Home > Free Agency, NFL > Transaction Analysis: Tarvaris Jackson to Seattle, Hasselbeck to Tennessee, Vince Young to Philly

Transaction Analysis: Tarvaris Jackson to Seattle, Hasselbeck to Tennessee, Vince Young to Philly

The quarterback carousel is in full swing.  And this trio of teams wasted no time in getting in on it.  A different post will be used to address the Kevin Kolb trade.

The first domino fell when Tarvaris Jackson agreed to terms with Seattle very shortly after the negotiating period opened on Tuesday.  Jackson followed the path first paved by offensive coordinator and Brett Favre BFF Darrell Bevell, moving from Minnesota to Seattle in the offseason.  For the Seahawks, this should have been really obvious after they didn’t select any quarterbacks in the draft.  The Hasselbeck era in Seattle gets to end amicably, and with no obvious solution to their quarterback situation, the quick add of Jackson gives them a player with a little bit of upside and starting experience on the salary of a backup who can play right away.  It’s everything that Seattle screwed up in the Charlie Whitehurst deal when they traded a third round pick for a player with no experience at the quarterback position, causing Hasselbeck to win a job that the Seahawks pretty clearly did not intend for him to win.

When you take a look at a situation like the Cincinnati Bengals have at their quarterback position (under the assumption that Carson Palmer is, in fact, a retired player), you can see what could have happened to the Seahawks if they weren’t judicious at this position.  The Bengals employ Bruce Gradkowski, Jordan Palmer, and Andy Dalton.  The Bengals have all year to try to develop Dalton, but it is quite clear, to me at least, that the Bengals best plan at the quarterback position for the future is for Palmer to have a change of heart.  Gradkowski isn’t anywhere near the player Jackson has been over his career, Jordan Palmer has failed to hold a job whenever there has been competition, and Dalton was pushed up into the second round by a ton of demand at the quarterback position.   The Seahawks were able to stay on pace in their rebuilding project while passing on mid-tier draft-eligible quarterbacks, and for their trouble, they might have picked up the highest upside player on either team (Jackson, if not Dalton), and won’t have to sit through the many moods of Bruce Gradkowski in the meantime.

Seattle opens itself up for criticism if and when the offense struggles behind Jackson, but then again, the offense struggled behind Hasselbeck last year, and they won the NFC West.  It would not be too strange an outcome to have predicted if they do so again.

Hasselbeck moves on and signs with the Tennessee Titans, which is not nearly as sound as a football move.  Tennessee was also pretty barren at the quarterback position after drafting Jake Locker with the 8th overall pick.  Hasselbeck comes in and is instantly the best quarterback on the Titan roster.  That also would have been true of most of the free agent market.  Tennessee just happened to settle on the player who is 35 years old.

Tennessee must have thought the world of him because they are still going to pay him like a top passer over the next three years at 7 million per year.  Hasselbeck was last a top passer in 2007.  Even if you believe he can sustain the gains he made in 2010 under Jeremy Bates (who was fired by the Seahawks, for reasons unknown to outsiders), Hasselbeck is still at the very, very end of his useful life, to the point where even getting 16 mildly effective games out of him is farfetched.  Hasselbeck already has an existing relationship with Locker from their days as residents of the state of Washington, but that seems like a silly thing to tack a couple extra million on there for.

My problem here is with the Tennessee Titans, not with Matt Hasselbeck, who is by all reports, a classy guy and the kind of face of an organization the Titans should want.  But the longer he remains the top QB on their roster, the more evident it will become that drafting Jake Locker was a mistake.  If Locker was going to blow us away this year, a Hasselbeck signing wouldn’t make any sense.  The Titans plan of succession is very obvious here, I’m just not sure it has any chance of working.

Tennessee’s Thursday release of former franchise quarterback and 2006 offensive rookie of the year Vince Young was a bad situation for everyone involved, including Young.  He landed a couple hours later on his feet in Philadelphia, filling the void created by the Kevin Kolb trade.  This is an obvious win for the Eagles, since Kolb and Young are pretty identical in their value to a team as backup quarterbacks.  Kolb got a monster deal from Arizona because of his projection as a starter, but for Philadelphia, there’s hardly any on-field loss.  Young is the biggest winner though: the Eagles organization is a value creating machine for quarterbacks.  He goes anywhere else, and he’s sink or swim for the rest of his career.  By going to the Eagles, he’s going to be in high demand at this point next year.  Only problem for the Eagles is that Young is on a one year deal, and if they’re going to get any value for him after the season, they can only do so by using the franchise tag on him, which will limit the return in any trade.

Then again, I’m not even convinced that Young will make it to the season there.  One unexpected injury to a QB in the preseason, and Young is going to be in demand yet again.  The fact that the Eagles hold his rights just gives the rest of the league the heads up that when you need a quarterback, you’re probably going to have to go through the Eagles to get it.

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