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Grady Jackson Counterpoint

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Doug Farrar (Football Outsiders/Seahawks.net) emailed me this counterpoint to my list of reasons I don't think the Seahawks should sign Grady Jackson. Now, naturally, I don't agree with all of his points, but it doesn't seem sporting to argue them when he doesn't have a chance to defend himself. For clarity I've italicized my original points. If the Jackson signing ever moves past square one, we can revisit this discussion, but for now, without further adieu, here's his counterpoints:

1. He's 34 nearing 35.

Fair point, but if you're looking to do a short-term fix in rotation (which is all the Seahawks should be looking at right now), he's not a bad option. Jackson hasn't missed a game since 2004 - that's never a sure predictor, especially at his age, but it's worth mentioning.

2. His agent is Drew Rosenhaus, so he's not going to sign cheap. Seattle has roughly ten million in cap room, would you rather that be spent on resigning Tru and/or Lock next offseason or on Jackson and whoever else we can then afford?

I'd rather they did all three. The Seahawks will most likely have even more cap room next season, as the current CBA mandates a base dependent on a percentage of revenue. John Clayton has estimated that it could top out at $120M when all is said and done. Besides, Jackson's age and post-trade deadline status really do affect his market value.

3. Jackson becomes redundant the second Tubbs returns.

And the thought of Marcus Tubbs returning and starting in the NFL again is a bit like the thought of Metallica making a truly great album once again - it's theoretically possible, but history's really against it at this point.

4. Brandon Mebane has earned the chance to start; Jackson isn't going to accept playing only sporadically behind the rookie.

Brandon Mebane has earned the chance to start, but the Seattle coaching staff has (hopefully) earned their paychecks by being smart enough to realize that any defensive tackle in rotation has a better chance of lasting the season, especially if said tackle is the only one with his particular skillset. Mebane is a good (potentially elite) zero- or one-tech, but he's a bit of a hybrid three-tech as well in his pass pursuit. Seattle has to go with something more than one legit nose tackle and a bunch of personifications of the Tim Ruskell Midget Defense Theory (Rocky Bernard being the obvious exception, but he's another Swiss Army guy).

5. The Falcons defense was no better at stuffing short yardage than Seattle. That's especially important to note because the Falcons defensive line is very similar to Seattle's. With a one a gap, penetrator at left defensive tackle, and a pair of well rounded ends. Seattle has allowed 73% of power runs to be successful, Atlanta has allowed 73% of power runs to be successful.

The only problem with the general rating is that it doesn't specify who was doing what and when. If we look at Jackson's specific FO metrics for the 2006 season, he ranked 30th in the NFL in Stop Rate against the run, but his yards per rushing play (0.9 YPP) was second behind only Fred Robbins of the Giants among defensive tackles.

6. Seattle is very good at stopping runs up the middle and behind left tackle: 8th and 5th respectively. Atlanta is 14 and 21st.

Right, but where would they be without a legit nose tackle if (God forbid!!!) Mebane got hurt? Where will Atlanta be in a month?

7. Jackson has limited pass rush ability, making him a poor fit for the system.

I'm not sure it makes him a bad fit for THIS system - Tim Ruskell would put 15 pass rushers on the field at the same time if he could, but there are guys flying in from everywhere, especially on passing downs. Someone has to man the point, soak up blockers, blah blah blah (insert other nose tackle clichés here).

8. Jackson is about as popular as the plague. Why bring a question mark into a team that has extraordinary chemistry?

Ruskell's going to get a lot more intel from his old friend Rich McKay (not to mention a certain secondary coach) than we could ever hope to have. There are things about Ruskell's free agency work that give me the heebie-jeebies, but his emphasis on character isn't one of them. If he goes after Jackson at all, I'm not even worried about that.

And though it's not been one of your contentions, I've been laughing my a** off at the idea that "if he's not good enough for the Falcons, he's not good enough for us." Atlanta's FO has had some remarkably spectacular personnel whiffs of late. Maybe if he's not good enough for the Falcons, the Falcons don't know what they're doing. Or, maybe he's a liability for a rebuilding team and an asset for a squad still in the hunt.

9. Grady Jackson is not the difference between Seattle winning the Super Bowl or not.

Sure, but you don't generally get difference-makers at that level off the waiver wire or in a mid-season trade. You get pieces that help. You get a Booger McFarland, and your run defense starts to turn around when it needs to. You get people who can help YOUR specific team, and fill holes that YOUR team has at that point. Maybe that pushes the Seahawks over the line in the one game they need to win for a home field playoff game. Maybe a pissed-off Jackson with something to prove is the guy who stops Marion Barber dead in his tracks in the Divisional round.

I think we may be seeing what Grady Jackson could do for the 2007 Seahawks a bit differently - you may be looking at a longer-term albatross, and under those specific circumstances, I'd agree. But there's tremendous value if you can identify those players who can, on a short-term basis, and for their own longer-term prospects elsewhere, make it happen for your team right now. I just think there's a way to come at this that makes a great deal of sense for the Seahawks, and it's something that I'd like to see happen under the right circumstances.