Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC West [Print without images]

Saturday, February 14, 2009
Mailbag: Seattle and drafting a quarterback

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Chris from parts unknown writes: Mike, I would like to start by saying I think you do quite well at being as objective as you can when writing about the NFC West and I appreciate what you do as a professional. My question to you is this: Is it out of the question for the Seahawks to draft a quarterback this year? I keep reading that the quarterback position is something the Hawks will have to address soon. Could it possibly rub Seneca and Hasselbeck the wrong way if management decides to draft a QB?

Next Q. If the Seahawks don't draft Crabtree (which I think would be a mistake, but that's not my call) does that mean that they are going to address the WR crisis in FA? If so, are they actually gonna go after a high profile WR and end the mediocrity? Seems to me that people don't get praised enough in any line of work so thank you again for all the good things you do and write about.

Mike Sando: Thanks, Chris. The Seahawks considered drafting a quarterback last year. They were monitoring Chad Henne closely and would have strongly considered drafting him if he had remained available. At the same time, I know Mike Holmgren was sensitive to the idea of drafting a quarterback too soon. He didn't want to use a high pick on a quarterback while Hasselbeck appeared to have quite a few strong years remaining.

Hasselbeck's recent injury problems leave the team little choice but to explore its longer-term options at that position. The team can't worry about hurting a player's feelings. This is a competitive sport and I'm sure Hasselbeck and Wallace are confident in their abilities.

The Seahawks will address the receiver situation in the training room, for starters. They have to figure they won't suffer the same number of injuries at that position. Tim Ruskell has said he'll fortify the position this offseason to protect against what happened in 2008. I could see them considering T.J. Houshmandzadeh, if available, but probably not for top dollar.


Heath from parts unknown writes: Looking at all that's been written about Hasselbeck's back, QB seems to be the glaring need of the future for the Seahawks. Missouri's Chase Patton or Ball State's Nate Davis sure would look good in a Seahawks uniform.

Mike Sando: The Seahawks do need to draft a young quarterback for that No. 3 role. Hasselbeck and Wallace should again be the top two guys.


Richard from New York writes: Why does Kurt Warner wear gloves on both hands? Do any other QBs do this? I'm not sure I've seen any others doing this, but wonder if it will become a trend.

Mike Sando: Warner has a history of hand injuries. The gloves help him grip the ball. Other quarterbacks have worn them occasionally. I remember Jim McMahon wearing them at times.


Tanner from California writes: Sando, who do you think is a more likely free agent pick up for the Seahawks, Jim Leonhard, Jarrad Page, or Jermaine Phillips?

Mike Sando: Phillips played for Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley in Tampa Bay. I do not know what Bradley thinks of him. The Seahawks have quite a bit invested in Deon Grant. Grant and Phillips are strong safeties. Grant has the flexibility to play free safety. I don't know if Seattle is considering any of those safeties seriously.


Eileen from White Plains writes: Hey Sando, what do you think of a Boldin for Peppers trade deal?

Mike Sando: I wouldn't have a problem with it from either end.


Victor from Avondale, Ariz., writes: Sando, I wanted to bounce this thought on you after reading you FA blogs. If the Cards trade Q, do you think the Cards have an interest in Bryant Johnson returning? He did have good chemistry with Kurt Warner. (What receiver doesn't though -- hehe) Thanks!

Mike Sando: They would appear more likely to develop Early Doucet for the role.


Dylon from California writes: Mr.Sando your constant Vick bassing is so annoying, the guy made a huge stupid mistake, i agree with that but i feel that should not make him this disgrace of a quaterback. His career as a falcon was succsefull with a good supporting cast who knows how far the falcons could of gone.

The problem i have is you keep mixing his career with his job. I work as an accountant with two convicted felons. One was even for fraud. What Mike Vick did was definatley wrong, no doubt. Vick could be a great assest to any strugling team, such as the Rams, Raiders, Jets, Cowboys, Lions, Browns, or the bengals. Vick may still be able to play QB or he can be moved to WR. Vick is a super athlete i would take back on the falcons, not as a QB though, I do feel Matt Ryan has earned the job.

