We are officially in uncharted territory. Next weekend, the Seahawks will line up with a new starting quarterback whose name isn't Russell Wilson. Seattle is expected to be without Wilson until at least mid-November after undergoing surgery to repair the ruptured middle-finger tendon in his throwing hand.
Geno Smith came in and performed admirably against a tough Rams defense. But the track record of Smith leaves much to be desired, so could the Seahawks look for an upgrade?
Let's start right here: Geno Smith is going to be the starter for at least the next few weeks. Even if Seattle acquired a new quarterback tomorrow, it would be hard to justify starting them over Smith, who's learned offensive coordinator Shane Walrdon's playbook over the past nine months. However, even if Smith is better than the new QB, Seattle will still need a backup if something happens to him. But are there any candidates out there? Actually, there are a few.
The former Super Bowl-winning quarterback currently sits third on the Bears' depth chart and has all the experience a team could want. He's even had some success in the league, albeit in an inconsistent manner. Foles is likely a slight upgrade over Smith but comes with large salary cap hits this year and next, even with the team likely to cut him after the season. If Chicago wanted to send money with Foles to recoup a seventh-round pick, Seattle could be interested, but it just isn't likely.
Foles' teammate Andy Dalton may actually make more sense. The Bears just named Justin Fields their starter going forward and while Dalton isn't a sexy choice, he's certainly the most experienced QB who is likely to be available. At his best, Dalton is a classic game manager who understands his limitations and how to play within them. He's not exciting, but he's only due about $2 million for the rest of this season and serves as a sizeable upgrade to Smith. Dalton's veteran presence could mean something to the Bears, but with Foles still in town, the position is well-manned. Dalton for a late-round pick makes a lot of fo sense for both Chicago and Seattle.
It isn't often that a player gets traded twice in the same season. But Minshew was acquired by the Eagles as a safety net for Jalen Hurts, who has shown to have made some solid progress thus far. Philadelphia still has Joe Flacco (who could make sense as well) and Minshew was always a bit of a luxury for the Eagles anyways. The former Washington State standout is the perfect game manager who carries upside that Smith simply does not. In addition, he'll be under contract through next season, giving the Seahawks an option should the Wilson rumors fire up again. Because he's not just a short-term option, Minshew may cost Seattle their extra fourth-round pick in 2022, but he very well could be worth it if the deal keeps the team's postseason hopes alive.
Luton was with the team up until Week 3 when he was released. But he understands the offense and has some equity in the building, making him a fairly obvious candidate to return. He's a pure backup quarterback, so there is very little upside to his return.
Bortles has experience with Waldron's style of offense and has the experience that makes him an option worth considering.
Seahawks fans should be familiar with Mullens, who has torched the Seahawks on several occasions. He's not that special, but he also has plenty of experience in a Shanahan-style offense.
It's worth mentioning Newton, but there isn't much of a fit for him on this roster. He's a veteran with a long history of success, but he looked bad in 2020 and was unable to beat out rookie Mac Jones in Patriots training camp.
Ultimately, very few options make more sense than Smith, though Seattle does absolutely need to add another quarterback to its 53-man roster. There are no perfect solutions and most everything about the Wilson situation is unfortunate. But it's unlikely that Pete Carroll and John Schneider won't try to keep their heads above water until Wilson can return, so acquiring legitimate competition for Smith would be a wise move for the Seahawks.