Former Seattle Seahawks center Robbie Tobeck often enjoyed tweaking quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in the media, but he always had Hasselbeck's back when it mattered.
That continued Wednesday when Tobeck, retired and hosting an outdoors show on 710ESPN Seattle, faulted the Seahawks for failing to re-sign Hasselbeck before the 2010 season.
"He is not your long-term guy, just based on his age, but he is your bridge guy," Tobeck told 710ESPN Seattle. "He is the guy that gets you from here to the next guy and you had to know that was going to be an issue, and getting to that next guy was going to be part of the deal going into the last season. You had to know based on his age that heck, we're going to have to get another guy in here if Charlie Whitehurst isn't the answer, and we need Matt Hasselbeck to help us facilitate that."
The Seahawks had recently acquired Whitehurst, and they could not be sure whether Hasselbeck would hold up physically or play well enough to justify an extension. It's debatable whether Hasselbeck did play well enough over the course of the season. A strong finish featuring a playoff victory helped. There's a very good chance Hasselbeck represents their best option for 2011.
Hasselbeck has a strong relationship with coach Pete Carroll. He has an easygoing offensive coordinator in Darrell Bevell. His family has strong roots in Seattle. The team has, by all accounts, been honest with him. This appears to be a healthy relationship even though the circumstances -- tenuous labor situation, Hasselbeck's age and diminished production, the team's need to find a successor -- are less than ideal.
"It's a tough deal for him to pack up and leave," Tobeck said. "It is not all about the money. Matt has made his money. I don't see him moving for money. If he moves, money will be part of it, but opportunity as well. Opportunity to win, opportunity to get back to a Super Bowl and play on a good football team."
Seattle cannot necessarily offer those things in 2011. It's unclear whether another team could offer those things to Hasselbeck, either. Leaving Seattle for Arizona or San Francisco just to spite the Seahawks doesn't strike me as Hasselbeck's style, particularly if the team has been honest with him.
The parameters for a new deal should be relatively straightforward. Hasselbeck earned $6.75 million last season in the final year of a deal that averaged $8 million per season overall. Whitehurst is earning less than that. Seattle could keep Hasselbeck, in my view, by offering him close to his previous average over the next couple seasons. The team could still consider drafting a quarterback while filling other key needs throughout the roster.