Highlights and interpretations from Tim Hasselbeck's appearance Tuesday with Brock Huard and Mike Salk on 710ESPN Seattle:
This discussion focused on Matt Hasselbeck's future with the Seattle Seahawks or elsewhere, with a long look at Kevin Kolb's prospects as a franchise quarterback. Tim Hasselbeck endorsed Kolb as a prospect more likely to become a "very good starter" than to fail. He had no doubt an NFL team could win with Kolb. But he also thought Arizona, not Seattle, would be more likely to invest heavily in Kolb as the future of its franchise. I tend to agree. There's less urgency in Seattle for several reasons, including the fact that coach Pete Carroll is entering only his second season. The team is rebuilding.
Salk has said it's tough to know whether the Seahawks value Kolb highly enough to part with a first-round draft choice (or more) in a trade. That type of commitment would also require rewarding Kolb with a lucrative long-term deal. If Seattle did view Kolb as that type of player, I suspect the team's conversations with Philadelphia would have gained more momentum last offseason.
This was a fairly dispassionate conversation until Charlie Whitehurst's name came up. "Guys don't have press conferences unless they are expected to be the starter," Tim Hasselbeck said. Press conferences? What was this about? Tim Hasselbeck pointed to the long-forgotten (by most of us) news conference Seattle held announcing Whitehurst's acquisition as evidence the team would not invest heavily in another quarterback, Kolb in particular. Seattle played the news conference more as a means to prove all jobs were open to competition, but it naturally felt more personal to the Hasselbeck camp. I don't get the sense the Seahawks' commitment to Whitehurst is great enough to preclude them from seeking an upgrade. The team did not bet its future on Whitehurst. I'm also not convinced Seattle sees clear upgrades available.
While Tim Hasselbeck had generally positive things to say about Kolb, he discounted Carson Palmer's level of play and bristled at the idea Seattle would offer Matt Hasselbeck anywhere close to the one-year, $5 million deal Alex Smith is expected to sign with San Francisco. I get it. Matt Hasselbeck is far more accomplished than Smith. He's been to three Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl. Smith has better stats and a better starting record over the past two seasons, however. Hasselbeck should get more -- he was outstanding during the playoffs last season -- but he hasn't been challenging for Pro Bowls recently, either.
Tim Hasselbeck expressed respect for Kyle Orton while questioning whether Orton would fit well with the offensive scheme Seattle will run under new coordinator Darrell Bevell. Tim Hasselbeck also acknowledged that Matt Hasselbeck would have to learn new terminology if he signed with Tennessee, a team with interest in a veteran bridge to rookie Jake Locker. I don't think the Titans will offer substantially more than Seattle ultimately offers Hasselbeck.
Matt Hasselbeck has said he wants to re-sign with Seattle. Tim Hasselbeck affirmed that thinking. Matt Hasselbeck has reportedly sought a deal offering security beyond one season. I doubt he could get such a deal from Tennessee given Locker's presence. Minnesota likely wouldn't offer longer-term security with Christian Ponder in the picture. What is the market for Hasselbeck outside Seattle?
Expectations for a new labor deal include the potential for a three-day window during which teams could try to sign their own free agents. Such a window could prove critical in making sure there's time to let cooler heads prevail should negotiations become emotional.
I have a hard time envisioning Hasselbeck relocating his family at this stage of his career as long as the Seahawks make an honest offer while treating Hasselbeck with the respect he has earned over the past decade.