Seahawks to sign RB Fred Jackson


Apparently the Seahawks don’t have as much confidence in their young backup running backs as we all thought. The team is set to bring in ex Bills RB Fred Jackson today, and a deal is expected to be done.

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This may seem like an odd move to some, as the Seahawks have two young, talented running backs behind bell cow Lynch. But for all of their ability, Robert Turbin and Christine Michael both come with major question marks. Neither has shown to be an instinctive, natural runner, capable of being an every-down back in the event Lynch were to go down with injury….. at least not yet.

Jackson might not be the best option to carry the load if Lynch were to get hurt either. The minute he signs his deal with Seattle he will once again become the league’s oldest active player at 34.

Jackson ran for 5,646 yards on 1,279 carries over his 8 year Buffalo career, always sharing the stage with higher-profile running mates such as Lynch and C.J. Spiller. He looked good in the preseason this year, rushing for 48 yards with a TD on 5 carries against Pittsburgh last week, and was expected by most to be the backup to newly acquired LeSean McCoy. His release yesterday was called “shocking” by the Sporting News.

What Jackson offers is an outstanding 3rd down option, with 322 catches for 2,640 yards in his career. He will assuredly serve as the primary backup for Lynch and provide a veteran presence to help tutor the teams still-young 3rd stringer.

But who that will be now becomes the most intriguing question of the final few days of the preseason.

Turbin, 25, was the Hawks 4th round choice in 2012. He’s been Lynch’s primary backup since he’s been here and is currently listed as the #2 on teams official depth chart, but has never looked the part of full time heir apparent. Turbin is in the last year of his deal, with a salary cap number of $774,000.

Michael, 24, is in his third year. Drafted in the 2nd round in 2013. He has struggled with ball security and failed to beat out Turbin since he’s been here. He’s looked better than Turbin this preseason, leading the team with 79 yards rushing. He has two years remaining on his rookie contract, with a cap number of about $1 million each year.

This is an intriguing move, and one I didn’t even consider possible when news of Jackson’s release broke yesterday. Clearly it speaks to the teams lack of confidence in Turbin or Michael to step up in the event Lynch gets hurt. It will be fascinating to see if there is a trade market for either one of them this week, or if the team has to simply release one. And who will it be? It’s possible but unlikely the Seahawks could carry all 4, along with FB Derrick Coleman, to see how it all shakes out. Typically they only carry some combination of 4 RB/FB’s on the roster.

However it shakes out, one of the youngest rosters in the league just got a little bit older with the impending signing of Fred Jackson.

***Update: Pete Carroll confirmed in his press conference today that Turbin has a “significant” high ankle sprain and could be out 6-8 weeks. Jackson’s signing is apparently contingent on how his physical goes, but now you know why the team is bringing him in. As far as Michael goes, Carroll had high praise for him today.****

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