You constantly dub his completion rating but Vick has taken the falcons just as far as Ryan and Ryans stats are way more attractive. Vick is not a paper QB what he gives you can not be measured in passer rating, and quite honestly QB ratings are a joke. For instance, Rivers had the highest rating, then Pennington, They did not do anything amazing and then Schaub and Rodgers are also in the top 10, they didnt even make the playoffs.

Its definatly not an important stat, and rember when Vick had those great 200 plus passing yard games? Rember the results? they were losses. To summarize i feel Vick is a invaluable assest not measured by stats and with help can lead a now struggling team deep into the playoffs.

Mike Sando: I haven't bashed Vick at all. I was one of the few people defending Vick when I thought people were rushing to judgment without having enough evidence.

Vick was never a very good passing quarterback, in my view. Beyond that, I would not advise an organization to invest six or seven figures in someone who has demonstrated such poor judgment over such an extended period of time.

Society owes Vick another chance. NFL teams owe him nothing and the smart ones will proceed with caution based upon what we know about Vick.

We can agree on this: Even mentioning Vick brings a couple mailbag items along the lines of the one Dylon sent. We'll tackle one more from Rod in Alabama.


Rod from Montgomery writes: I've been reading some of you answers about mike Vick and i was wondering WHy do you dis like him so much I mean yea he is pushing 29 or 30 but isnt bret farve close to forty and Kurt warner Also? And Vick Is also a good passer better than wat his recievers allow him to do look back at his last season against Pittsburgh and Cincinnati he threw two great games in a row for about 8 touchdowns then go back to his Va tEch years He also had great passing plays think about it like my coach says the quarterback is only as good as his recievers are and back when vick was pl
aying Roddy White and Mike Jenkins were dropping too many passes go back and review the tapes before you judge and i think he will be back in the nfl soon (hopefully wit dallas get rid of tony romo)

Mike Sando: Vick's running ability was a big part of what made him dangerous to opposing defenses. Brett Favre and Kurt Warner were passers first. Passing quarterbacks can remain effective as they get older because their passing ability doesn't diminish the way an athlete's running ability diminishes.

Steve Young was a great running quarterback, but he was also a terrific passer. That allowed him to remain effective even after his running ability diminished.

When Vick was with the Falcons, I held the coaching staff partially accountable for failing to develop him as a passer. You make the case that Vick was actually a strong passer, or at least better than people thought. I respectfully disagree.

Vick did pass for seven touchdowns with two interceptions during a two-game stretch against the Steelers and Bengals midway through the 2006 season. He had 14 touchdowns with 11 interceptions in the remaining 14 games. The Falcons lost seven of their final nine games that season and Vick posted a passer rating of 75.7.


Rdo3 from Phoenix writes: Has the nfl ever banned an agent? if not i'm thinking it might be time to make rosenhaus #1 at something. soliciting trades and violating tampering when he has no permission? he has to go.

Mike Sando: The NFLPA suspends agents periodically. My understanding was that Rosenhaus did not violate the letter of the law in sending out that email to NFL teams. He probably violated the spirit of the law, as reflected in the followup email he reportedly sent.


Jeffrey from Phoenix writes: Mike, What are the implications of Drew Rosenhaus bringing up Plaxico Burress, Chad Johnson, and Anquan's name to all the teams as possible players to be traded? The Giants are said to be upset since they didn't give him permission and everything I've seen and heard I would doubt the Cards gave him permission. Could there be any action against him?

Mike Sando: The Cardinals have not given Rosenhaus permission to seek a trade. As I understand it, Rosenhaus would have gotten into trouble if he had begun negotiating with teams. Mike Garafolo seemed to say it pretty succinctly in the article you linked:

"Neither the collective bargaining agreement nor the NFL Players Association regulations for agents prohibit an agent from alerting teams of a player's potential availability via trade. It would be a violation if an agent took steps to facilitate a trade, such as contract negotiations or conversations about compensation. "


Eric from Santa Monica writes: I don't see any slam-dunk OT's available in this year's draft (like Jake Long or Orlando Pace), but there are an unusually large number of guys at the position with a tremendous amount of potential.

