By John Boyle Herald Writer
Russell Wilson is the Seahawks’ starting quarterback, that much is certain. Who will back Wilson up, however, is something of a mystery now that Matt Flynn is an Oakland Raider.
After signing Josh Portis last week, and with the draft still three weeks away, the Seahawks apparently have now entered the kicking-the-tires-on-veteran-backups portion of the offseason.
This week, according to a league source, the Seahawks will work out a pair of former first-round picks, Matt Leinart and Brady Quinn, a former Seahawks backup, Seneca Wallace, and former Buffalo, Miami and Kansas City backup Tyler Thigpen. None of those are names that will likely get Seahawks fans too excited, but there’s a good chance one of them will be battling Portis and perhaps a rookie to be named later for the right to back up Wilson in 2013.
Portis, who was Seattle’s third quarterback in 2011 and on the practice squad for most of last season, re-signed with Seattle last week, but it was clear that was just the first of several moves at the position, not an answer to the question of who will serve as Seattle’s backup.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is obviously familiar with Leinart, having coached him at USC, and to a lesser extent Quinn, who played against USC while leading Notre Dame’s offense. The Seahawks pursued Leinart in 2011 after the lockout, but he elected to sign in Houston instead. And while neither Wallace nor Thigpen have the name recognition of Quinn and Leinart, they might be better fits in Seattle’s offense because of their athletic abilities.
Leinart, the No. 10 pick in the 2006 draft, never lived up to his draft status in four seasons in Arizona. He then spent two seasons in Houston and one in Oakland as a backup. In his career, Leinart has started 18 games and completed 57.1 percent of his passes for 4,065 yards, 15 touchdowns, 21 interceptions and a 70.2 passer rating.
Quinn was the 22nd overall pick in 2007 and after three seasons in Cleveland he was traded to Denver, where he spent two years before going to Kansas City last season. The 28-year-old started eight games last season, but threw just two touchdowns and eight interceptions. Quinn has started 20 games in his career, completing 53.8 percent of his passes for 3,043 yards, 12 touchdowns, 17 interceptions and a passer rating of 64.4.
Wallace, 32, has spent the past two seasons in Cleveland where he started seven games. Before that, he had 14 career starts as Matt Hasselbeck’s backup in Seattle. Wallace has a career passer rating of 81.3 and has thrown for 31 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.
Thigpen, 28, started 11 games in Kansas City in 2008, but has started just one in four seasons since then. He has completed 54 percent of his passes in his career and has thrown 21 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, good for a career passer rating of 72.5.
The Seahawks will also work out former Pro Bowl cornerback Antoine Winfield, according to Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times. Winfield, 35, has been a very productive player in Minnesota, playing in three Pro Bowls, but the Vikings released him earlier in the offseason for salary cap reasons. If the Seahawks were to add Winfield, he would be coming in as their third corner in nickel packages. Marcus Trufant played that position last year, but is an unrestricted free agent. If the Seahawks don’t want to spend on Winfield, candidates currently on the roster to fill that position include Walter Thurmond, Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane, and of course that’s also a position the Seahawks could address in the draft, especially given their ability to find impact player on the defensive side of the ball in the later rounds.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.