As first reported by FoxSports.com's Jay Glazer, the Seahawks have traded a sixth-round draft pick in 2008 to the Cleveland Browns for quarterback Charlie Frye. Since releasing David Greene and Derek Devine in early September to make their 53-man limit, Seattle has played and practiced with only two quarterbacks on the roster – starter Matt Hasselbeck and backup Seneca Wallace.
Seattle had been looking to address the issue
ever since, bringing in Ken Dorsey for a visit last week. Dorsey, interestingly enough,
was cut by Cleveland in September
1, and has now re-signed with the Browns.
who was selected by the Browns in the third round of the 2005 draft out of
Akron, had been the team's primary quarterback
in 2006. he played in 13 games, throwing for 2,454
yards on 252 completions. Frye completed 64.1 percent of his passes, implying
the kind of efficiency that would be a necessity should be play for any amount
of time in Seattle's offense, but
his matching rankings of 43rd in DVOA and DPAR (which put him in
the Aaron Brooks/Bruce Gradkowski bin) speak to several issues.
Frye threw for 10 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 2006,
though you could say that those stats are slightly skewed by the fact that
he threw six picks and no touchdowns in two games against the Bengals. Second,
Frye has learned to pick his spots as a matter of survival due to his slow
release and sub-par arm strength. Those problems could be worked out to a
point if he had a decent pass-blocking line, but his own inability to get
rid of the ball efficiently and several devastating injuries to Cleveland's line in 2006 led to a ranking of 26th in Adjusted
Sack Rate for the Browns.
Cleveland gave up 54 sacks overall – only Oakland
and Detroit were worse – and Frye
picked up 44 of those. Third, Frye fumbled eight times in 2006 – if you match
that with his interceptions, you're thinking that this is a player who doesn't
take very good care of the ball.
bell tolled for Frye very soon in to the Browns' season 2007 opener, a 34-7
shellacking at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Named the team's starter
after winning an open competition in training camp, Frye was benched in the
first half of the Steelers game after going 4-for 10 for 34 passing yards.
He also threw an interception despite his predilection for holding on to the
ball far too long while running for his life under the wheels of the Pittsburgh defense. Though Frye was sacked five times, replacement
Derek Anderson was taken down only once.
Cleveland general manager Phil Savage explained
his thought process behind the trade on Tuesday afternoon.
"I felt if we didn't do something now, we wouldn't maximize our value of all
four quarterbacks," Savage said. "Rather than waiting four to five weeks,
we did so now and received a sixth-round pick.
we felt we would run the risk of losing Ken Dorsey as Seattle,
among other teams, have had talks with him."
also said that the most important thing for the team to do now is to get Quinn
up to speed and get him in the field. Dorsey, whose release reportedly upset
the valued rookie, will continue to mentor the Notre Dame golden boy while
Derek Anderson becomes the starter – a position that may be monitored with
an egg timer.
Frye, the question is what he can do for Seattle.
With the high ankle sprain suffered by receiver D.J. Hackett early in Seattle's
opening win over Tampa Bay, Mike Holmgren was left scrambling for personnel
to run his four-wide sets. The Buccaneers were able to negate flanker Deion Branch – the team's only other deep threat – and this caused Holmgren to intimate,
as he has many times before, his preference to get backup quarterback Seneca Wallace on the field as a receiver. Wallace has shown incredible speed and
elusiveness in limited action.
starting experience, as limited and traumatic as it may be, could give the
Seattle brain trust a bit more flexibility in that
area. However, you'd still expect the Seahawks to go with Wallace if Hasselbeck
is injured, as he was for four games in 2006. In the interim, the positive
for Frye is that he'll be working with Mike Holmgren and quarterbacks coach
Jim Zorn, and there are few, if any, teams with two more esteemed mentors
at the position.
McIntyre, who writes for Seahawks.NET and charts games for Football Outsiders,
has tracked Frye in more than one contest and has this to say: "In 2006, Frye
was essentially a rookie starter, playing with a dreadful offensive line,
and the 31st-ranked rushing attack. He was sacked 44 times in 2006
and 5 times on Sunday, and he kept getting up. So he's a tough guy, which
I actually admire.
has a weak arm, which everyone has noted. He didn't appear to have any sense
that the pocket was collapsing, and failed to protect the football when he
was hit. I also didn't notice any improvement in him from charting his game
against Oakland on October 1st (3 TDs against that secondary)
to his game on November 26th, when he threw 4 interceptions against
the Bengals. In fact, his decision-making had regressed. How much of that
was the offensive line and supporting cast, I don't know. I just know a quarterback
getting sacked five times in less than 21 minutes can't be entirely chalked
up to a poor offensive line."
real question seems to be whether Frye or the Cleveland
organization is more to blame for his ineffectiveness. With an opportunity
to resurrect his career in a sheltered environment, it'll be Frye's challenge
to put the blame on the Browns.
tuned for more exclusive analysis about this trade, and everything else Seahawks!
Doug Farrar is the Editor-in-Chief
of Seahawks.NET, a staff writer for Football Outsiders,
and a contributing author to Pro Football Prospectus 2007. Feel free to e-mail him here.