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Seahawks finally add a third quarterback. What the signing of veteran P.J. Walker means

The Seahawks finally have a third quarterback.

Geno Smith and Sam Howell have one word to say about that.

“Thanks!”

After a month of offseason practices in which veteran starter Smith and former Washington Commanders starter Howell were Seattle’s only throwers, the Seahawks are signing veteran NFL backup quarterback P.J. Walker.

Walker, 29, confirmed the signing on his social-media account Thursday. He wrote: “Extremely Thankful for this opportunity Thank You! @Seahawks.”

Walker has made nine starts in four NFL seasons, the first three for Carolina and last year for Cleveland. He was 1-1 as an injury fill-in for the Browns last season. One of those starts was Cleveland’s upset win over eventual NFC-champion San Francisco in October. A couple weeks later Walker started against the Seahawks at Lumen Field. He completed just 15 of 31 passes with a touchdown, two interceptions and three sacks as Seattle beat Walker and the Browns 24-20.

The Indianapolis Colts signed Walker into the NFL in 2017 as a rookie free agent out of Temple.

Denver Broncos safety P.J. Locke (6) sacks Cleveland Browns quarterback PJ Walker (10) in the fourth quarter of an NFL game at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver Nov. 26, 2023. The Seahawks agreed to a free-agent contract with Walker, 29, on June 7, 2024.
Denver Broncos safety P.J. Locke (6) sacks Cleveland Browns quarterback PJ Walker (10) in the fourth quarter of an NFL game at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver Nov. 26, 2023. The Seahawks agreed to a free-agent contract with Walker, 29, on June 7, 2024.

P.J. Walker’s Seattle fit

Teams usually have three or even four quarterbacks on their offseason and preseason rosters. That’s so the top two guys don’t throw their arms out in May, June, July and August, well before the real games start.

Up to Friday, the 10th and final OTA and voluntary practice of the Seahawks’ offseason, Smith and Howell have been Seattle’s only quarterbacks. The Seahawks wanted a rookie to be their third QB for these practices. But the three they had in their rookie minicamp at the start of last month performed poorly.

They cut one off their 90-man roster, undrafted Chevan Cordeiro, the former college starter at San Jose State and Hawaii. Seattle didn’t invite back its other two, tryout guys from rookie minicamp.

So it’s been only Smith and Howell, whom the Seahawks gave Washington two third-day draft picks to get this offseason — until Walker. The fact a free-agent signing in June started NFL games is a bonus.

With new offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb (right, in all blue with a white cap) watching, Geno Smith (7) throws to rookie tight end Jack Westover from the University of Washington in the second practice of Seattle Seahawks NFL organized team activities (OTAs) at team headquarters in Renton May 23, 2024. Backup quarterback Sam Howell (6) is waiting his turn.

Will Walker be Seattle’s third QB in the 2024 season?

The Seahawks in 14 years under general manager John Schneider have not typically kept three quarterbacks on their initial, 53-man roster. That would mean they would release Walker, a vested veteran with four accrued seasons who is not subject to waivers. They could sign him back to the practice squad, if he doesn’t get an offer from another team to its 53-man roster.

Or the Seahawks and new offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb could sign another third quarterback to the practice squad, one that gets cut by another NFL team at the end of the preseason.

Either way, Smith and Howell — and their throwing arms — appreciate it.