Shouldn't the Rams trade down and add another pick or two? They need bodies. They can still draft one of the top available offensive linemen. And, as a bonus, they can send the #2 slot to a team with need at receiver, thus keeping Michael Crabtree out of Seattle and the NFC West.

Doesn't that make sense? Or is this idea just the diabolical machinations of a fan who spends far too much time thinking about this stuff?

Mike Sando: I think the Rams could definitely benefit from trading back in exchange for additional picks. However, teams simply aren't trading into those top spots very often. In researching draft trades last year, I noticed that no team since 1999 had traded into the top five overall picks from lower in the draft. We have had some shuffling within the top five, but in general, teams have a hard time finding anyone willing to give up multiple picks for the chance to move into the top few slots.


Goose from Seattle writes: Mike! You are the shizznit! So my question is regarding the seahawks cap. I read your article about how the seahawks had $20.3 million of cap room, but $15.5 functional cap for free agency. Bottom line, what happens to that $5 million discrepancy between the two? Do we really only have $15.3 to resign all of those free agents that we currently have and also dip into that same money pool to make a splash at some outside players? Thanks!

Mike Sando: The $20.3 million figure was how much cap room the Seahawks had at that time. The $15 million figure represented what the team was likely to have for free agency after we made other allowances (for things such as incentives from 2008, salary escalators for 2009, etc.). I am not expecting the Seahawks to be aggressive players in free agency. They weren't aggressive players last offseason and they appear eager to see what the new coaching staff can get from some of these younger players.


Ant from San Francisco writes: In Tuesday's mailbag you said your ideal scenario would be for the league to reduce to 24 teams with expanded rosters. I've got to know: which eight teams would you deem worthy of contraction? My guess is before this past season the Cardinals would've been on that list. Perhaps Jags, Texans? I'd like to know some and how you'd make the decision.

One last thing: As much as the Niners need a play maker at free safety, why not move Nate Clements to the position? He has range, great hands, knows the defense and is a solid and physical tackler. He could be like Rod Woodson late in his career, going from CB to FS. I think this would work.

Mike Sando: I would hate to be the one deciding which eight markets would lose their teams. My thinking was that a 24-team league would raise the level of play. I had not considered which teams would be eliminated.

On Clements, teams have traditionally valued cornerbacks over safeties. Perhaps we should revisit that based on the contributions high-impact safeties are providing around the league. In the meantime, the 49ers are paying cover-corner money to Clements and they'll want him to play cornerback for them at that price, I think. I do think Clements could project to safety at some point in the future. The question would be, how soon?


Guest49ers from the Bay Area writes: Greetings Mike. I feel Alex Smith should be given the fair opportunity to win his job. Whether the 49ers fans accept it or not, Mike Nolan/Martz never wanted to work with Smith and forced him to a rigorous workout that messed his shoulder up. I feel Singletary should give Smith the opportunity to be our QB.

I feel between Smith and Hill, Smith has the outside advantage and a connection to Bruce will help Smith find the reliable WR. What 49ers fans don't realize is if you get rid of Smith, then JT, who does HIll have for backup? Hill may not last 16 games, so who do the 49ers get for backup? fans seem to think 'FA Journeyman,
but didn't we go through this with JTO and look what happened? Then we have to draft a QB.

What are your feelings on this and why? Also Sando, if 49ers players have a problem with Smith, shouldn't it be addressed? I find it unfair to do a job for Hill, but not to do it for Smith and setting him up to fail.

Mike Sando: The 49ers should definitely treat Smith fairly. They should do everything possible to help him reclaim his career and become a starting-caliber quarterback. At the same time, the 49ers cannot assume Smith will become that type of player. They need to upgrade the position as best they can. They did try to acquire Bruce Gradkowski off waivers. They will presumably continue their efforts to find another veteran backup, and I would not be surprised if they drafted a quarterback as well.

Hill has clearly done more than the other current candidates, but the 49ers cannot assume he'll be the long-term answer, either. Defenses will presumably be better prepared to face him now that they've seen him play several games.