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Sports >  Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks need a backup quarterback: Assessing the odds of who they might get

UPDATED: Wed., April 4, 2018

In this June 15, 2017 file photo, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) looks on as back-up quarterback Austin Davis throws during an NFL football practice in Renton, Wash. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
In this June 15, 2017 file photo, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) looks on as back-up quarterback Austin Davis throws during an NFL football practice in Renton, Wash. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

SEATTLE – Two more NFL backup quarterbacks signed contracts Tuesday – Robert Griffin III with Baltimore and Matt Cassel with the Lions.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks have now been without a backup for a week, following the release of Trevone Boykin following allegations (which later turned into an arrest) of domestic violence.

The signings of Griffin and Cassel follow the news a few days ago that the Chargers had signed Geno Smith, who took a visit to Seattle last Thursday but now is obviously out of the picture.

So who might the Seahawks sign?

Here’s a look at who is left, and our odds of them actually becoming a Seahawk.

Drafted/undrafted rookie: OK, so that’s not really a name. But with just one QB on the roster – some guy named Russell Wilson – the Seahawks seem likely to add at least two more before training camp, if not probably before OTAs in May. That would likely be a veteran for the minimum, or close to it, and then a rookie, either via the draft or signing an undrafted rookie free agent shortly after. Seattle hasn’t drafted a QB since Wilson in 2012 and hasn’t seen an undrafted rookie other than Boykin make the roster during that same time. It might not be a complete surprise if Seattle were to both draft a QB – especially if they acquire more than the eight picks they have – and sign one afterward given their needs. Odds: 1-5.

Colin Kaepernick: Every QB that signs only raises more questions about why Kaepernick remains sidelined. Times columnist Larry Stone last week laid out the case for Seattle signing Kaepernick. But with Seattle likely wanting to spend little on a veteran and having passed on Kaepernick last year, signs seem to point to Seattle looking elsewhere this time. I detailed some of my thoughts last week on why they might not consider Kaepernick now. It’s hard to see what has changed in Pete Carroll’s claim that Kaepernick is a starting QB and deserves to have a chance to start somewhere, which isn’t going to happen in Seattle, where the Seahawks want a veteran who understands that his role is to be a backup. Carroll’s statement indicates some questioning of if Kaepernick would be happy with that role. Odds: 100-1.

Kellen Clemens: Smith’s signing with the Chargers last week makes it unlikely they will re-sign Clemens, their backup since 2014 who has thrown just 18 passes in that time behind the durable Philip Rivers. That could make Clemens the leader in the clubhouse for the Seahawks given his ties to new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer – Clemens played under Schottenheimer with the Jets from 2006-10, starting eight games in 2007, and then also with the Rams in 2012-13, starting nine games in 2013. Clemens, who played at Oregon, will be 35 in June, so he’d hardly be a long-term option. But as a one-year stopgap player who knows the system and could maybe even help Wilson learn it, he’d make a lot of sense. Clemens, though, also reportedly visited Jacksonville last week. Odds: 2.5-1.

Austin Davis: Davis was Seattle’s backup last season on a one-year contract and conventional wisdom holds that he could be back to contend for that role again this year, especially since he also has ties to Schottenheimer. Davis started eight games for the Rams when Schottenheimer was the OC in 2014, and he and Clemens were Rams teammates under Schottenheimer for a time. But Davis intriguingly also visited Jacksonville last week, and at age 29, could also be exploring options where he might have a better chance to play. Odds: 3-1.

Mark Sanchez: Count Sanchez as another who has experience with Schottenheimer – he was the Jets’ starting QB from 2009-11 when Schottenheimer was the OC there, starting 47 of 48 regular season games and six more in the playoffs when the Jets advanced to the AFC title game each season. He also played for Carroll at USC, and the two have said their infamously chilly parting has long since been patched up. … Or has it? Actually, it’s worth remembering the Seahawks reportedly also considered Sanchez briefly in 2016 when Boykin beat out Jake Heaps for the job, but for a little while, it was thought Seattle might want to bring in another veteran. Sanchez became available after being released by Denver. Sanchez has thrown just 18 passes in the last two seasons and appears to be entering the mentor stage of his career at age 31. Odds: 10-1.

Jay Cutler/Matt Moore/Scott Tolzien/Derek Anderson/Joe Webb/T.J. Yates/Alex Torgersen: According to, that’s the list of every other available unrestricted free agent quarterback. I guess you never rule anything out. … Odds for the field: 1,000-1.

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