The Seattle Seahawks gave Matt Flynn a three-year deal worth $26 million in the 2012 offseason, but didn't give him a chance to start a single game as third-round draft pick Russell Wilson took over the starting job in Week 1 and never gave it up.
The conviction to take a quarterback that high in the draft with a starter in place and the conviction to bench that starter for said rookie was something that Gus Bradley was in Seattle to watch first-hand. It was a gamble that paid off for the Seahawks with an 11-5 record and trip to the postseason as Wilson finished the year with a quarterback rating of 100.0.
On Tuesday morning, Bradley talked to Don Banks of Sports Illustrated about the quarterback situation he witnessed in Seattle. Banks asked Bradley if that situation could lead him to take a player like West Virginia's Geno Smith despite the fact that both he and Caldwell have publicly backed incumbent starter, Blaine Gabbert.
"That's right,'' Bradley told Banks. "There's no doubt. There's no doubt. You're right. You talk about Pete Carroll making a decision. They just spent all this money on Matt Flynn, they drafted a third-round quarterback, and he said we're going with Russell? You have to have the backing of ownership and the wisdom to say, 'You know what, I have such conviction that I'm willing to take him and I believe in him.'"
"I'm guessing all three years they were looking for a quarterback," Bradley said. "They were looking for a guy that can take over a team, and it's difficult to find. We always say, 'Oh, he's got it. Peyton Manning has it. Drew Brees has it. And I know we had a conversation in Seattle last year and it was like, Russell, you've got it."
"You can feel it. I think there's a lot of quarterbacks you can win with and do a very good job in the NFL, and maybe you can develop that. But some of those guys are unique.''
It was these exact qualities that Bradley told Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union that he was looking for in Smith during the West Virginia Pro Day, at which several Jaguars decision makers spent time with Smith during a private meeting after the workout that spanned 45 minutes. A meeting that Bradley came away "very impressed" from.