Seattle Seahawks give up far too much in acquiring quarterback Sam Howell

Seattle traded for Howell on Thursday.

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The Seattle Seahawks are having a weird offseason. The team terminated Pete Carroll and hired a new head coach, Mike Macdonald. The team then cleared off a bunch of cap room the week before free agency only to not do much of anything in the early part of the period. Seattle saw backup quarterback Drew Lock leave but then replaced him, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, with Sam Howell.

To be clear, Sam Howell is not a bad quarterback. He isn't exactly a pure QB1 either, and the assumption is not that Seattle acquired Howell with the thought he will be competing with Geno Smith for the starting job with the Seahawks. Smith should be the starter and Howell should be the backup.

But if that is the case then Seattle gave up far too much in a trade with the Washington Commanders to acquire a backup QB. While Seattle reportedly gets Howell, a 2024 fourth-round choice, and a sixth-round pick, Seattle is sending Washington one of the team's third-round choices and a fifth-round selection.

Seattle Seahawks reportedly trade for quarterback Sam Howell

The issue is the third-round pick. Maybe general manager John Schneider knows he is somehow going to trade for a second-round choice, but assuming that doesn't happen, Seattle went from having a first-round choice and two third-round picks to just a first-rounder and one third-rounder. Seattle is getting pretty thin with selections in the 2024 NFL draft.

If Howell was picked up for a third-rounder and fifth-rounder and Howell was going to be the starter, great. But presumably, Howell will never play unless Geno Smith gets hurt. There is a good part of this, however.

Howell is still on his rookie deal and wasn't chosen until the fifth round in 2022 so he is extremely cheap as a backup. His cap hit in 2024 is just $985,000, and in 2025 it is $1.1 million. Both those numbers are far less than what Drew Lock signed for with the New York Giants this week (a one-year deal for $5 million). Howell is also potentially as good as Lock and Howell has starting experience in the NFL.

But while Howell threw 21 touchdown passes in 2023, he also threw a league-high 21 interceptions. His total QBR (42.4) was 25th in the league (Smith's was 15th). The expectation should never be that Howell is going to be a long-term starter with the Seahawks but at least he fits a need as the second quarterback on the roster. But Seattle should not have given up a third-round pick to get him.

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