Could Dwayne Haskins Be Seahawks Backup Plan in 2021?

The Seahawks have never had a backup quarterback that carries starter potential. On Monday, one such player was released in Haskins, who could be worth taking a flier on to learn from Russell Wilson and Brian Schottenheimer.
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The Seahawks will have quite a few players to re-sign when the offseason opens in March and finding a backup quarterback likely isn't high on their list. They appear perfectly content with Geno Smith behind Russell Wilson, though they'll need to re-sign him first.

But the Washington Football Team just waived 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins, who certainly carries more upside than Smith. Might he be a possibility general manager John Schneider considers now that he's passed through waivers?

Since Seattle or any other team now won't have to take on his contract worth $8.4 million over the next two years, Haskins could make sense on a futures contract, or as a one-year contract after the season ends. The problem is, the former Ohio State standout has been awful in his two NFL seasons.

In 13 starts, Haskins has thrown just 12 touchdowns to 14 interceptions, completing just 60.1 percent of his passes and going 3-10 as a starter. He lost his starting job early in 2020 after a new regime, led by former Panthers coach Ron Rivera, chose Kyle Allen over him. But Allen went on injured reserve shortly after being named the starter, giving veteran Alex Smith a chance to start, keeping Haskins as a backup. But he would get his chance to play after Smith suffered a calf strain.

His start against the Seahawks two weeks ago showed some of his promise as an NFL quarterback, as he threw for 295 yards while completing 69.1 percent of his passes and adding 28 rushing yards. Against a rapidly improving Seahawks defense, these are solid numbers for a backup to post.

Unfortunately, Haskins made a really bad decision and violated COVID protocols after the game when pictures leaked of him at a strip club without a mask on. Washington stripped him of his captain duties the following day. He made a start against the Panthers on Sunday, but performed poorly and was eventually benched before his somewhat surprising release on Monday morning.

On the surface, Haskins has been nothing short of a bust as a first-round pick and has displayed immaturity in multiple instances, not a trait you necessarily hunt for in your quarterback room. But there are a few things we know about coach Pete Carroll that make this a potential fit. First, we know that the Seahawks love former first-round picks and former top recruits. Haskins was the 15th overall pick in 2019 and is a former four-star recruit.

Second, we know that Carroll truly believes that his culture can help any player get on the right track. The Seahawks track record on this belief has been hit and miss, but has produced such hits as Marshawn Lynch and Frank Clark.

From a pure scouting perspective, Haskins still has a number of interesting tools to work with, including a rocket for an arm. He possesses functional mobility in the pocket and can steal some yards with his legs outside of the pocket, though he isn’t a game breaking runner. He has a smooth throwing motion and the ability to hit home runs with his deep ball. He’s athletic enough to throw from different arm angles when needed and has the prototypical size desired by some coaching staffs.

But Haskins is a bit of a risk taker with sloppy mechanics in his lower half. This will occasionally lead to high throws, a symptom that manifested itself on the both of his interceptions against the Seahawks. He struggles to understand zone concepts and can try to force things when his primary and secondary read are covered. While he’s capable of throwing with touch, he doesn’t always utilize it properly.

What Dwayne Haskins needs is a quarterback coach that can develop him away from the spotlight. If he isn’t hired away as a head coach, Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer could be the ideal match. Schottenheimer has received rave reviews from the likes of Russell Wilson and Drew Brees, helping both take the next step in their maturation. 

With Schottenheimer’s coaching, Wilson’s mentorship, and the Seahawks culture fostered by Pete Carroll, there are few landing spots better for Haskins to salvage his NFL career. But will the Seahawks be willing to take that chance? Or will they even have a shot to sign him if they want to? Only time will tell.