For the first time in 11 years, Russell Wilson will not be the Seattle Seahawks’ starting quarterback. After 10 decorated seasons that included two trips to the Super Bowl, Wilson was traded to Denver in exchange for a 2022 first-round pick, a 2023 first-round pick, a 2022 second-round pick, a 2022 fifth-round pick and a 2023 second-round pick.
With the trade, Seattle has joined the list of teams who are in the market for a quarterback. Fortunately for them, there are several viable options at Seattle’s disposal, both in free agency as well as during the NFL Draft. Seattle could also trade for a veteran quarterback sometime between now and the start of training camp.
Here are seven viable options to be Wilson’s successor for the 2022 season.
Free agent options
Trubisky is hoping to earn a starting job in 2022 after spending the 2021 season as Josh Allen’s backup in Buffalo. The second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Trubisky went 29-21 as the Bears’ starting quarterback during the regular season. His best season took place in 2018, when he earned Pro Bowl honors while helping lead Chicago to a division title.
Trubisky wasn’t able to duplicate that success during his final two years in Chicago. But he still had a starting record (14-10) as a starter while while throwing 33 touchdowns and 18 interceptions over that span. Trubisky is also mobile enough to make plays with his legs, as evidenced by his 5.6 yards per carry average during his time in Chicago.
A Pro Bowler during his rookie season, Winston led the NFL with 5,109 passing yards in 2019. He also threw a league-high 30 picks, which led to his departure from Tampa. He enjoyed a successful seven-game run as the Saints’ starter in 2021 before an injury prematurely ended his season.
The 28-year-old Winston has decent mobility, with 11 rushing touchdowns and a 4.2 yards per carry average. He also has significant experience as a starting quarterback with 77 starts under his belt.
A 2015 Pro Bowler for Minnesota, Bridgewater resurrected his career with the Saints in 2019, when he went 5-0 in relief of injured starter Drew Brees. Bridgewater put up solid numbers the past two years as the Panthers and Broncos’ starting quarterback. During that span, Bridgewater completed 68% with 33 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.
The soon to be 30-year-old quarterback is also a threat on the ground. He has 11 rushing touchdowns for his career; in 2019, Bridgewater set career-highs with five rushing touchdowns and a 5.3 yards per carry average.
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Mariota enjoyed early success in the NFL that included helping the Titans to the divisional round of the playoffs in 2017. His play began to dip that season, however, and in 2019, he was replaced by Ryan Tannehill after six starts. Over the last two seasons, Mariota threw less than 30 passes as Derek Carr’s backup.
Like Trubisky, the 28-year-old Mariota is capable of making plays with his feet; he has rushed for 1,574 yards and 13 touchdowns while averaging six yards per carry. Unlike Trubisky, Mariota will likely command a less lucrative financial commitment.
The Seahawks will likely be one of the teams that pursues Watson, who did not play a snap for the Texans last year. The season before that, he led the NFL with 4,823 yards with 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Watson earned three consecutive Pro Bowl nods from 2018-20 while helping lead Houston to the playoffs in 2018-19. Watson would be set up for success in Seattle, with D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and new tight end Noah Fant.
Lock was one of the three players who came over from Denver in the Wilson trade. A 2019 second-round pick, Lock was unable to duplicate his successful rookie season during his final two years in Denver. He led the NFL with 15 interceptions in 2020 despite appearing in only 13 games. He lost all three of his starts last season while completing just 60.4% of his throws.
Lock’s rushing statistics aren’t gaudy, but his strength as a quarterback is his ability to make plays outside the pocket on rollout plays. That is also a weakness, as teams work on keeping him in the pocket in order to limit his effectiveness.
Draft options Kenny Pickett
Pickett, who passed Marino for first on the Panthers’ career touchdown pass list during Pitt’s ACC Championship Game victory over Wake Forest, is arguably the best quarterback prospect in the draft. Along with his gaudy passing statistics, Pickett has good mobility that would surely be utilized in Matt Canada’s offense.
Over the past two seasons at Ole Miss, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound quarterback has thrown for 49 touchdowns against 18 interceptions and has completed over 69% of his throws. Along with his success through the air, Corral has scored 11 touchdowns on the ground this season and has proven to be a legitimate threat as a runner.
The most versatile quarterback in this year’s draft, the Auburn transfer has found success while quarterbacking Liberty over the past two seasons. Along with his 44 touchdown passes over that span, Willis has rushed for 1,768 yards and 25 touchdowns. His success during the 2020 season helped Liberty post a 10-1 record and top-20 national finish. Willis would add a dimension to the Steelers’ offense that has been missing over the past several years.
If the Seahawks pass on selecting a quarterback in the first round, Ridder would be a solid Day 2 option. In four seasons at Cincinnati, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Ridder threw 82 touchdowns against 28 interceptions. Last fall, he threw 30 touchdowns against eight interceptions while leading the Bearcats to an berth in the College Football Playoffs.
Ridder is also an dangerous runner, as he scored 28 touchdowns on the ground in college that included 12 during the 2020 season.
During his final two seasons at Nevada, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Strong threw 63 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions. Strong has led Nevada to a 15-6 record over that span that includes two wins this season over Power Five schools.
While his arm strength, downfield accuracy and ability to make quick decisions with the ball have garnered praise, Strong is not known for his mobility, which isn’t a good thing considering Seattle’s weaknesses on the offensive line. There are also questions about Strong’s right knee after he underwent surgery in February and had the same knee scoped in August.