics, posting a 79-passer rating compared to a 77 career passer rating. His problem, in my opinion is that he is the worst 2-minute drill quarterback I have ever seen. Not just at the end of the game, but at the end of the first half time and again this past season he showed himself completely incapable of managing a team or completing passes when it was most urgent to do so.
Wide spread speculation has Seattle making a play for Green Bay backup Matt Flynn. Quick…answer this question: Who holds the Green Bay Packers record for most touchdowns and most passing yards in a game?:
A. Brett Favre
C. Bart Starr
D. None of the above.
Remarkably the answer is “D”. Matt Flynn has started two regular season NFL games in his career. Given that he backs up last season’s league MVP that can’t be too much of a surprise. But in one of those two games last season against the playoff bound Detroit Lions Flynn led his team to a win while throwing 6 touchdowns, and nearly 500 yards…in Green Bay…in January. His resume is more substantial than just one game. Flynn was a 7th round draft pick out of Louisiana State in 2008. He led the Bayou Bengals to a National Championship in his one season as a starter. This guy is a winner. Sign him Seahawks.
If the Hawks don’t sign Flynn Arizona’s possible signing of Peyton Manning would free-up Kevin Kolb for the 2nd straight season. He would be an improvement over Jackson. Possibly a big improvement.
Seattle also has a need to improve its pass rush which was amazingly weak for such a strong defense. Imagine how much better our strong young secondary will look when quarterbacks have 1-2 fewer seconds to hold the ball and wait for receivers to come open. We placed two defensive backs on the NFC Pro Bowl team while having only 33 sacks on the year compared to 50 allowed to the opponents.
Free agency does seem to offer a possible solution for Seattle that the draft is not likely to. Seattle picks 12th in the 1st round of the draft, and historically all the impact pass rushers (and quarterbacks) are long gone by the 12th pick; like former number one draft pick Mario Williams. The Houston Texans All-Pro Defensive End is now a free agent. He could be a big solution for a team not needing too many answers on the defensive side of the ball. You CAN get excited too. ESPN football guru John Clayton says the Seahawks signing Williams is a better than 50% possibility. That’s huge!
If the Seahawks can address their two biggest needs in free agency than their draft next month can go a long way toward filling the need for strong backup performers and building a team that can compete in the increasingly strong NFC West. Call me crazy, but I’m optimistic.
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