The Washington Redskins appear set to enter the 2011 NFL season with John Beck as their starting quarterback. Mike Shanahan surprised many by electing not to select a quarterback in the NFL Draft, and now fans are stuck with the possibility of seeing Beck as the starter when the season begins.
The 2011 free agent quarterback class has few possibilities that would be capable starters for the Redskins. One of those possibilities is Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. The veteran is entering his 14th year as a professional.
Pros: Hasselbeck has loads of experience, and has the leadership qualities that the Redskins hoped they were acquiring when they traded for Donovan McNabb last season. Hasselbeck has led the Seahawks to the playoffs six times and the Super Bowl once, while setting just about every franchise record for a quarterback in Seattle. With an offensive unit so stacked with youth, the Redskins need a player like Hasselbeck to serve as Captain and bring a little bit of experience. He could help change the "culture of losing" that has been so rampant in D.C. the past two decades.
Cons: Those numbers sound a whole lot like McNabb's. Hasselbeck had more interceptions than touchdowns in 2010, and acquiring a veteran on the tail-end of his career could be seen as a step back in the rebuilding process for Washington. He hasn't played a full 16-game season since 2007. Plus, Hasselbeck is a product of Mike Holmgren's west coast offense. He would have fit in just fine under Jim Zorn, but Shanahan's system would be new. Like McNabb, Hasselbeck would be starting from scratch.
Verdict: Shanahan seems both committed to the rebuild, and committed to Beck, so signing Hasselbeck doesn't seem likely, especially since the quarterback has already expressed interest in re-signing with the Seahawks. If the Redskins do decide to pursue a veteran like Hasselbeck or fellow free agent Marc Bulger, we should still expect to see Beck for a few games since both have succumb to injuries far too frequently in the recent past.