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Seattle Seahawks
Sports >  Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks add depth at quarterback by signing Austin Davis

UPDATED: Mon., June 5, 2017

Denver Broncos quarterback Austin Davis during warm-up before an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (Gary McCullough / Associated Press)
Denver Broncos quarterback Austin Davis during warm-up before an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (Gary McCullough / Associated Press)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

The Seahawks on Monday added a veteran quarterback to compete with Trevone Boykin as the backup to Russell Wilson.

But no, it’s not Colin Kaepernick, who visited the team two weeks ago amid much fanfare.

Instead, it’s 28-year-old Austin Davis, who visited at the same time as Kaepernick. The Seahawks waived backup quarterback Jake Heaps to make room for Davis on the 90-man roster.

Davis, has 10 starts in a career that dates to 2012, going 3-7 in those games, having completed 236 of 378 attempts for 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

He got his most playing time with the Rams in 2014 when he started eight games, going 3-5 in those contests, throwing 12 touchdowns against nine interceptions with a QB rating of 85.1.

One of his three wins came in an October game against the Seahawks, a 28-26 victory for the Rams in St. Louis. Davis was 17-20 for 155 yards and two touchdowns against Seattle for a career-high QB rating of 132.3. But he was benched four games later.

Davis, who played at Southern Mississippi, also went 0-2 as a starter for the Browns in 2015, starts he got as an injury replacement for Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel and was with the Broncos last season but did not see action before being waived in late December. Denver listed him at 6-foot-2, 221 pounds.

Davis and Kaepernick each visited the Seahawks on May 24 as part of the team’s search for a veteran to push Boykin, who is entering his second season with Seattle.

Boykin also has unresolved legal issues dating to an arrest in March for marijuana possession and public intoxication that also then triggered another arrest for violating probation. His first court date in connection with the March arrest has been initially set for July 14. The Seahawks have said they are confident Boykin will be available for the season but it has also been known they wanted to give him some competition for the backup job.

Seattle’s interest in pursuing a veteran took on more urgency following the NFL draft when the Seahawks did not take a quarterback and then did not find an undrafted free agent they felt could compete, immediately waiving Skyler Howard of West Virginia following the team’s rookie mini-camp.

While Davis and Kaepernick visited on the same day, it was the team’s interest in Kaepernick that drew the most attention. Kaepernick, who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl following the 2012 season, not only had been a longtime rival of the Seahawks but also became the focal point of much debate when he decided to initially sit and then kneel during the national anthem last season.

The Seahawks are the only team so far to have brought in Kaepernick for a visit leading many to assume his political stances have scared off teams.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll on Friday indicated that was not an issue calling Kaepernick “a great kid” who “presented himself well” during his visit.

Instead, Carroll referred to Kaepernick as “a starter in this league” and that “we have a starter.” That seemed to imply that Kaepernick might be desiring either more of an opportunity or money than the Seahawks would want to give a backup it hopes would never see the field, though Pro Football Talk reported via an anonymous source on Monday that money was not the issue – Carroll deflected a question about what Kaepernick was asking.

Intriguingly, Kaepernick retweeted the PFT story a few minutes after it had been reported that the Seahawks would instead sign Davis which will only lead to more speculation about whether Kaepnerick is being blackballed. Kaepernick also retweeted a tweet from NFL reporter Mike Freeman stating: “The story that Kaepernick isn’t being signed because of his salary demands is a lie. It’s a straight up lie.”

Carroll’s comment about Kaepernick being “a starter in this league” also has led to a thought about whether the team sees Kaepernick as being suited to a backup job or even that it didn’t want two starters at the position.

Regardless, for now the Seahawks will go on without Kaepernick but with another QB to push Boykin.

The former TCU standout played sparingly last season after signing as an undrafted free agent, completing 13 of 18 passes for 145 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Boykin saw his most significant action in the regular season finale against the 49ers when he completed four of six passes for 42 yards and also had an 11-yard run in helping Seattle run out the clock on a 25-23 victory after the team decided to take out Wilson to avoid any potential further injury.

Carroll said after the season that Wilson’s injuries in 2016 – the first of his career – would make the team reconsider if it needed to add a veteran as experienced insurance.

Boykin will make $540,000 this season, the league minimum for a second-year player. It’s unclear yet what Davis will make but it would likely not be for more than the $775,000 league minimum for a player with 4-6 years experience.

Carroll on Friday gave something of a vote of confidence for Boykin while also stating that the team wanted him to have to fight for the job.

“Tre continues to need to be pushed, Jake is doing that right now,” Carroll said. “But that doesn’t mean that we are done. We are going to continue to look for ways to make it more competitive and put us in the best position if it counts and now you need that second guy in there he can do in there and do some good stuff. He did an admirable job last year as a rook doing it, and he’ll be better. He looks better, he’s much more in command of what we are doing. It takes years and years to develop these guys and he’s in year two so I expect him to continue to get better. We know he can play for us – that’s what we do know.”

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