I couldn't help but chuckle when I read the headline that Seneca Wallace was headed to the Cleveland Browns. In some of the older Madden games a few years back, probably around 2004, I was fond of starting my own fantasy draft version of the Browns on the game. I loved playing with a mobile quarterback, but and I wouldn't draft a quarterback until near the end of the draft. Naturally, Wallace was always a perfect fit for my team, and because of that, I paid close attention to his career in Seattle.
Because of Wallace's speed, I always wondered how he would be as a starting quarterback in the NFL. That wasn't about to happen behind former Pro Bowler Matt Hasselbeck though, who before the past two years was a reliable quarterback. Due to Hasselbeck's injuries over the last two seasons, Wallace did see some starting action, including several games on Mike Holmgren's final year with the Seahawks. While I am no where near as keen to Wallace's abilities as Seahawks fans would be, here is my general assessment of Wallace and the trade:
- He's not an "I'm going to take off and run for yardage" type of quarterback. He is athletic for a quarterback, but he generally doesn't net yardage on the ground from the position. Take his rushing statistics from last year as an example: he threw for 700 yards, but in the three games that he started, he had 9 rushes for 9 yards.
- Maybe it's just the few times that I have watched him, but I recall Wallace taking really long dropbacks -- perhaps so he can scan the field better at his height. Behind a not-so-great offensive line in Seattle, by the time he turns around he doesn't have a lot of time to make a decision. If the pressure gets to him, he rolls away from the pressure and might avoid a sack, but he doesn't find the open receiver down the field.
- His stats don't seem to bad, but a good portion of Wallace's production seemed to come when Seattle was already trailing. Part of that can be attributed to Seattle's poor defense, but when did you ever see the headlines that said, "Wallace Ignites Seahawks to Victory?" I heard more things about Shaun Hill in San Francisco than I did Wallace in Seattle.
- Without experienced receivers on the Browns, I don't see how you can make Wallace the starting quarterback. Are Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie suddenly going to find chemistry with Wallace that they couldn't find with Quinn? Wallace is 29, and while that's far from being old from a quarterback, without him having been a starter in the NFL, I see no reason why he should be a one-year holdover starter.
- Wallace can be used in the Wildcat. Considering we just paid Joshua Cribbs a lot of money with the added expectation that he will be featured more offensively, it doesn't really seem to make sense to have Wallace take reps away from him. But, the option is there, and if you're going to deploy a Wildcat system, I don't see why the potential of it being a multi-threat Wildcat system isn't intriguing. Wallace received reps at the wide receiver position under Holmgren two years ago.
- Obviously some things will be different with the Browns offense, but Wallace should have a decent grasp of the general system. We acquired Wallace for a conditional pick in the 2011 draft, which could be anywhere from a 4th to a 6th round draft pick, according to reports.
- I'd imagine that in order for the pick to escalate to a 4th rounder, Wallace would receive a lot of reps as a starter. If he's just a backup with minimum reps, then we'll give up a 6th rounder (note: on both accounts, this is pure speculation on my part). Considering Wallace doesn't seem to fit the bill as the Browns' long-term starter, that tells me that he's going to be our backup quarterback next season...
- ...and that means goodbye to Derek Anderson and the bonus he'd be due in mid-March.
- With that in mind, that still leads me to believe that Brady Quinn is set to be the starter this year. If we have any intention of drafting a quarterback next year as opposed to this year, between Quinn and Wallace, it seems to make sense to give Quinn the starting role so the front office can be absolutely sold as to whether or not he can play. Also, if Brett Ratliff, Mangini's QB from the Jets didn't escalate to starter competition when he was brought to the Browns, why would Wallace, Holmgren's QB from the Seahawks, suddenly be in charge of a team after sitting on the bench for so long?
Do I like the trade? Yes -- I feel we just acquired a respectable backup quarterback who can also contribute at other positions for a very low price. In terms of throwing the word "starter" into the mix? I'll defer to rufio from the initial reaction thread on the Wallace trade:
Will Seneca Wallace be the starter or the backup for the Browns?
Yes, he'll be the starter this year (613 votes)
Nope, I think it'll be someone else (1343 votes)
1956 total votes