Seahawks face final decision on Hasselbeck
Keeping Matt Hasselbeck remains best option for Seahawks in abridged season
Seattle Times staff columnist
Not even the NFL lockout could prevent the spread of Matt Hasselbeck rumors. The league was banned from doing anything of consequence for four months, but in that span, the Seahawks quarterback went, at least in media perception, from priority No. 1 to persona non grata.
How did that happen? Well, it didn't happen. The Seahawks have neither made a definitive decision on Hasselbeck, nor has No. 8 made a definitive decision on them. They're a team with many options and a flexible plan; he's a free agent with many options and a flexible plan.
But the NFL's nothingness created impatience, which resulted in educated guesses based on incomplete information, and all of a sudden, it seems a near certainty that the Seahawks will part with the most successful quarterback in franchise history.
It's not exactly false, unless you claim it to be an absolute truth. Ultimately, it's a mess of speculation, and the only good news is that closure should come this week.
It figures that the Seahawks' quarterback situation, a polarizing debate, would include polarizing coverage en route to a polarizing conclusion. It seems that half of the Seahawks-loving community wants to rub the head of its favorite bald quarterback a few more times. And half wants to slap Hasselbeck in the back of the head until he runs away.
Both sides have a legitimate argument because few athletes have straddled the line between capable and creaky like Hasselbeck. There's significant evidence that he still has game. There's just as much evidence that the Seahawks should be leery of letting Hasselbeck, who turns 36 in September, get too much older on their dime.
Wade through the discussion, and as I've written in this space many times, the decision should come down to this: It's foolish to dismiss Hasselbeck if he's still the best option. So, what the Seahawks should do is obvious: Play it safe during the truncated, lockout-burdened free-agency period and stick with a proven commodity. The pro-Hasselbeck sentiment is especially persuasive because the season starts in less than seven weeks, which would make starting anew quite difficult. If Hasselbeck wants a true two-year deal, the Seahawks should take a deep breath and give it to him.
What the Seahawks will do, however, is a mystery. It might even turn out to be a horror flick.
Coming soon to a theater near you: "Win For Never," co-starring Tavaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst.
Say it ain't so, rumormongers.
For now, the Seahawks are a team with only one quarterback (Whitehurst) who has made only two career starts. They didn't re-sign Hasselbeck before the lockout began in March. They passed on several quarterbacks during the NFL draft in April. They have a plan, general manager John Schneider promises, and since he saw the likes of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers while in Green Bay, you trust that he knows what greatness looks like at that position.
On the other hand, Schneider traded for Whitehurst a year ago, and Chaz is about to enter his sixth season as an NFL work in progress.
Over time, we've learned quite clearly what Schneider and coach Pete Carroll don't want to do at quarterback: Make a significant commitment until they're really in love. In the next few days, we'll discover what they want to do.
It's like they're in a rap battle. The music is banging. They're holding the microphone and bobbing their heads, the crowd is hype, but they're not spitting any lyrics into the microphone. If they don't start rapping soon, they'll get booed off the stage.
You going to rhyme or what, fellas?
MC Pete? DJ Schneid? Time's almost up.
Of course, the lockout has made them seem overly picky and indecisive. It's a misperception. If you'll recall the personnel activity of last season, then you know Carroll and Schneider are always ready to attack a problem or pursue an opportunity to get better.
The Hasselbeck situation is trickier, however. The Seahawks' challenge is to find the best placeholder until they identify their next franchise quarterback. In this case, it might be more enticing to give someone new a chance rather than stick with the old guy.
Can the Seahawks do better than Hasselbeck? It's debatable.
Can they do worse? Oh, that's the scary part of this movie.
Jerry Brewer: 206-464-2277 or firstname.lastname@example.org,
About Jerry Brewer
Jerry Brewer offers a unique perspective on the world of sports.
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