Seahawks Make Roster Move, Reveal Decision on Backup Quarterback

Jake Luton Seahawks

Getty Jake Luton will be the Seahawks backup quarterback in Russell Wilson's absence.

The Seattle Seahawks elevated quarterback Jake Luton and receiver Phillip Dorsett from the team’s practice squad ahead of their Sunday Night Football matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The move confirms that Luton will serve as the Seahawks backup quarterback as Russell Wilson recovers from a finger injury.

Prior to the move, Geno Smith was the only quarterback on the Seahawks active roster. Seattle also signed Danny Etling to the practice squad ahead of Week 6 giving the Seahawks three healthy quarterbacks. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll indicated the team has faith in Luton but admitted he has not received many reps in practice prior to Wilson’s injury.

“Well Jakey’s been in the system, this is his deal, he’s been working to get ready for this opportunity,” Carroll explained during his October 13 press conference. “He has not had a lot of work. He’s had to do it kind of on the back burner, but I’ve gone back and looked at his games and all the snaps that he’s had and all the throws that
he’s made just to double check.

“We’ve done that before to see where he is and he’s capable of making a lot of plays, and so we got to keep it really clean for him and make sure that we don’t burden him if he gets a chance to play and give him an opportunity to do what he does. He’s got a real good arm, real strong hose and good release and he’s got good accuracy to him and all that, and so it’ll be a little bit of an experience as we start it up because he hasn’t had a lot of turns. But he’s obviously getting more in practice right now.”

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The Seahawks Worked out Blake Bortles But Did Not Sign the Ex-Jaguars Quarterback

The Seahawks worked out former Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles but opted not to sign the veteran. Instead, the Seahawks brought back Etling who was on the team’s practice squad last season as the de facto emergency quarterback in case COVID-19 impacted the quarterback room. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported the Seahawks are not expected to make a major move at quarterback in Wilson’s absence, instead choosing to lean heavily on Smith.

“The early world out of Seattle is that they’re going to go with Geno Smith,” Fowler detailed on October 10. “They’re not going to look to the street free agent route like a Cam Newton or trade for a Nick Foles. They believe they can win with this guy. I’m told that they’re going to have to kind of limit the explosive plays. It’s not like Russell Wilson where he can just rail off three touchdowns in two minutes, it’s a little different.”

The Seahawks Placed Wilson on IR Meaning the QB Will Miss at Least 3 Games

Seattle has not released an official timeline for Wilson’s return, but the team placed the quarterback on the Injured Reserve list meaning he will miss a minimum of three games. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported that Wilson will be sidelined longer than a month, projecting that the quarterback could return against the Cardinals on November 21.

“Wilson, who was placed on injured reserve earlier this week, is intent on playing again this season, and there is every expectation that will take place, given the nature of his procedure and the time required to heal and play again,” La Canfora detailed. “The Seahawks game against Arizona in Week 11 is the first real opportunity for Wilson to get back on the field, sources said, though the future Hall of Fame quarterback, who never missed a snap prior to this injury, is pushing as hard as possible to play as quickly as possible. He had surgery in the immediate aftermath of the injury.”