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Get a quarterback? It’s easier said than done

How many teams are set at the quarterback position? If you put yourself in every other NFL team’s shoes, how many are thinking what a lot of Seahawks fans are thinking – what are we going to do for a QB?

The ongoing Tarvaris Jackson saga continued in Sunday’s
23-20 overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals as the Seahawks quarterback had the sort of game that summed up his entire season. He threw for 222 yards and completed 60 percent of his passes. Along the way there were the familiar hot and cold plays that have characterized Jackson’s year.

He had one beautiful 61-yard touchdown pass to Ricardo Lockette to tie the game in the fourth quarter. He threw one awful interception down in the red zone, squandering a precious scoring opportunity. He was sacked four times, twice because he held on to the ball too long. He had several dropped passes that were right on the money.

It was a perfect microcosm of Jackson’s up-and-down 2011 season. Meanwhile, we’re all left wondering what to think about him going into the offseason.

But the Seahawks are not alone and that’s the bad news. There’s a supply and demand crisis for good quarterbacks in the NFL. Everyone wants one and they’re hard to find.

Even the playoff-bound Denver Broncos are facing a conundrum at quarterback as general manager John Elway has a tough offseason decision to make on Tim Tebow. The wildly popular quarterback has gotten Elway’s Broncos into the playoffs for the first time since 2005, but he threw for 60 yards in Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs, completing just 27 percent of his passes.

The New York Jets thought they were set at quarterback, but Sunday’s loss to the lowly Miami Dolphins with a playoff appearance hanging in the balance leaves Jets fans wondering about Mark Sanchez, who threw three interceptions and has struggled down the stretch.

Add the Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs to that list of teams looking for a quarterback. Even teams like Jacksonville, Buffalo and Oakland who made big moves to get a quarterback may be looking to improve.

This will make the first two picks of the 2012 draft precious if all goes as anticipated. Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Baylor’s Robert Griffin III are expected to be the first two picks.

Around the league, the backup quarterback du jour is Green Bay’s Matt Flynn. Flynn is this year’s Kevin Kolb. He threw for a franchise-record 480 yards and six touchdowns Sunday against the Lions. If Kolb was worth $63 million last year, Flynn is surely worth at least $70 million after that performance, right?!

These are things to consider the next time you utter the words “The Seahawks need to go get a quarterback.” Everybody wants a Drew Brees or an Aaron Rodgers. But how do you get these guys without giving up a king’s ransom or every pick in the draft? It’s easier said than done.

The good news is that if the Seahawks are in the mood to trade up in the draft, there are fewer teams ahead of them in need of a quarterback than it seemed a few weeks ago. If NFC West blogger Mike Sando
is right and the Hawks do have the 11th or 12th pick, there may be only a few teams ahead of them looking for a quarterback in the draft.

1. Colts, 2-14
2. Rams, 2-14

3. Vikings, 3-13

4. Browns, 4-12

5. Buccaneers, 4-12

6. Redskins, 5-11

7. Jaguars, 5-11

8/9. Panthers OR Dolphins, 6-10

8/9. Panthers OR Dolphins, 6-10

10. Bills, 6-10
11/12. Chiefs OR Seahawks, 7-9
11/12. Chiefs OR Seahawks, 7-9

If Peyton Manning does return to the field, you could argue that the first five teams feel they are “set” at quarterback, leaving only the Redskins, Dolphins, maybe the Jaguars, and Chiefs (depending on who wins the coin toss) to compete for Luck or RGIII.

But Seahawks general manager John Schneider is known to favor trading down in the draft rather than up. Schneider and his staff have proven to do very well in the later rounds with picks like fourth-rounder K.J. Wright and fifth-rounder Richard Sherman.

I’ve ridden the Tarvaris Jackson roller coaster like most fans this year and now that the season is over, I’ve settled on the following: I’m content with the Hawks going into next season with Jackson as their quarterback. I’d love to have a player like Luck or RGIII. We’d all like to see how good Aaron Rodgers’ backup would look in a Seahawks uniform.

But at what price?

Certainly they need to get some young quarterbacks in the pipeline to develop for the future, but I’m for continuing to invest in Jackson. If head coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell can work with T-Jack in the offseason and improve his decision making process and give him the confidence to pull the trigger in the pocket – even marginally – the Hawks will be better off saving their draft choices and their cash.