3 Backup Quarterback Options for Seahawks

Colby Patnode

Over the past eight seasons, the Seahawks have been blessed with a franchise quarterback who makes them an instant contender every season. Russell Wilson is one of the three best in the business right now and has been remarkably durable, never missing a start and missing just a handful of snaps due to injury in his entire career. 

However, football is a violent game and Wilson has taken many hits in his career. Currently, he is the only quarterback on the Seahawks roster and that simply won't work. While it may not be a priority right now, Seattle will need to address its backup quarterback position in the coming weeks.

Seattle was rumored to be interested in P.J. Walker, the XFL standout from the Houston Roughnecks, but he signed with the Panthers, reuniting with his college coach Matt Rhule. Aside from that, we haven't heard much on the backup quarterback front. Who could come to Seattle to back up Wilson? Let's have a look at some options.

Geno Smith

Why Signing Smith Makes Sense

Occam's Razor states that the simplest solution is often the correct one and re-signing Wilson's backup from last year is pretty simple.

Smith is familiar with the Seahawks culture, offense, coaching staff, and by all accounts works well with Wilson in the film room. In an offseason that will be short of OTAs and mini camps, asking a player from outside the organization to learn the offense without mental or physical reps could be tough.

The Seahawks know what they have in Smith. He is fairly athletic, has a strong arm, and has familiarity on his side. He also brings experience to the table, having started 31 games and appearing in 40 NFL games. For a minimum salary deal, Seattle could do far worse.

Why Seattle Should Look Elsewhere

Smith may have 31 career starts under his belt, but he has no track record of success. In addition, only two of those starts have come in the past four years and he has more career interceptions than touchdowns.

In addition, Smith's upside is non-existent. If disaster strikes and Wilson has to miss multiple weeks, the former West Virginia standout will not win you many games. Instead, he will try not to lose them. With a good defense and run game, that could work fine. Unfortunately, Seattle hasn't had the type of defense necessary to win that way for the past two seasons.

Cardale Jones

Why Signing Jones Makes Sense

Be honest: does anyone else remember Jones was with the Seahawks briefly in 2019? One of the better players in the XFL is free to sign with an NFL team, so why not Seattle?

Unlike Smith, Jones does have some upside in his game. He is a better athlete than Smith and possesses a stronger arm. He has also appeared in a professional football game more recently than Smith and looked relatively good for extended periods of time. Jones is big, strong, athletic, and young with a strong arm to match. There are certainly more tools to work with than many free agent backups that still sit in the market.

Why Seattle Should Look Elsewhere

Jones has a lot of the traits the Seahawks should look for, but even in the XFL playing for the DC Defenders, he struggled with his accuracy. He completed just 54 percent of his passes and threw seven interceptions in five games compared to just four touchdown passes. Jones is a project who is probably better suited for a practice squad than as an emergency backup quarterback.

Blake Bortles

Why Signing Bortles Makes Sense

Look, it is easy to make jokes in regard to this player, but Bortles does have some serious skills that could keep Seattle's head above water if the worst should befall Wilson on the injury front.

Like Smith, Bortles has starting experience in the league. In fact, it was just three seasons ago he led the Jaguars to the AFC title game. Bortles has 73 starts under his belt along with 103 touchdown passes and 75 interceptions. To say Bortles is experienced is an understatement. 

Bortles knows how to manage games and still has the upside to pull a rabbit out of his hat for big games if needed. In addition, he's also a good runner at the position, rushing for 300 or more yards in all five seasons he started for the Jaguars. Experienced, athletic, and filled with upside is a rare combination for a backup, making Bortles the best alternative discussed so far.

Why Seattle Should Look Elsewhere

It all comes down to money. The best backup quarterbacks in the league should make $4-$7 million per season and the Seahawks simply do not have that type of capital to spare. Things are already getting tight against the cap and Schneider still has to sign a rookie class, Jadeveon Clowney, and (hopefully) Everson Griffen. If they had some extra cash lying around, or if Bortles cannot find a job soon, and the money made sense, he would be a great choice for the Seahawks.

These three names represent just the free-agent route Schneider may explore to find a clipboard holder behind Wilson. There are countless options of draft-eligible backup types like Jalen Hurts, Tyler Huntley, and Anthony Gordon that make sense as well.

In addition, there is still the trade route where perhaps a name like Will Grier is made available by the Panthers. Of course, another quarterback may hit the free agent market in coming days. Regardless of who they choose, the Seahawks need to find a quality backup quarterback this offseason as an insurance policy in case Wilson's iron man status takes a hit in 2020.


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