The Bills have released former Seahawks starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. Seattle traded Jackson to Buffalo last preseason for a seventh round pick after the Hawks acquired both Russell Wilson and Matt Flynn, and after one season with the Bills, T-Jack again found himself the odd man out. Despite initially being told he'd get the chance to compete for the starting job, the Bills evidently decided to roll with new acquisitions in EJ Manuel and Kevin Kolb at the quarterback position going forward. This move comes four months after the Bills had re-upped the free agent and paid him a $500,000 signing bonus, so I suppose at least Jackson made that green and got out while he still has a chance to catch on elsewhere.
And, I think he might have that chance. Possibly even in Seattle.
It's unclear to me if Jackson would even want to return to Seattle - the 2011 Hawks' starter said some things after being traded that indicated he wasn't necessarily happy with how it all went down, but at the end of the day, it's a business, and Jackson may be willing to put that all behind him. He has, from what I can tell, a fairly strong group of fans in Seattle that wouldn't mind seeing him as a backup, is respected by the players for what he was able to do in a tough situation in 2011, and obviously knows the system/playbook from all his years with Darrell Bevell both in Seattle and Minnesota. Seattle obviously likes his toughness and his extremely strong arm, but the question becomes, do they like him as a backup to Russell Wilson?
The big reason Seattle brought Brady Quinn in this offseason is, from what I gather, because of his reputation as a hard worker combined with his physical talents and theoretical untapped potential. Importantly, though, from all reports, Quinn is a consumate professional, extremely disciplined, and lives in the weight room and film room - 'he loves ball,' as you hear the Seahawks' staff say so often. They want a bunch of guys in the VMAC who live for football, and that's Quinn.
The former Notre Dame star and first round pick hasn't been able to put it together on the football field yet in his career, but he has all the off-field attributes that you look for in a backup. If there's a guy that can push Russell Wilson in the work-ethic department, it's Quinn, and I actually think that's a major, major reason he's here.
Obviously, the next question is: who would you rather see actually playing? At this point, for me, it'd be Jackson.
Here's some analysis from Jason Drake, as first posted in the commentary of the announcement Jackson had been released yesterday, that I thought was worth sharing here:
The Good (2011)
In 2011, Jackson posted an ANY/A (adjusted net yards/attempt) of 5.07, which was 23rd among league qualifiers. Football Outsiders calculated his DYAR (defense-adjusted yards abover replacement) at 161, 20th in the league, and his DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) at -6.0%, 25th in the league (that's a normalized score, such that 0% would be league average).
His TD/INT ratio of 14-13 is more indicative of bad red zone play/few red zone opportunities, as opposed to failure to take care of the ball (something Carroll values highly). Jackson's interception percentage of 2.888 was a shade below the league average of 2.906.
Jackson played much of that season with a pectoral injury, and Seattle played the 2nd toughest schedule in the league of opposing defense (included the DVOA and DYAR stats, but not any others). He improved modestly from the first 8 games (4.83 ANY/A) to his last 7 games (5.37ANY/A).
All of this describes Jackson's performance as below average among starting quarterbacks, which should make him well above replacement level and very good as a backup.
Carroll let Jackson go fairly early in 2012. The Bills cut him even before training camp. Maybe they know something we don't. Jackson is now 30, and though sometimes described as a mobile quarterback, he scrambled for a paltry 108 yards in 2011. He also allowed himself to be sacked 42 times, a sack rate of 8.5%, 8th worst among qualifying quarterbacks.
Given the combination of Wilson's intelligence and durability, and lots of young talent, Carroll is almost certainly not going to keep more than two quarterbacks on the regular-season roster. Which means Jackson can only compete with Quinn for the backup spot. Neither is eligible for the practice squad (as I understand it), which is where the Seahawks may have hoped to stow a third quarterback (Portis, before his screw-up) after the final cuts.