Sunday, March 20, 2011

Report: Seahawks Pursued Trent Edwards Last Spring

"I know, I know, build through the draft!"
Somewhat buried in a piece on Kevin Kolb, FOX's Adam Caplan, quoting a source, mentioned yesterday that Seattle was interested in acquiring quarterback Trent Edwards from Buffalo last spring.

Specifically, the Seahawks made Edwards their #2 target after being turned down by the Philadelphia Eagles in a trade attempt for Kevin Kolb. Charlie Whitehurst, currently Seattle's backup QB, was the guy they courted after Edwards, who was also never traded.

It's not explained why the Edwards trade never went through. It's never really been explained clearly why the Kolb trade didn't go through, either. Philadelphia evidently never wanted to trade Kolb, but did they communicate that by slapping him with a price of two first-round picks, or did they communicate that by saying "No, thanks" and hanging up the phone? The answer could give us insight on just how much Seattle was willing to pony up for a franchise prospect.

The Bills were regarding Edwards as their starting QB last spring (although that didn't last long) and may simply not have made him available - or, like Kolb, he might have been made more expensive than Seattle could afford. Hard to tell without specifics of the trade offers.

So it's turning out that the Seahawks went on quite the shopping spree for a free-agent quarterback for 2010. This suggests a number of insights into Pete Carroll and John Schneider's state of mind of when it comes to the QB situation:

  • The team knows that quarterback is a need. Seattle obviously already knows this, judging from the acquisitions of Charlie Whitehurst, J.P. Losman, and Nate Davis, but it's comforting to see that Seattle is turning over some bigger rocks.
  • They may not be adhering to a specific QB profile as religiously as we thought, because Edwards is not known for his arm strength or his mobility - two traits that Carroll and Schneider have repeatedly said they emphasize. In fact, his dearth in these areas is precisely what made his battle to keep his starting position at Buffalo an uphill one. Either they have been engaging in typical smokescreens and GM-speak in order to justify the Whitehurst trade, or they do value those traits but are not strictly bound to them. Both are probably true to an extent, and the latter is particularly encouraging.
  • They want to win right away instead of taking a "building" approach. I doubt this, or at least I doubt that it's one over the other. Carroll may embrace what looks at times like a "win now" mentality, but John Schneider comes from a team known for building through the draft and developing in-house talent. I've always hoped this odd-couple situation might be beneficial to the team. Contrary to opinion, pursuing big free agents doesn't automatically equate to a "win now" strategy , it doesn't mean that a team undervalues the draft, and it doesn't mean the team is going to lose. The Patriots have several free agents on their roster.
  • They really, really didn't like their QB options in the 2010 draft. Good thing, because neither did I.
  • They are financially cautious. I can't say that either Kolb or Edwards merit a big splash in terms of draft picks, although Carson Palmer might. But the fact that Seattle didn't break the bank for either of them helps balance out the perception that they overpaid for Charlie Whitehurst. Speaking of...
  • They are not sold on Charlie Whitehurst. That Seattle would first pursue Kevin Kolb and Trent Edwards, both career backups for all we know, could definitely be another ding in the team's opinion of Whitehurst, an opinion we've mostly had to infer based on the team's refusal to start him.

I find the part about Edwards' strength and mobility to be the most intriguing part; it opens up a few more QB doors for Seattle fans to explore this offseason. It's also possible that Seattle could still yet make a play for Edwards, or Kolb for that matter. Kolb is still being heavily rumored to Seattle, as is Palmer, although I have yet to see any definitive information on the subject beyond mix-and-match speculation.

Free agency has to be restored for this to happen, of course, but the Seahawks are definitely doing their due diligence on free agent quarterbacks. The one sure comfort we can take away from this is that the Seahawks is being proactive with the position and not tying its 2011 fate to its ability to re-sign Matt Hasselbeck. I'm not particularly happy about the choices they're making - Kolb could be another Matt Schaub or Jon Kitna or he could bust outright, and there's a reason Edwards is no longer with the Bills. These guys are probably stopgaps at best, like Hasselbeck, while the team waits for a true franchise prospect. But at least the search is on.

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