The Seahawks moved down 20 spots in the second round and threw in a third-round choice next year to land Chargers backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.
But the Seahawks paid substantially more for quarterback Matt Hasselbeck nine years ago, and that decision worked out OK.
If Whitehurst turns into a quality starter, no one will care how much the Seahawks gave up to acquire him. If he flops, every detail of the trade could haunt coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider. The stakes are high now, as then.
"I hope it's huge," Mike Holmgren said after acquiring Hasselbeck from the Packers nine years ago. "Matt is 25 years old and if he's the player I think he can be, then you have a big question answered and that allows you to address other things on the football team."
The same can be true for the Seahawks' current leadership if Whitehurst develops into a Pro Bowl passer.
The Hasselbeck trade saw Seattle send the 10th and 72nd choices in the 2001 draft to Green Bay for the 17th choice. The 10th and 72nd choices are worth 1,530 points on the NFL's trade-value chart. The 17th pick is worth 950 points. The difference between those values -- 580 points -- represents the price Seattle paid for Hasselbeck.
The 33rd overall choice is worth 580 points on the chart, meaning the Seahawks gave up the equivalent of the first choice in the second round for Hasselbeck (assuming the current 32-team structure).
Seattle gave up about 270 points for Whitehurst, or the equivalent of the 64th overall choice (the last pick of the second round). The value represents the difference between the 40th and 60th picks, plus the estimated value of a 2011 third-rounder. A third-rounder next year is generally worth about the same as a fourth-rounder this year. The 112th overall choice would fall in the middle of the fourth round, so I used that pick -- worth 70 points -- in the calculation.
Seattle paid more for Hasselbeck than for Whitehurst by about 290 points, the approximate value of the 62nd overall choice (three spots from the bottom of the second round). Imagine what people would be saying if Seattle had given up the 40th choice and a 2011 third-rounder for Whitehurst without getting anything additional in return. That is the rough equivalent of what Seattle paid for Hasselbeck, leading to natural questions about why the team would shell out so much for a quarterback with no meaningful experience.
"No one has really played any football there besides Brett Favre," Holmgren said after the Hasselbeck trade, "but Matt was able to play in the preseason and that is where he really impressed people. Granted, it is preseason, but I think you can get a very good idea of how he will function in a game. I feel I know him a little bit and it always makes you feel a little more comfortable when you know his background."
Footnote: Green Bay used the 10th choice of the 2001 draft for Florida State defensive end Jamal Reynolds and the 72nd choice for Oklahoma linebacker Torrance Marshall. The Seahawks used the 17th overall choice for Michigan guard Steve Hutchinson.