Depth Chart Heading Into Training Camp
1. Matt Hasselbeck
2. Charlie Whitehurst
3. J.P. Losman
The arrivals of head coach Pete Carroll, offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates, and general manager John Schneider had many experts felt that Hasselbeck’s nine years in Seattle, including the last 7 as the unquestioned starting quarterback, were at an end.
Speculation was rampant that Hasselbeck could be traded to Cleveland, an organization headed by former Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren. Or to Minnesota, if Brett Favre decided his 20th season would be his last.
That was never the plan, though, as Carroll and Bates valued Hasselbeck’s experience and football IQ to help implement the new offensive system. Relying on an inexperienced passer to put the system in place during this pivotal off-season could have had a ripple effect throughout the entire offense, which they hope sticking with Hasselbeck has avoided.
Hasselbeck turns 35 in September, and his contract is up after the upcoming season. Hasselbeck’s age and contract status prompted the new front office to address the long-term health of the quarterback position this off-season.
The Seahawks swapped 2010 second-round picks with the San Diego Chargers, and included a 2011 third-round pick to acquire Whitehurst. A 2006 third-round pick who has been the Chargers’ #3 quarterback, Whitehurst has yet to attempt a pass in a regular season NFL game. Seattle signed Whitehurst to a two-year, $8 million dollar contract, which through incentives, could be worth as much as $10 million dollars, drawing much criticism from the national media.
Whitehurst was brought in to compete with Hasselbeck for the starting job, which was viewed as a benefit since Hasselbeck has not had to do that since battling Trent Dilfer in 2002. The most-likely scenario was always Whitehurst serving as a backup this season, and competing against someone (Hasselbeck, 2011 draft pick) for the starting job in 2011.
Continuing the competition theme, Seattle brought in 2004 first-round quarterback J.P. Losman for a workout in May. Losman started 33 games for the Buffalo Bills between 2004-08, and his mobility and strong arm impressed Seattle’s decision-makers. Losman signed a one-year contract to compete for the backup job with Whitehurst.
Several accounts out of Seahawks’ OTAs and mini-camps have Losman already ahead of Whitehurst. Given Losman’s previous experience as a starting quarterback in the NFL, he could be the more logical choice to be the #2 quarterback on Sundays this Fall, though those roles will be sorted out during the pre-season.
Heading into the 2010 season, it is clear that the Seahawks remain Matthew Hasselbeck’s team. If #8 stays healthy, and the ‘Hawks makes even a semi-serious run at an NFC West title, Hasselbeck could very well receive a new contract that keeps him in Seattle for the remainder of his playing career.