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2011 NFL Free Agents: Quarterbacks And Running Backs On The Market

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The Super Bowl isn't over yet, but it's never too early to look forward to next season. Despite the recent success of the Seattle Seahawks, it's very clear that they have a ton of holes that need to be filled. Over the next couple weeks, we'll take a look at specific positions over a series of posts. Today is quarterbacks and running backs.

While this guide will focus specifically on the Seattle Seahawks, we'll take a look at most of the serious free agents whether they fit the Pete Carroll mold or not.


We'll start with, arguably, the most important position on the field: Quarterback. Without a doubt, this is the biggest question for the Seahawks. Matt Hasselbeck is currently a free agent -- though he may have a deal worked out by March -- and Charlie Whitehurst has not wowed anyone. Hasselbeck has not started every game in a season since 2007, and at the age of 35, he's not getting any younger. The Seahawks have a decision to make about their field general. Here are some possible free agents that may be the future for the Seahawks, or another team in the market for a quarterback.

  • Michael Vick (Philadelphia Eagles) - 12 starts, 3,018 yards on 233 completions (8.1 Avg), 21 TD, 6 INT, 676 yards rushing on 100 attempts
  • Matt Moore (Carolina Panthers) - 5 starts, 857 yards on 79 completions (6.0 Avg), 5 TD, 10 INT, 55.6 QB Rating
  • Alex Smith (San Fransisco 49es) - 10 starts, 2,370 yards on 204 completions (6.9 Avg), 14 TD, 10 INT, 82.1 QB Rating
  • Matt Leinart (Houston Texans) - 8 games played, 1 game started, 435 yards on 51 completions (5.6 Avg), 0 TD, 3 INT, -6 yards rushing on 9 attempts, 64.6 QB Rating (Did not play in 2010, Stats for 2009 season with Arizona)

So, as you can see, with one major exception, there aren't any real barn-burners on this list (note: Peyton Manning's contract is also about to expire, but no one really expects him to have any trouble re-signing to stay in a Colts uniform).

The big name is Michael Vick. With Vick's performance in Philadelphia it's no surprise that Andy Reid and company want to keep him there, but the big question mark is Kevin Kolb. Kolb recently stated, that while he loves the city he's in, it's more important to start then to stay an Eagle. Reid would love to keep both Vick and Kolb, but I think that one of them is going to have to go. The logical choice to keep is Vick. From a marketing standpoint, Vick is exciting and is a real comeback story. Kolb is still under contract for next season, so it would take a trade to bring him anywhere. Looking at the list above, Kolb or Vick would likely be the best choice for a franchise quarterback.

If both Kolb and Vick are out of play this off season, be it because the Eagles ask too much for Kolb or they both decide to stay, the free agent pickings are very slim. The best second choice, for Seattle at least, might just be Matt Leinart. Leinart started 11 games right out of college, before gradually losing playing time over his next three years in Arizona. Arizona gave up on him for numerous reason and he ended up in Houston as a back-up.

Pete Carroll knows how to push the right buttons with Leinart. Leinart started three year for Carroll at USC, during that time the duo lead the team to a 37-2 record including one perfect season, two national title games, and one national title (I think some of you might remember the other title game). After how Leinart performed in Arizona, it may seem strange to suggest him in Seattle -- and I'm certainly not suggesting that he'll start next year -- but given the right coaching from his old friend Pete Carroll, Leinart may be the answer some time down the line.

Running Backs:

The Hawks don't need anyone. They have Marshawn Lynch. End of column.


Okay, I'm still riding a high from the earthquake-making, greatest playoff run ever. Lynch sent tremors down the city of Seattle, literally, but he didn't do much else this year. The running back duo of Justin Forsett and Marshawn Lynch propelled The Seahawks to the 31st best rushing attack in the NFL. It's clear that 89 yards a game is enough to merit an improvement.

Who can they pick up on the free agent market? Let's take a look at some possible choices for Coach Carroll and The Seahawks.

  • Darren Sproles (San Diego Chargers) - 16 games, 267 yards on 50 rushes (5.3 Avg), 520 yards on 59 receptions (8.8 Avg), 0 rushing TD, 2 receiving TD, 3 lost fumbles
  • Ronnie Brown (Miami Dolphins) - 16 games, 734 yards on 200 rushes (3.7 Avg), 242 yards on 33 receptions (7.3 Avg), 5 rushing TD, 0 receiving TD, 2 lost fumbles
  • Pierre Thomas (New Orleans Saints) - (2009) 14 games, 793 yards on 147 rushes (5.4 Avg), 302 yards on 39 receptions (7.7 Avg), 6 rushing TD, 2 receiving TD, 1 lost fumble - (2010) 6 games, 269 yards on 83 rushes (3.2 Avg)
  • Arian Foster (Houston Texans) - 16 games, 1616 yards on 327 rushes (4.9 Avg), 604 yards on 66 receptions (9.2 Avg), 16 rushing TD, 2 receiving TD, 2 lost fumbles
  • DeAngelo Williams (Carolina Panthers) - (2009) 13 games, 1117 yards on 216 rushes (5.2 Avg), 252 yards on 29 receptions (8.7 Avg), 7 rushing TD, 0 receiving TD, 3 lost fumbles - (2010) 6 games, 361 yards on 87 rushes (4.1 Avg)
  • Ahmad Bradshaw (New York Giants) - 16 games, 1235 yards on 276 rushes (4.5 Avg), 314 yards on 47 receptions (6.7 Avg), 8 rushing TD, 0 receiving TD

Unlike the quarterbacks, this list has a ton of stars on it. It has a great range of players who had career years last year --like Bradshaw and Foster -- and players who are coming off of an injury -- like Williams and Thomas. If all of these guys end up on the market, which is almost certainly not going to happen, there are routes the Seahawks at running back.

One way to go is the cheap route. Obviously, a player coming off of an injury is going to command a lesser contract than someone coming off of a career year. But someone like DeAngelo Williams, even though he is coming off of an injury, may just be the hottest commodity in the NFL this offseason. Williams had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in '08 and '09 and might just be one of the top running backs in the league when healthy. It's not going to be a cheap contract though. Williams is likely going to demand a very large contract and, because of the cheaper "rebuilding-esque" mode Seattle is in right now, the Seahawks are unlikely to sign a big-name contract.

Free agency is just one route. The Seahawks will add a lot of depth through draft. For a preview of what their draft class might look like, take a look at Brian Floyd's NFL draft previews.

Big thanks goes out to the fantastic website for their great free agent listings. Stay tuned for more previews as the weeks go on here at SB Nation Seattle.

  • Part One: QB and RB
  • Part Two: OL, WR, and TE
  • Part Three: DL and LB
  • Part Four: Secondary and Special Teams