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Why Seahawks Claimed Jacob Eason

The Seahawks claimed Washington native Jacob Eason off waivers on Wednesday. But why is Eason here and not Cam Newton?

Quarterback news is always worth noting, even when it is relatively minor. The Seahawks made such a move when they claimed former Washington prep standout and former University of Washington signal called Jacob Eason off waivers from the Colts. This may naturally lead to the question: why would the Seahawks be interested in a second-year quarterback with five career snaps of regular season football? 

First and foremost: Eason isn't here to push for the starting job. The Seahawks appear committed to Geno Smith, who did a fine job on Sunday night in Pittsburgh, playing mostly mistake-free football until a fumble on the final drive resulted in a Seahawks loss. They've been in contact with Cam Newton, but a deal doesn't appear likely at this time. Seattle has maintained that Russell Wilson has a chance to return to the lineup in Week 10, and if this is the case, Smith's tenure as starter will end after just three games. So why was Eason brought in?

It's actually not all that difficult to imagine why the Seahawks front office, and especially Pete Carroll, would be interested in Eason. The natural skills are easy to see. He has the prototypical size for the position. His arm is amongst the best in the league. 

Carroll never shies away from bringing in former top recruits to his system. Eason was a five-star recruit in 2016 and was rated as the best prep QB in the country by Rivals.

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Eason drew comparisons to Matthew Stafford early at Georgia but was eventually replaced by Jake Fromm after Eason suffered a hyperextended knee in his first game as a true sophomore. Eason would never get his job back at Georgia, and would instead transfer to UW where he led the 2019 Huskies to an eight-win season.

Eason has a raw arm that is only rivaled by Wilson's and shows good touch and accuracy on the deep ball. What remains interesting about Eason, is that the closer to the line of scrimmage he gets, the less accurate he becomes. He'll sometimes struggle with touch velocity and occasionally will create drops by overthrowing the football. 

He trusts his arm and it's easy to see why. He's also able to extend the play if necessary but isn't a runner like Smith or Wilson. He showed a good feel for stepping up into the pocket this preseason—something he sometimes struggled to do at Washington—instead opting to try to spin or leak out of the pocket at the wrong time. This isn't to say he's a bad athlete, but Eason operates best from within the pocket and isn't a great improviser. 

This is all well and good, but we still haven't answered the question: why Jacob Eason? What may be important to consider here is that the claiming of Eason may have nothing to do with Wilson's injury. While it is easy to connect the two, it's actually more likely that Eason would have appealed to John Schneider, Shane Waldron and Carroll whether or not Wilson was healthy. Seattle has talked about finding a young quarterback to groom and Schneider will talk about it every offseason, but thus far, he's failed to secure a young QB worth developing. Perhaps Eason is that player.

So when you wonder why Eason was claimed instead of the team signing Cam Newton, you may need to first accept that the two aren't actually connected. Eason has a ton of raw talent, something Carroll strongly desires on his practice field. In all likelihood, Eason never throws a pass for the Seahawks and is waived in a few weeks. But on the five percent chance he flashes during practice, snagging a young, talented backup you might be able to develop for free is never a bad thing.