Seattle Seahawks 90-Man Roundup: Is Sam Howell Seahawks' Future at QB?

Instead of pursuing a quarterback in the NFL Draft, the Seahawks traded with the Washington Commanders for Howell. Is he the future for Seattle?
Quarterback Sam Howell prepares for a drill during the Seahawks fifth OTA practice at the VMAC.
Quarterback Sam Howell prepares for a drill during the Seahawks fifth OTA practice at the VMAC. / Corbin Smith/All Seahawks
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The Seattle Seahawks will open training camp at the VMAC in less than a month, officially ushering in the first season under new coach Mike Macdonald.

In preparation for the new incoming season, we’ll be detailing every member of the Seahawks 90-man roster over the next several weeks, diving into scheme fits, exploring best and worst case scenarios and predicting what to expect from each player entering the 2024 campaign.

After being acquired from the Washington Commanders, is quarterback Sam Howell the future under center for the Seahawks?


A four-star recruit coming out of high school, Howell committed to North Carolina and spent three seasons with the Tar Heels as the starter. During his college career, Howell was highly productive throwing for 10,283 yards and 92 touchdowns while also rushing for 1,009 yards and 17 touchdowns. He shifted his focus for the Tar Heels during his final season in 2021 due to tchanges in offensive personnel and accumulated over 80 percent of his career rushing yards. After being projected by many analysts to go first overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, he fell to the fifth round where he was selected by the Commanders. Howell earned the chance to start for Washington in 2023 after a strong Week 18 performance against Dallas where he got the win. He started all 17 games for the Commanders in an up and down season, leading the league in three categories: attempts, interceptions, and sacks taken. Seattle dealt for Howell as a potential future starter in March.

Scheme Fit

Howell's best traits are accentuated when throwing the football down the field. Offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb loves to attack down the field and Howell has a howitzer to attack every blade of grass, even if his decision making wasn't always on point last season. His running ability will also be an asset as Michael Penix Jr.'s was in Washington's offense under Grubb.

Best Case Scenario

Howell thrives during training camp and the preseason and shows that the talent he displayed at North Carolina is still there. He gets onto the field either due to an injury or poor performance from Geno Smith and doesn't let go of the starting job. Figuring out the slow trigger that cost him multiple times in Washington , Howell shows signs of being a franchise quarterback for the Seahawks.

Worst Case Scenario

The one season as a starter in Washington wasn't an aberration, instead proving to be a trend. Howell struggles with being a decisive decision maker and it continues to cause sacks, stalling out drives, and eliminating scoring chances in the preseason. He doesn't look like he can be the future of the Seahawks and more questions arise about why John Schneider traded draft capital for him.

What to Expect in 2024

No matter what happens with Howell this season, the good news for the Seahawks is that he doesn't turn 24 until September 16. He is a young player who has time to grow and develop into the plus starter who many believed he would become. It's also not completely fair to judge him on just one season as a starter with a lot of dysfunction around him in Washington.

Now, just because he should be given grace for last season doesn't mean it's a guarantee that Howell will develop, however. The issues he has are real and need to be worked out. However, he stands to benefit from Smith being ahead of him as the starting quarterback with the veteran's own past experience going from being the starter to a backup on a new team. Smith came out ahead as the Seahawks starter years later and his experience will be helpful for Howell moving forward.

Right now, expectations for Howell should be kept to a minimum. He is a good player with a lot of talent. However, the aforementioned issues are real and he needs time to iron them out. The Seahawks are lucky to have a backup to keep them competitive if something does happen to Smith and in time, he could still be the answer under center long-term.

Previous 90-Man Roundups

Buddha Jones | Devin Richardson | TaMerik Williams | Rason Williams II | Ro Torrence | Nathan Pickering | Dee Williams | Devere Levelston | Kobe Lewis | Sunny Anderson | Mike Novitsky | Max Pircher | Easton Gibbs | Hayden Hatten | Garret Greenfield | Carlton Johnson | Matt Gotel |George Holani | Cody White | Ty Okada | Drake Thomas | McClendon Curtis | Easop Winston Jr. |Nelson Ceaser | Jonathan Sutherland | Lance Boykin | Joshua Onujiogu | Patrick O'Connell |Jack Westover | Raiqwon O'Neal | Tyler Mabry | Dareke Young | Tremayne Anchrum | DJ James | Artie Burns Kenny McIntosh | Myles Adams | Dee Eskridge | Stone Forsythe | Tyrice Knight |Jerrick Reed II | Mike Morris | Coby Bryant Jake Bobo | Jon Rhattigan | Nick Harris | Johnathan Hankins | Derick Hall | Laviska Shenault | PJ Walker | K'Von Wallace

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Tyler Forness