Pete Carroll and John Schneider said what anybody would, or should, have expected during their news conference Wednesday to announce the trading of Russell Wilson — that they firmly believe in the potential of Drew Lock to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
“We’re excited about it,’’ said Schneider, the Seahawks’ general manager, of Lock, who went 8-13 with Denver the past three years after being taken in the second round in the 2019 draft out of Missouri. “We’re excited about a change of scenery for him.’’
What especially excites the Seahawks is Lock’s starting stint in the last five games of his rookie year in 2019 when he led Denver to a 4-1 record.
Among Lock’s four wins that season was a three-touchdown performance in a 38-24 victory over the Texans, who won 10 games and advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
“All of the promise, all of what you hoped to see, the numbers and stuff showed that he was going to have a great run in his career,’’ Carroll said.
So, despite the thought that Lock was a throw-in in the deal — a player the Broncos didn’t seem to need anymore and the Seahawks suddenly needing anyone it can find to play quarterback — maybe the Seahawks really did think he was a vital piece.
The next week or so figures to indicate how firm they are in that belief.
Friday’s stunning news that Deshaun Watson had chosen the Cleveland Browns means Baker Mayfield has undoubtedly played his last snap with the team that took him first overall in the 2018 draft. More proof of that came Saturday when it was reported the Browns will sign Jacoby Brissett to be Watson’s backup and a viable option to start if Watson is suspended by the NFL
As long as Mayfield is available, there figure to be rumors that the Seahawks will be among his suitors, even if it’s also been reported that Mayfield’s preference is to go to the Colts.
Since he does not have a no-trade clause, it’s hard to know how much Mayfield’s preference matters.
While the speculation connecting Mayfield and Seattle is inevitable, it’s worth wondering how real the Seahawks’ interest is.
There’s some thought that the Seahawks really are: (A) interested in seeing what they have in Lock, and (B) not in a hurry to rush into a significant investment in a quarterback this year when they have a $26 million dead cap money — salary cap space devoted to players no longer on the team — with Wilson and $44 million in dead money overall, which is third most in the NFL and an unprecedented number for the Seahawks, who usually carry among the least dead money in the league.
Maybe, the Seahawks will think it makes more sense to see what they have in Lock and wait a year when they will have two first-round picks, no sizable contractual obligation to a quarterback and ample cap space. The Seahawks’ only dead money for 2023 is $4.2 million for Carlos Dunlap after his release Friday.
Not that the Seahawks couldn’t still make a move with a cheaper veteran or find another young QB. They have to do something to fill out the QB spot since Lock and Jacob Eason are the only ones on the roster.
The Seahawks are expected to re-sign Geno Smith, but even with that trio it would be little surprise if the Seahawks added someone else to the mix (given Carroll’s noncommittal comments Wednesday, you can probably rule out Colin Kaepernick).
One possibility that has been rumored in large part because of his local connection is former Washington State standout Gardner Minshew, currently the backup for the Eagles.
To be clear, there have been no reports linking the Seahawks to Minshew. The point here is more that someone like Minshew — someone who wouldn’t cost a lot either in money (he has a $2.54 million non-guaranteed salary in 2022) or assets — might be more what the Seahawks are thinking than trying to go big with someone such as Mayfield, who has a guaranteed salary and cap hit of $18.58 million in 2022.
Minshew would obviously be a fun addition due to his WSU popularity, and he’s shown more than enough potential to be worth taking a shot on. He’s 8-14 as a starter while making all but two of those for bad Jacksonville teams, but maybe more impressively to Carroll would be his 41-12 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Minshew’s interception rate of 1.4 would be second-best in NFL history behind only the 1.31 of Aaron Rodgers if he had enough attempts to qualify (1,500 are needed, Minshew has 847).
Remember, it’s all about the ball.
Could it also really be all about Drew Lock?
Asked if he felt the Seahawks could win a championship with Lock, Carroll again referred to his play as a rookie when he had a 7-3 TD-to-interception ratio and completed 70.2% of his passes with a 117.0 passer rating on third down.
“If he plays like he did early on, I think we’ve got a shot,’’ Carroll said. “You go back to his first year when he was balling as a rookie, when he was 4-1, his third-down numbers were terrific. Taking care of the football really well. … We think he’s still that guy and so we’ll see.’’
Just how invested the Seahawks really are in Lock for 2022 figures to become clear soon in whether they invest in anyone else.