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Is Mike Jackson a trade candidate?
The Seahawks could choose to solve their CB glut with a trade: Seaside Joe 1640
The Seattle Seahawks started the process of cutting players on Sunday, waiving seven from the 90-man roster ahead of Tuesday’s deadline to get to 53: RB Wayne Taulapapa, WR Malik Flowers, WR Justin Marshall, CB Benjie Franklin, CB Chris Steele, TE Sal Canella, and DE Jordan Ferguson.
No surprises there. I had all seven being released in my final 53-man roster projection, with only three of them making my projected 16-man practice squad.
There is also speculation of one surprise already, and the camp you fall into depends on how much you choose to read into a since-deleted tweet by DeeJay Dallas that only reads, “Such is life.”
Whether or not the Seahawks have even informed any players of their fate besides the waived-seven, that much is unclear. Maybe all Dallas means is…“Such is life”. (I write these morning articles late at night, so forgive me if concrete news about Dallas breaks before or shortly after Seaside Joe made it into your inbox. If so, such is life.)
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Dallas not making the cut would be unexpected for one reason above all others: It doesn’t save Seattle any money. The $1 million that the Seahawks save with that cut would be mostly spent on keeping his replacement, which we assume is SaRodorick Thompson. Whereas other backs might be in danger because the team feels they can replace a veteran with a minimum rookie contract, Dallas is already on a minimum rookie deal. Though he isn’t likely to ever become a starter, that’s also not the role expected of Dallas or the team’s third running back. A move like that could only be explained by the Seahawks running out of numbers on the 53-man roster and feeling as though they could reset the clock by keeping Thompson and/or Kenny McIntosh instead of Dallas, who is a 2024 free agent.
In previous years, the Seahawks have released running backs Alex Collins, Robert Turbin, Spencer Ware, and Christine Michael within 1-3 years of drafting them in the middle rounds, so it also wouldn’t be unprecedented with Dallas.
Whether DeeJay Dallas becomes a surprise of the week or not will be revealed by Tuesday afternoon, but perhaps there is another candidate for that title. One who incited the most ‘Oh no’s against the Green Bay Packers on Saturday. One who was even still playing extensively in the final preseason game while most starters sat despite the fact that many of assumed long ago that he was a shoo-in for a huge role. One who also struggled in the second preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys. And one who plays a position that Seattle was so intent on upgrading that the Seahawks used a top-five pick in this year’s draft, plus two picks in last year’s draft, plus one of their three picks in the 2021 draft.
All of those cornerbacks would appear to be locks.
Could Michael Jackson be let loose?
During J.T. O’Sullivan’s breakdown of Jordan Love’s performance against the Seahawks defense, two things are evident on Seattle’s side: Devin Bush looks good. And Michael Jackson got picked on by a quarterback who, for all we know, might not be good. Love didn’t play especially well against the Seahawks except for when he targeted Jackson’s side—which he had switched to so that Pete Carroll could get a look at him and Tre Brown with different assignments.
At 14:30 in the video, O’Sullivan highlights what should be a deep completion against Jackson except that Christian Watson (known for bad hands) semi-bobbles it enough to allow Jackson to recover. Otherwise though, Jackson played no defense against Watson and in the regular season that will end up as an explosive play against him.
“The corner is just flat-footed, who knows what the hell he’s doing there,” says O’Sullivan, as Watson runs past a stunned Jackson to gain at least five yards of separation.
Moments later, Jackson then allows a touchdown pass from Love to Watson.
The Packers officially announced that rookie fifth round pick Sean Clifford won the backup job to Love and that’s when it occurred to me that he’s now only one move away from becoming Green Bay’s starter. JORDAN LOVE HAS STARTED ONE GAME IN THREE YEARS! It came in 2021 and it wasn’t good. So that’s where I think we should all stand with Love, until proven otherwise.
