Why did Seahawks trade for QB Sam Howell? GM Schneider explains

Mar 14, 2024, 4:08 PM | Updated: 4:26 pm

Seattle Seahawks Howell Sam...

Sam Howell of the Washington Commanders throws a pass against the Jets in 2023. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

(Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks’ offseason picked up momentum Thursday when it was reported that the team had made a trade for Sam Howell, who was the starting quarterback last season with the Washington Commanders.

More: Seattle Seahawks make trade with Washington for QB Sam Howell

We didn’t have to wait long to get insight into the move, as Seahawks general manager/president of football operations John Schneider joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob just hours later for his weekly show.

Here’s a look at what Schneider had to say about bringing the 2022 fifth-round NFL Draft pick into the fold.

Behind Seattle Seahawks’ trade for Sam Howell

Schneider said the Seahawks weren’t the only team making a run at a deal for Howell after Washington, which is expected to target a QB with the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft, signed veteran QB Marcus Mariota.

“We were kind of sweating that this morning and talking to the Commanders and Adam Peters, their general manager,” Schneider told hosts Dave Wyman and Bob Stelton. “We were sweating it out. There were several teams involved with it.”

One of Howell’s best games of last season came in Seattle, as he completed 29 of 44 passes for 312 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 29-26 Seahawks win. That stood out to Schneider, but he’s had his eye on the UNC product for longer than that.

“The day we played here, that hit home how tough he was, how strong he was,” Schneider said. “Keeping his eyes downfield, finding the open receiver and, yeah, shoot, almost winning the game there at the end. … We got great reviews on him and we loved him coming out of college. We’re happy to get him in the mix.”

Why Howell is interesting to Seattle Seahawks

Howell’s toughness kept coming up as Schneider talked about him.

“Sam’s a football player, I think that’s the best way to describe it,” Schneider said. “… He’s a quarterback, but he’s really a football player, that’s what I love about him. … He’s just a football player, and I keep going back to that but that’s a legit thing. This past year he threw it over 40 times in eight games, he threw it 50 times in two games. So, you know, it was rough sledding for him this past year with the Commanders.”

In addition to that, the 23-year-old Howell is actually younger than many of the draft QB options this year, and obviously comes with NFL experience those players don’t have.

“He’s 23 years old and has 18 starts in the league already, and he’s the same age as like (Jayden) Daniels from LSU and (South Carolina QB Spencer) Rattler and (UW Huskies QB Michael) Penix, and he’s a year younger than (Oregon QB) Bo Nix. We were just really excited to be able to acquire him. We know he’s a serious dude and into it, he works his tail off.”

Who’s starting?

Easy answer to this one: Geno Smith continues to be the choice in Seattle.

“Geno is the guy and Sam will be backing him up,” Schneider said. “… (Howell) is a competitive guy … I’m sure there’s competition, but as of right now it’s not like we’re signing him to go and compete with Geno to be the starter.”

The John Schneider Show airs each Thursday during Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob leading up to the start of the NFL Draft on April 25. Listen to a podcast of this week’s edition at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

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