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Hasselbeck hoping for new contract from Seahawks
Posted: Monday March 05, 2001 7:41 PM
Updated: Monday March 05, 2001 11:55 PM
Matt Hasselbeck (left) is introduced by head coach Mike Holmgren at a Monday news conference. AP
KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -- Matt Hasselbeck wants a new contract to go along with his new, lofty NFL status.
Acquired in a trade by the Seattle Seahawks Friday to be the team's starting quarterback, Hasselbeck said Monday he's confident the Seahawks will tear up his old contract that he signed in Green Bay.
"Hopefully, all I have to concentrate on is football," Hasselbeck told his first Seahawks' news conference. "Hopefully, we can get something done that makes me a Seattle Seahawk for a very long time. I think that would be great."
In effect, Brett Favre's former backup with the Packers has two years left on his contract. He's scheduled to earn $440,000 for the 2001 season and will be a restricted free agent for the 2002 season.
|Holmgren hopes to turn around Seattle's fortunes|
|KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -- In a salary-cap purge, Seattle Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren had nine new starters last season, and the results were disastrous.
The Seahawks went from a playoff team in Holmgren's first season in Seattle to a 6-10 record last season, when the year ended with a thud and a 42-23 loss to Buffalo.
It was Holmgren's first losing season in nine years as a coach in the NFL.
But he thinks he can fix things this year.
"We expect to be a much-improved team over last year if we can do the things that we're trying to do," the Seahawks head coach and general manager said Monday. "We do understand as a coaching staff what our problems are.
"Now, we're attempting to fix those problems."
Although Holmgren has six years left on his eight-year, $32 million contract, he's feeling some pressure in Seattle. His decisions to trade for new starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and sign free agent defensive tackle John Randle have been questioned by the media in Seattle.
At age 33, Randle had a 26-tackle, eight-sack year last season in Minnesota and his best years may be behind him.
"I put pressure on myself," Holmgren said. "I've said that all along. We did not have a good year last year, but we will fix this thing. I really believe in what we're doing and our plan."
"When you say the clock is ticking, I suppose it is."
The Seahawks acquired Hasselbeck in a trade for draft choices on Friday. On Saturday, they gave Randle, a six-time Pro Bowler with the Vikings, a $25 million, five-year contract with a $5 million signing bonus.
Holmgren couldn't get into free agency much in his first two years in Seattle because his hands were tied. The Seahawks' payroll was inflexible because they were up against the NFL's salary cap.
"I think the one thing that was surprising to me was the salary cap situation we were in," Holmgren said. "We kind of grabbed hold of that and attempted to go in a certain direction."
Holmgren expects to sign two or three more free agents, too.
"I read that with the signing of John Randle that the vault is now empty," he said. "That's not true. With the signing of three or four players in free agency and a couple of draft picks this year, we can really take a big step towards flipping our record."
The Seahawks will probably lose starting guard Pete Kendall as an unrestricted free agent.
And they're expected to release eight-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy this week. Kennedy has asked for his release from Holmgren and has a no-trade clause in his contract.
The Seahawks were expected to trade veteran running back Ricky Watters during the offseason to make room for running back Shaun Alexander, their top draft choice last season. But Holmgren might hold onto Watters, who rushed for 1,242 yards and seven touchdowns last season, if he can't get enough in a deal for him.
| || |
Mike Holmgren, Seattle's general manager and coach, said he expects to make Hasselbeck happy.
"We're going to handle this correctly," Holmgren said. "He doesn't have to worry about his contract. I know he wants to buy a home in Seattle and the prices of homes are a little bit higher than they are in Green Bay."
Holmgren wouldn't say when Hasselbeck would get a new deal.
"Right now, he has to concentrate on his football," Holmgren said. "He has a lot of other things to think about besides his contract. That will be taken care of."
Hasselbeck, 25, has never started an NFL regular-season game and has thrown only 29 passes in NFL games. In 2000, he was 13-for-29 for 145 yards and two touchdowns.
But the Seahawks are hoping that he develops into the quarterback that Rick Mirer, Dan McGwire and Kelly Stouffer, all first-round draft choices, didn't in the 1990s.
In Holmgren's second season in Seattle, the Seahawks were just 6-10. Jon Kitna, the starting quarterback for two seasons in Seattle, was jettisoned by Holmgren to become a free agent, and Holmgren apparently decided that injury-plagued Brock Huard was not his quarterback of the future.
So Hasselbeck's development in Seattle is pivotal for the Seahawks, who will move into a new outdoor stadium at the site of the old Kingdome for the 2002 season.
Holmgren was head coach of the Packers when they drafted Hasselbeck in the sixth round from Boston College in 1998. Hasselbeck was on Green Bay's practice squad that season, Holmgren's last with the Packers.
"This is a very important thing for us," Holmgren said. "Since the time we signed him and today, and the things that I have seen, it appears my future, my family's future, my little granddaughter's future, all rest on his shoulders."
Holmgren was kidding, of course. He's the highest paid coach in the league and he's got lots of security, too. Allen gave him a $32 million, eight-year contract.
The Seahawks traded the second of their two first-round picks (No. 10 overall) and a third-round pick in the April 21-22 draft for Hasselbeck and the Packers' first-round pick (No. 17).
"It's a great opportunity," Hasselbeck said. "I'm psyched. This is a perfect place for me to be right now. I can't think of another place I'd rather play.
"There's not a real long tradition and history here yet. I think it would be really nice to build a tradition here."
Hasselbeck is the son of Don Hasselbeck, who played nine seasons in the NFL in the 1970s and 1980s.
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