The Seattle Seahawks could take a chance on another quarterback before the 2022 season comes to a close.
According to Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox, the Seahawks could be one of the better landing spots for Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold. As Knox notes, Darnold could be one of the more intriguing trade candidates after he lost the starting job to newcomer Baker Mayfield. Seattle is one of two teams — the other being the Atlanta Falcons — that could take a “flier” on Darnold, according to Knox.
“But with starters mostly healthy going into Week 1, Seattle and Atlanta are the two teams that might take a flier on Darnold,” says Knox. “The Seahawks might want to see if he has more long-term value than Geno Smith and Drew Lock. The Falcons might want a different placeholder if Marcus Mariota struggles early and rookie third-round pick Desmond Ridder isn’t ready for the starting job.”
Darnold is Expendable With Mayfield as Starter
Darnold (ankle) is currently on injured reserve and won’t be eligible to return until Week 5. The 25-year-old quarterback has never been spectacular since the New York Jets used a No. 3 pick to select him, but he’s an experienced quarterback. The fifth-year veteran has served as a starter since his rookie season back in 2018, going 17-32 in his 49 starts.
Knox does warn that Darnold could be more appealing for a contending team that loses its starter in the middle of the season. If that ends up being the case, that would likely rule out the Seahawks, considering they’re expected to be one of the worst teams in the NFL during the 2022 season.
“The tricky part is finding a logical landing spot. For Carolina to find a buyer for Darnold, it’ll likely need a contending team to lose its starter in-season,” says Knox. “If, say, Matthew Stafford goes down for an extended period in L.A., the Rams could view Darnold as a reasonable stopgap.”
Seahawks More Likely to Add Jimmy G Than Darnold
Another factor is the availability of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The Niners restructured his contract, lessening his salary from $24 million to roughly $7 million this season. The move was made to give both sides a better chance at finding a trade partner during the season.
If the Niners are willing to trade Garoppolo — a big “if” — to a division rival, there’s little doubt Seattle would choose Jimmy G over acquiring Darnold. As noted by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Seahawks were interested in the idea of signing Garoppolo if he became a free agent.
Outside of the Seahawks’ reported interest, Garoppolo is simply a better quarterback and one of the few proven winners in the league. The 30-year-old quarterback holds a 33-14 career record (70.2 percent) and has led San Francisco to a Super Bowl and NFC Championship Game appearance in the past three seasons.
According to Pro Football Focus, Garoppolo posted a 74.9 offensive grade last season and a 77.9 offensive grade during the 2019 season (his last two years being healthy). By comparison, Darnold posted a lowly 54.7 offensive grade last season and has never produced higher than a 64.7 offensive grade during his career.
Considering the Seahawks are in a rebuilding mode of sorts, it’s hard to envision a move being made for Darnold with similar stopgap options such as Geno Smith and Drew Lock on the roster. The only realistic scenario in which Seattle pursues Darnold is if the Seahawks are contending for a playoff spot and both Smith and Lock fail as starting quarterback options.
Even that is a big if considering Darnold is owed $18.9 million this season. The Seahawks have $5 million in cap space.
With the trade deadline not until Nov. 1, the Seahawks will have two months to find out which direction they want to head in at quarterback.