The fact that Jackson was the player who Love felt most comfortable attacking during the most important preseason game of his life, and then also winning, is a concerning sign for Pete’s “standout of OTAs”. A couple of weeks into training camp, Michael Jackson was closing in on the cornerback job as if it was a formality. He started 17 games last season and didn’t seem to do that poorly; I had never assumed that Devon Witherspoon was drafted to immediately cover up a weak spot in the defense.
Yet now keeping Jackson seems like it could be a more problematic number for Seattle’s 53 than Dallas or any other hypothetical surprises. But unlike Dallas and most Seahawks on the bubble, there might actually be trade value in offering up Jackson to other teams that are thin at cornerback.
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Reasons to not trade Michael Jackson
Are the Seahawks actually ‘deep’ at cornerback? Riq Woolen had offseason knee surgery and missed the majority of training camp. Devon Witherspoon has missed all of the preseason and most of training camp. Both seem ready for Week 1, but cornerback is a delicate position with a lot of injuries. Just ask Tre Brown and Artie Burns.
Jackson’s 1,082 snaps in 2022 is more than Burns’ last five seasons AND Brown’s career combined.
So maybe Jackson isn’t going to play in Week 1 against the Rams—if his preseason is an indication of anything—but he could be right back in the mix by midseason. He started 17 games last year and wasn’t bad, does that count for something?
The counter-argument to that is Sidney Jones. He played over 700 snaps for Seattle in 2021 and we all assumed that Jones would have a starting role for the Seahawks in 2022. Instead, the team preferred Woolen and Jackson, leading to Jones’ eventual exit. Maybe Pete doesn’t want to hesitate this time and see if Seattle can get something in return for Jackson.
Another reason to keep Jackson would be his contract. Despite this being his fifth year in the NFL, Jackson didn’t play enough during his first three years to accrue any seasons. Therefore, he will still be a restricted free agent in 2024, making him very affordable if he has a solid campaign.
Reasons to trade Michael Jackson
The most obvious reason of all is to get something in return for a player who might be good enough to start…just not good enough to start for you.
The Seahawks could choose to start Woolen, Witherspoon, and Brown, with Burns as the fourth option, plus Coby Bryant, Julian Love, and Jerrick Reed have positional versatility. Maybe Seattle also found that they love someone like Arquon Bush or Lance Boykin (both avoided the first cuts on Sundays, but maybe they’re gone by Monday morning after I send this) and want to keep one of them.
There will be plenty of teams not as fortunate at corner and one clear example is the Miami Dolphins. Having lost Jalen Ramsey for at least three months, if not the season, the Dolphins may be desperate for a cornerback who not only has experience, but has experience in the Vic Fangio system. Miami’s new defensive coordinator is Vic Fangio.
What if the Seahawks sent Jackson to the Dolphins in exchange for defensive tackle Jalen Twyman, along with some sort of draft pick movement? Twyman, a sixth round pick in 2021, hasn’t played in any regular season games yet but has stood out a little in the preseason and a move like that would be exchanging a roster strength for a roster weakness.
I don’t know what sort of trade value Jackson would have—my guess is something like a fourth round pick—but it helps that he’s a restricted free agent in 2024 and not a one-year rental.
How would trading Jackson change the 53-man roster?
If traded straight up for a draft pick, it could help the Seahawks keep a player who they would otherwise risk losing on the waiver wire. Perhaps someone like linebacker Patrick O’Connell, nose tackle Matt Gotel, or receiver Dareke Young; in Young’s case, it could be their chance to keep him, place him on short-term IR, and then add someone else to the roster after.
The move would clearly signal that either Brown or Burns won the cornerback competition.
If traded for a player, then of course the Seahawks wouldn’t be adding an open spot on the roster. They’d be giving it to the new player, but he’d most likely play a position of need like defensive line or wide receiver.
We won’t know until we know. But if Michael Jackson’s performance against the Packers, and the amount of snaps that he played in the preseason, is any indication, don’t we already know?