Seahawks Projected to Trade For 25-Year-Old Quarterback

Getty Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.

Quarterback trade rumors have swirled around the Seattle Seahawks all offseason after trading their star QB Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos. With training camp already underway, another quarterback has entered the chat.

Alex Kay with Bleacher Report gave their landing spots for some of the league’s top trade targets, including wide receiver Nelson Agholor, running back Kareem Hunt, and disgruntled All-Pro linebacker Roquan Smith.

The Seahawks were also mentioned as a top landing spot for Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold, who is at risk of losing his starting job to Baker Mayfield before Week 1.

“The Seattle Seahawks may be able to get a bargain for a quarterback who is still only 25 years old and has some upside remaining,” Kay said. “Darnold would give the Seahawks a chance at unearthing a franchise QB during a rebuilding year. If he can stay healthy—he has yet to play a full NFL season—and reach the ceiling that made him the No. 3 pick in 2018, there is a chance he’ll emerge as a viable starter.”

Sam Darnold’s Football Career

Although he has yet to find firm footing at the NFL level, Sam Darnold was a successful quarterback before going pro. Coming out of San Clemente High School in California, Darnold was a 4-star recruit and the fifth-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the 2015 high school class.

With offers from programs including Oregon, Northwestern, Tennessee, and Nevada, Darnold decided to stay in-state to play for the USC Trojans. He redshirted his first season, serving as a backup behind Cody Kessler and Max Browne.

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Although he was initially supposed to be Browne’s backup in 2016, Darnold was named the starter just a few weeks into his redshirt freshman season. He had an exceptional year for the Trojans, passing for 3,086 yards, 31 touchdowns, and just nine interceptions. Along with leading USC to a Rose Bowl victory, he became the first freshman to ever win the Archie Griffin Award given to a team’s most valuable player throughout their season.

Darnold had another solid season in 2017, throwing for 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions to earn first-team All-Pac-12 honors. While he had two more years of eligibility, Darnold opted to declare for the 2018 NFL Draft, where he was selected by the New York Jets with the third  overall pick.

The former USC quarterback struggled during his time with the Jets. In three seasons as the starter, he threw 45 touchdowns and 39 interceptions with nine lost fumbles. The Jets went 13-25 over those three seasons with Darnold as the starter.

The Jets ended up trading Darnold to the Panthers prior to the 2021 season in exchange for multiple draft picks. Like his former team, Carolina didn’t have much help around Darnold, leading to him going 4-7 in 11 starts with nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Darnold is still only 25 years old, but he’s yet to have a chance to work in an offense littered with weapons and talent. Now that Mayfield is in Carolina, a team like Seattle could make a move for Darnold to try and give him a fresh start in an offense that could set him up to unlock his full potential.

Who Will Be Seattle’s Starting Quarterback?

Assuming that the Seahawks don’t make a last-minute trade for a quarterback before Week 1, it will be either Geno Smith or Drew Lock starting under center against the Broncos.

As of right now, Smith is currently leading the quarterback battle and will be starting the team’s preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Serving as Wilson’s backup since 2019, Smith has familiarity with the team’s weapons and coaching staff, giving him an early edge.

Lock will have a chance to prove himself, however. Although he struggled in Denver, the former Missouri Tigers quarterback has great arm talent, and some good showings in the preseason games could help him beat out Smith for the QB1 role.

There’s still plenty of time before a decision needs to be made, so Seahawks fans will closely be watching both players in the preseason.

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