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Monday, July 25, 2011
On Seahawks' QB and Rams' cap space

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

John Clayton's latest mailbag offers a couple of tidbits of particular interest in the NFC West. I'll pass along his comments and offer my own take while throwing up the subjects for consideration in the comments.

Clayton: I think the Seattle Seahawks are leaning toward signing Tarvaris Jackson as their starting quarterback and possibly not re-signing Matt Hasselbeck.

My take: I've heard the same rumblings. It's important for the Seahawks to prepare for life after Hasselbeck. Quality of life also matters. Transitioning from Hasselbeck to Jackson is a tough, nearly impossible sell in Seattle. Hasselbeck's résumé features three Pro Bowls, one Super Bowl and a phenomenal performance against New Orleans in the playoffs last season. Yes, Hasselbeck has struggled overall in recent seasons. He has the NFL's lowest passer rating among 19 quarterbacks with at least 35 starts over the last three seasons. Still, would Jackson, Charlie Whitehurst or any other mid-level quarterback have fared appreciably better under the circumstances? The Seahawks' roster has fallen apart around Hasselbeck. The line has been in shambles. The roster and line remain in transition. A nearly 36-year-old quarterback arguably doesn't fit the Seahawks' situation very well. Jackson and Whitehurst have superior mobility. Jackson knows the passing game coordinator Darrell Bevell is bringing to Seattle from Minnesota. He has a 10-10 starting record, including 8-4 as the Vikings' primary starter in 2007. Seattle needs to explore the future at quarterback sometime soon. This could be the year.

Clayton: The St. Louis Rams have $39 million of one-time cap charges on Sam Bradford, Jason Smith and Chris Long, but still have about $12 million of cap room left.

My take: Cap numbers will fluctuate some as the NFL takes into account all factors affecting salary totals. The $12 million figure would be the lowest projected figure in the NFC West. Where there's a will, however, there is often a way. The Rams could find ways to clear more room if they really needed the room to make a move. The Rams do have a few needs, but most of their high-profile positions are filled. For most teams, salary-cap space has not been a legitimate reason for avoiding certain moves. When teams hold back, it's usually because they don't value players enough to invest significantly in them. I'm not expecting an all-out spending spree from the Rams.