Since the 2005 offseason, Seattle has come to know, trust, and love Seahawks President Tim Ruskell for his bold and generally-beneficial moves. Now with former Seattle star Darrell Jackson dropped from the San Francisco roster, Ruskell's move has brought together both fans and critics of the move.
Throughout the entirety of his tenure in Seattle, Darrell Jackson has had the contradictory presence that many NFL superstars (especially wide receivers) are renowned for. Where they put up fantastic numbers on the field, they lack the leadership they should have in the locker room.
The Seahawks always loved Darrell Jackson. Prior to the emergence of Bobby Engram this last season, Jackson has always been considered the top target for Hasselbeck, even when he lined up opposite Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch. People recognized him as the go-to guy, and whenever Hasselbeck was in trouble, they always seemed to just hook up when they most needed it. Jackson was always where he needed it be.
But his extraordinary play didn't come from hard work. Sure he practiced, but often lackadaisically, and this attitude was something Ruskell and the Seahawks were sick of when they decided to trade their favorite on-field receiver for a fourth round draft pick in 2007.
As can be imagined, when the trade was announced Seattle was puzzled. Tim Ruskell described it as "best for our football team," as he had been hassling the organization over a contract, which was bringing down the morale of the clubhouse. Still, trading a star wide receiver to a developing division rival with a quarterback one good pass-catcher away from a breakout year, it all just didn't make sense.
Now it does. The same team that had taken the chance on this piece of work a year ago is now sending him away for the likes of a soon-retiring Isaac Bruce and a decent Bryant Johnson. The Seahawks received Mansfield Wrotto, a project right guard during the draft last season for Jackson, and now San Francisco is receiving nothing, much to the dismay of 49er Nation.
Praising Tim Ruskell
The genius of Tim Ruskell is now being seen. He wouldn’t have given away his top receiver to a division rival for relatively nothing had he not predicted a poor season. Surely he couldn’t have foreseen that his 300-pound starting defensive tackle Rocky Bernard would separate their quarterback’s shoulder in week three, but there is something to this man that remains unseen.
Which brings to light the moves made this offseason. The Seahawks seemingly had Falcons’ TE Alge Crumpler in their fingertips, but he slipped through the cracks without rhyme or reason. Could it be that Ruskell saw something in him that he didn’t want to invest large amounts into? It isn’t like they just couldn’t match this top free agent’s wishes- it just doesn’t match up.
Last season, he ensured the validity of the defensive backs by picking up Deon Grant and Brian Russell. Oh yeah, and then he grabbed Defensive MVP runner-up Patrick Kerney, fresh off an injury just like Crumpler. The year before, Ruskell nabbed Julian Peterson, who has made the Pro Bowl the past two seasons. Heck, the only big name prospect he lost was due to the weather, LG Kris Dielman who went back to the 14-2 Chargers offering relatively the same amount of money.
Regardless, Tim Ruskell’s résumé portrays him as anything but a slouch General Manager, and the moves he has made in the past two years for the Seahawks are lining him up nicely for future accolades. Now the Seahawks are lining up for another year, while the 49ers are ready to chomp on some of Jackson’s contract and a lost draft pick.
Now, Darrell Jackson’s future remains unseen. The Seahawks don’t seem too interested in him, and arguably the most-fitting place both emotionally and roster wise for Jackson is just across the bay in Oakland. It would be yet another piece of work Al Davis can take credit for, and he would have a perfect practice partner in DeAngelo Hall. Well, that is if he shows up.
One could also argue that former Seahawks quarterback coach Jim Zorn, now Head Coach of the Redskins, might be interested in his prodigy’s former favorite target. Of course this is all speculation, but the Bills are also an interesting destination for Jackson, as he would likely fit well into the system across a star wide-out in Lee Evans.