The Seattle Seahawks didn’t have a lot of questions surrounding the team heading into training camp, but one of those came into the spotlight last week: backup quarterback.
Seahawks starting quarterback Russell Wilson did not play in last Thursday’s preseason opener, a 22-14 victory over the Denver Broncos at CenturyLink Field. Therefore, that brought the battle to be Wilson’s backup to the forefront.
As of now there are three candidates for the backup job:
Geno Smith would seem to be first in line as he has the experience.
He’s a former NFL starter, compiling a 12-19 record in 31 career starts, all but one of which came with the New York Jets, and last year he served as the Los Angeles Chargers’ backup. He played the first half Thursday, going 3-for-9 for 58 yards and also rushing three times for 21 yards.
The 6-foot-3, 221-pounder then underwent surgery to remove a cyst from his knee over the weekend, though he’s not expected to be sidelined long.
Paxton Lynch has the pedigree, as he is a former first-round draft pick who was seen as Peyton Manning’s successor in Denver.
However, he didn’t pan out as planned, going 1-3 in four starts over two seasons, and he sat out last year after being released by the Broncos. He has the frame NFL teams typically look for in a quarterback at 6-foot-7 and 244 pounds, and he was the star of Thursday’s game, going 11-for-15 for 109 yards and a touchdown, as well as rushing four times for 38 yards and another TD.
However, his work came against backup defensive players, while Smith had to face some first teamers.
J.T. Barrett was just signed as a free agent, and he didn’t play at all against the Broncos.
While conventional wisdom says he was signed just as a practice arm while Smith recovers, Barrett comes with an intriguing background as he was a big-time star at Ohio State, where he set all kinds of quarterback records. And while Smith and Lynch both have some running ability, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Barrett has the type of legs where he can be the same type of dual-threat QB as Wilson.
Barrett spent most of last season on the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad.
This may actually be a race for slowest job in football, as Wilson hasn’t missed a start since entering the league in 2012, and he took every single offensive snap for the Seahawks last season. But it’s still an important insurance policy.
So who should be Wilson’s backup this season? Smith? Lynch? Barrett? Someone not currently on the roster? Seattle went that direction last year when it traded for Brett Hundley during the late stages of preseason.
Follow Nick Patterson on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.