When the Seattle Seahawks passed on trading for Baker Mayfield this offseason, it signaled a clear intention for the organization.
The cost to acquire Mayfield, a former No. 1 pick, was just a 2024 conditional draft pick or, in other terms, a fourth-round pick at best.
Trading for Mayfield would have been a cheap opportunity to add a potential quarterback of the future, but Seattle elected to standpat with Geno Smith and Drew Lock, a pair widely regarded as backup-level quarterbacks masquerading as starters.
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Quite simply, it's a tacit admission that the team's long-term answer at quarterback is not currently on the roster.
The team's best-case scenario in the short-term, and possibly long-term, probably would involve Lock or Smith making significant improvements and carrying the team back to relevancy.
Smith's nine-year career and Lock's unsuccessful two-year stint in Denver indicate the odds of either suddenly becoming a good quarterback rather unlikely.
This means the Seahawks do not have not a realistic path to playoff contention, much less the Super Bowl aspirations that were omnipresent when Russell Wilson was the No. 1 guy.
Vegas oddsmakers set the Seahawks over/under at 5.5 wins for the 2022 season. According to Vegas oddsmakers, only two teams - Atlanta and Houston - have lower expectations than Seattle for the upcoming season.
Without a long-term option at the league's most important position, the Seahawks are projected to lose a lot of games and land a premier pick in a draft that is expected to have a stronger quarterback class than 2022's historically inept group.
Here are a few options not currently on the Seahawks roster that could be the long-term answer to replacing Wilson.
The 49ers are planning to begin the Trey Lance era, propping up the door for a potential Garoppolo trade to a division rival. (However unlikely).
Garoppolo, 30, is still young enough to be productive for 3-5 more years. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is familiar with his game. Garoppolo, despite his flaws, is productive enough to carry a well-constructed football team to at least the NFC Championship.
Garoppolo is coming off offseason shoulder surgery and will cost over $25 million this upcoming season before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Don't expect a trade between the two rivals, but if the 49ers cut Garropolo there is always the possibility Seattle chooses to upgrade at quarterback sooner, rather than later. This avenue would be cheaper than pursuing a trade, too.
Worst-case Garoppolo would be a one-year bridge leading to the Seahawks' future.
C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
Speaking of the future.
Stroud, a redshirt sophomore for Ohio State, is among the top commodities in the 2023 National Football League draft class.
In his first season as a starter, the 6-foot-3 Stroud threw for 4,435 yards, 44 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Stroud is expected to be a top-five pick in next year's draft.
Bryce Young, Alabama
Young has more collegiate reps, but he's also three inches shorter than Stroud. (Another undersized quarterback seemed to excel in Seattle pretty recently, however).
Young totaled 4,872 passing yards, 47 touchdowns and seven interceptions while playing for the Crimson Tide last year.
Young is also expected to be a top-five pick in next year's draft.