RENTON – The final week of the Seattle Seahawks’ offseason workouts begins Tuesday with the opening of the team’s final minicamp, a scheduled three-day event.
The Seahawks lost two organized activity days (OTAs) last week after the league’s management council and the NFL Players Association determined Seattle had too much contact during one of team’s workout sessions.
And while the violation cut down on reps for the team’s quarterback competition, coach Pete Carroll said none of the players involved in the three-way battle for the starting quarterback job has jumped out in front.
“We need more turns, more snaps,” Carroll said. “We have balanced out the reps so far in really good fashion, and who they’re working with. What’s outstanding about it is all three guys are doing well, and they’re all making a pitch for staying in the competition.
“It will be interesting to see as we take a break and then go back to camp here, if there’s any change in the guys. Or if they see things more clearly because they had a little bit of time off.”
Another interesting nugget is that, Carroll said, the player some league observers believe could be released at the end of training camp remains a nose ahead of the rest by virtue of his experience – incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson.
Carroll points to the fact that Jackson showed toughness finishing 7-7 as Seattle’s starter last season while playing with a partially torn pectoral muscle – including a 5-3 record in the final eight games of year – as the reason he’s first man up with the starters.
Jackson also has the most experience in a group that includes Matt Flynn, who’s made two NFL starts, and rookie Russell Wilson. The 29-year-old Alabama State product has a 17-17 record in 34 NFL starts.
“Russell and Matt both have ground to make up because they’re learning new systems,” Carroll said. “And they both are doing exceedingly well at that, but they have more ground to make up.
“T-Jack (Jackson) has more familiarity after all the years he was with Bev (Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who coached Jackson while both were in Minnesota).”
Carroll also said the players’ respective salaries will not influence the decision on who wins out as the team’s starting quarterback.
Some team observers believe that because Seattle signed Flynn to a three-year, $19 million deal that includes a guaranteed $10 million, the former Green Bay backup would likely be the team’s starter this season.
Flynn will earn $8 million in total compensation in 2012, compared to Jackson’s $4 million in non-guaranteed base salary that he’ll make only if he’s on the final roster in Week 1.
Carroll also committed a third round pick to add Wilson, which means he likely will factor into Seattle’s long-term plans for the position.
But Carroll said the monetary costs and draft picks are just the price teams have to pay to add value to the roster, and ultimately have nothing to do with who earns a starting job.
“Draft picks and money and stuff like that is not going to play in the decision at all,” Carroll said. “We’re going to go with what it looks like through the competition and how they play, and the results of that, and how we feel about that.”
So far, Carroll has been true to his word. He started then-rookie K.J. Wright over Aaron Curry, the team’s No. 4 overall draft choice in the 2009 draft, four games into the 2011 season, and later traded Curry and his high-dollar contract to Oakland.
Carroll played undrafted rookie free agent Doug Baldwin ahead of 2010 second-round draft choice Golden Tate as the team’s slot receiver in 2011, and Baldwin led the Seahawks in receptions last year.
And in his first season in Seattle, Carroll released T.J. Houshmandzadeh just before the 2010 season to clear a starting spot for Mike Williams, and paid him a little over $6 million to go play with Baltimore as the Ravens signed him as a free agent.
“That’s what you have to do,” Carroll said. “We had to draft a guy in the third round to get him on our team. We had to go after a guy in free agency to get him on our team. But they all know, they’ve been informed. They knew before they even signed up with us what the deal was. They’re coming here to battle, and we’ll see what happens.”
Perhaps more important than who starts at quarterback is the healthy return of receiver Sidney Rice. The Seahawks inked Rice to a five-year, $41 million deal, $18 million of which was guaranteed, to be Seattle’s explosive playmaker on the perimeter.
However, Rice suffered an injury-plagued season in 2011, finishing on the injured reserve and missing the final five games of the year after suffering head, ankle and shoulder injuries.
Rice is recovering from offseason surgery on both shoulders to repair torn labrums. He’ll practice this week, but will not engage in contact, with the hope that he’s full-go once training camp begins at the end of July.
In the nine games that Rice was active, the Seahawks were 4-5 last season.
If healthy, Carroll said Rice could help relieve some of the pressure on Marshawn Lynch and Seattle’s running game. The Seahawks finished with 51 passing plays of 20 yards or more last season, tied for 17th in the league.
“It’s really important,” Carroll said. “ We played without him last year and won some games and all that. But he’s a really special football player. We need those guys on the field to make it all fit together.”
BANKS ACCEPTS OFFER
Linebacker Brian Banks has accepted the Seahawks’ offer for a formal tryout during their upcoming minicamp.
Banks, 26, was a high school star at Long Beach Poly who was recently exonerated in a California rape case in which he was falsely accused. Banks served more than five years in prison. Banks also had workouts with the Chargers and Chiefs.McClatchy news services contributed to this report. Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks