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New deal for Hasselbeck in Seattle not a lock

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Dan Arkush
Executive editor

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Posted March 09, 2011 @ 4:03 p.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

It appears a new deal for free-agent veteran QB Matt Hasslbeck is a long way from being the slam-dunk head coach Pete Carroll made it seem like in his postseason press conference shortly after the Seahawks were eliminated by the Bears in the playoffs.

“It’s a lot like the NFL labor talks right now,” said one team insider of Hasselbeck’s status in Seattle. “It looks likely that he will be re-signed, but there are still a lot of issues that need to be taken care of.”

We’re told a key hangup in contract negotiations with Hasselbeck could be the extent to which the Seahawks are willing to actually commit to the veteran quarterback, who offset a very uneven regular-season effort with his stellar four-TD performance in Seattle’s wild-card upset of the Saints.
“Matt is probably looking for a two- to three-year deal, and the team must decide whether it can count on him for that long,” the insider said.

There also is the strong possibility that, even though he and his family couldn’t be more entrenched in the Seattle community, Hasselbeck is, at the very least, interested in testing the free-agent waters the same way Kurt Warner did before signing his final deal with the Cardinals.

“It very well could be that Matt could be thinking a team like the Niners (who had received a free-agent visit from Warner) could improve his leverage,” the insider said. “In a perfect world, the Seahawks would sign him to a one- to two-year deal and draft another quarterback in the second or third round that they could develop.”

While there have been rumors that the Seahawks could have an interest in trading for Eagles QB Kevin Kolb, the consensus seems to be that Hasselbeck remains the best short-term fix under center.

“He would be a much better fit in new coordinator Darrell Bevell’s offense than he was in Jeremy Bates’ scheme,” the insider said. “It will be more pure West Coast — with an emphasis on the short-to-intermediate passes that Hasselbeck specializes in — and will not depend as much on the deeper routes Bates liked to go with.”

As for backup Charlie Whitehurst, word is his problems when it comes to consistently connecting on those shorter routes is a key reason why he is expected to remain on the outside looking in for the foreseeable future.

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