Marketing 101: Free agency, Hasselbeck and the Seahawks
Posted by Danny O'Neil
Matt Hasselbeck has made it clear he wants to be back. Coach Pete Carroll has called his starting quarterback the highest priority. General manager John Schneider has called Hasselbeck, "Mr. Seattle."
The only sign, in fact, of the gulf existing between franchise is quarterback is the lack of a signed contract for next season. And while Hasselbeck and the Seahawks can continue talking during the current extension for collective-bargaining agreement negotiations, there's no sign that there has been any movement between team and quarterback.
We're about to see just how big that gulf is.
Because maybe it's nothing that a little open-market negotiating can't straighten out. Hasselbeck can see what another team -- (cough, cough) San Francisco (cough, cough) -- might be willing to offer in the way of a contract.
That doesn't mean Hasselbeck's departure is a done deal. Far from it. Testing the open market can provide the nudge to bring the two sides together, another team's offer becoming a tangible, concrete milepost to negotiate off of.
That's what happened with Kurt Warner in Arizona two years ago. The Cardinals were coming off a Super Bowl appearance yet Warner had to take a free-agent visit to San Francisco before agreeing to a new deal in Arizona.
And that's what happened between the Seattle SuperSonics (RIP) and Ray Allen in 2005. Different sport, but the same principle. The Sonics and Allen discussed a contract extension all year, never agreed to one and when Allen became a free agent he had teams across the country pursuing him. He ended up re-signing with Seattle, which upped its offer when faced with more competition.
And maybe that's what will happen with Hasselbeck. His foray in the open market will show the value he holds in the eyes of another team(s) and that will stimulate negotiations with the Seahawks.
So far, the Seahawks and Hasselbeck have kept things courteous publicly, which points to the possibility that a contract can still be agreed to.
The other possibility is that Seattle has settled on a value its comfortable paying Hasselbeck, and it's not going to change that value even if another team backs an armored car up to Hasselbeck's doorstep in an attempt to sign him. That's a potential scenario, too.
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