In the NFL, the quarterback position is king with nearly no exceptions. The Seattle Seahawks found that out the hard way over the weekend where their rookie quarterback was concerned. If you were paying close attention to the practice squad chatter, as the team tried to whittle countless names down to just 10 players to keep around, you might have noticed that Seahawks quarterback Alex McGough wasn't among the original four players to sign back on Sunday.
Any number of reasons could have caused that. The Seahawks went after some players they were less sure about first (unlikely). McGough tried to sniff around for other backup quarterback jobs or even may have been looking at other practice squad opportunities with different organizations following the team acquiring Brett Hundley last week. Although Hundley is a free agent at the end of the year; the team could re-sign him and provide McGough with more competition. Perhaps, he wanted to look for a clearer path elsewhere. That scenario feels unlikely too. Any team that would have wanted him could have claimed him off waivers. As for looking at other practice squads, most players feel a certain loyalty to the team's that drafted them. McGough was the team's seventh-round pick in 2018.
The likeliest scenario would be that his agent was negotiating a better deal for his client, even with being on the practice squad. The minimum amount a team can pay their practice squad player is $7,600 per week totaling up to $120,000 for the regular season. As a quarterback, McGough probably wanted much more than that especially after he showed he had real potential during his preseason stint. He wasn't perfect by any means but he showed flashes of brilliance. Perhaps, his most brilliant play didn't even count. A 54-yard touchdown strike to Malik Turner (eventually overturned after review) while McGough was on the run moving right showed all the potential you could want in a backup option.
And so the Seahawks paid the price for that.
According to NFL reporter Eric Edholm, the Seahawks are paying McGough his full base salary for the 2018 season despite him being on practice squad. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero clarified that amounts to $28,235 per week totaling up to $451,760 for the entire season. That amount is quite a bit more than the average practice squad player. It was the third highest amount of any of the practice squad salaries that Pelissero listed. Coincidentally, two non-quarterback New York Jets topped him. Defensive end Bronson Kaufusi will make $32,647 per week and running back D'Angelo Henderson will make $30,000 per week.
Maybe quarterback isn't quite king on the practice squad after all. But as far as the Seahawks are concerned it very much is. It took a pretty hefty penny comparatively to return McGough to their team following his Saturday release and as expected, he took full advantage of the leverage he had, as a promising talent the team would like to keep behind star quarterback Russell Wilson and Hundley.
It all comes down to the ABC's. Always Be Closing. McGough closed the preseason strong and closed on adding to his back account even stronger. Well played.