Update: And just like that, I jinx it. Hackett should enjoy playing on the sunny side of Steve Smith and the Panthers get a very talented player for table scraps. Updated Mock Draft will be up in a few hours.
I've held my tongue about this. Like a perfect game, I didn't want to jinx it by discussing the possibility too soon. I was sure that Hackett, his youth, red zone prowess, and built for a West Coast skill-set wouldn't make it out of Tampa Bay. The Bucs have nothing but cap room and needs at wide receiver. If Hackett never played a game for them, missed the entire 2008 season because of injury and was cut the following offseason, his signing would still be justified. And yet...
There's speculation among league insiders that Hackett wants to return to Seattle and used his three visits as leverage in contract talks. The 26-year-old wideout may be willing to take a one-year deal from Seattle in the $2-3 million range.
When healthy, Hackett is a huge asset. On a one year deal for a few million, he's almost priceless. When healthy is a big if, but Seattle's in an excellent position. Should Hackett muddle his way through another injury wracked campaign, filled with fits of excellence and faults of injury, Seattle would still have a cheap, sometimes awesome wide receiver. Should Hackett persevere, start all 16 and whatever follows, Seattle will have a top producing wide receiver in 2008, no obligation to his shaky health and the dark cloud it casts over his future plus the supplemental pick that comes from losing a top free agent. Win, Win, Win.
I've said too much.