Over the last couple days, I’ve looked at the QB problems the Seahawks have been having from a couple different angles. First I showed that Jackson has been about as bad as any QB in the NFL so far, and then later I showed that Whitehurst isn’t a magical cure, but that he at least is equal to Jackson and could continue to improve and end up better than Jackson with a few starts under his belt.
The thing is, I don’t see the Seahawks making such a move. I don’t mean to suggest that Carroll and Co. don’t see the same things that you and I see. And no, I’m not implying some irrational stubbornness and inability to admit a mistake. We all know that’s not the case. (See Lendale White, Mark Legree, etc.)
What I am referring to, of course, is the contract situations of the two quarterbacks. Everyone knows that neither Jackson nor Whitehurst are the long term answer at QB for the Seahawks. Seattle’s next franchise QB will be drafted in April, and the reason that Jackson won’t be benched has everything to do what happens after that new QB joins the Seahawks.
Football history suggests that it is best for a rookie QB not to start right away. The Seahawks are going to need a veteran player to manage the team while the newbie passer gets up to speed. This veteran QB is going to be Jackson and not Whitehurst for one simple reason: Whitehurst’s contract expires after this season, and Jackson’s doesn’t.
Fans tend to forget that players are people. Rich people who play a game for a living, but still people. There just isn’t any way that the team can bench Jackson now, and then expect him take back up the reigns and lead this team for a few weeks next season with the plan being for him to be benched again after a few weeks.
People just don’t work that way. I know we’d like them to, but they don’t. Benching Jackson now likely means cutting him in February and then having to find another veteran to fill the role mentioned above. While there may be many veteran quarterbacks available that can fill that role, none of them will have the knowledge and understanding of the offense that Jackson has.
I know what you’re thinking. Why not let Whitehurst play and then just re-sign him after the year is out? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. That’s the thing with contracts, both sides have to want to sign it for it to get done. If Whitehurst becomes the starter now, he’s not likely to want to re-sign here knowing that he’s going to get benched after a few weeks.
If you make the change to Whitehurst now, there’s two possibilities and neither lead to him re-signing here. He either succeeds, and then he’ll want to sign somewhere where he might land a long-term starting job. Or he fails, and then why would you want re-sign him? Let’s face it, this isn’t going to work.
So the Seahawks will stick with Jackson. It’ll drive quite a few of us crazy, but in the end it will work out. Carroll and Schneider have a plan. And we know that, even if they won’t tell us what that plan is, they have every intention to stick to the plan.