Stop and think for a moment, if you will, about the Seattle Seahawks. Where are they at their weakest? Running back? No, definitely not running back. Not with Marshawn Lynch as the starter with Christine Michael and Robert Turbin battling for time behind him. There wasn’t a huge need to address the running back position. But then Fred Jackson became available, and that’s what they did.
The Seattle Seahawks have signed Jackson to a one-year contract, ending his brief and somewhat strange stay in free agency. He’ll be joining Lynch on the 53-man roster, and looks poised to be a key contributor as Seattle’s number two running back. The transaction has significant implications for the rest of the roster, and some of them have already begun to play out.
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As mentioned above, the Seahawks already had three capable RBs on the team: Lynch, Turbin, and Michael. By bringing in a fourth, the urgency to make a move became even more clear. And now such a move has been made, with the team today announcing that Robert Turbin has been waived.
With a high ankle sprain expected to sideline Turbin at least into the middle of October, there’s a very real possibility that he’ll go unclaimed and just sit around until he’s able to get healthy and rejoin the Seahawks. If another team puts a claim on him, then he’s gone. Which I guess would be a bigger deal if he hadn’t already been replaced.
And what will become of Christine Michael, who has opened some eyes with a nice preseason? He’s more likely than not going to become trade bait, and it stands to reason a team will be willing to fork over some future value for the right to add him. Indeed, Jason La Canfora confirms that Michael is being shopped. A few days ago the Seahawks had Turbin and Michael, but now they seemed destined to shed both players.
Jul 31, 2015; Pittsford, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson (22) runs with the ball during training camp at St. John Fisher College. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
So who exactly is this Fred Jackson, who the Seahawks were willing to revamp and refresh their running back backstock in order to add? Jackson is a 34-year-old running back – the oldest in the NFL, in fact! So far age has yet to catch up with him, as he was effective last year as a starter. He’s been with the Buffalo Bills for nine years, and has played a significant role on their team for the last eight. He’s established, to say the least.
Earlier in the week the Bills made the decision to cut Jackson – and what a decision it was! First to consider is the fact that Buffalo signed him to an extension on July 30th. They then made lots of noise that seemed to indicate that he’d be sticking around, despite a crowded RB situation. Post-release, Jackson publicly stated that the team had lied to him, and then came reports that Buffalo GM Doug Whaley went over the heads of basically everyone in the organization by cutting Jackson. It was a weird, complicated move.
There’s reason to believe that the Bills largely wanted to keep Jackson, which would seem to indicate why the Seahawks rushed to accomodate him after he unexpectedly became available. They get to reunite Jackson and Lynch, who played together from 2007-2010. And now the two aging backs can take some of the slack off for each other, giving the team the ability to preserve a spot where it’s amongst the league’s strongest.
With Fred Jackson, the Seattle Seahawks upgrade their depth while also improving their bottom line. They haven’t yet officially dumped Michael, but when they do they’ll likely get something nice back. And Turbin may yet still be a Seahawk! Who knows! The depth might not be totally depleted, and if it is that’s alright because the team is better now than it was before.
Welcome to Seattle, Fred Jackson. Don’t show your age!
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