As the story was told, when the then-defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks made the 64th overall selection in the 2014 draft, Gabe Jackson got a call from the team stating that Seattle had considered taking him before making a last-minute change.
Indeed, the Seahawks had the offensive line on their mind with that pick, instead taking Justin Britt.
Jackson, who had been a four-year starter at guard for Mississippi State, ended up falling to 81st overall, where he was taken by the Raiders.
Roughly seven years later, Jackson finally became a Seahawk, acquired by Seattle earlier this month from Las Vegas for a fifth-round pick after playing seven seasons with the Raiders, starting 99 games and becoming known as one of the better pass-blocking guards in the NFL.
“Mistakes happen,’’ Jackson said good-naturedly Tuesday when he talked to Seattle media via Zoom. “And honestly, it could have been someone playing on my phone, you know. And I was just ready to get started with my career in the NFL and play. But I’m here now.’’
He is, to date, the only addition to Seattle’s offensive line, which became the focus of the offseason after quarterback Russell Wilson’s uncharacteristically frank comments that he was frustrated with getting hit as often as he has in his nine-year NFL career.
The Seahawks were able to get Jackson after the Raiders made the decision to either trade or release him due to cap hits he had for the next two seasons of $9.6 million and $9.5 million, respectively.
Jackson was vague about the particulars of how the finances played into his departure from the Raiders, saying, “It’s a business. It kind of worked out on both ends.’’
Indeed, as Jackson first revealed Tuesday, he has agreed to a new contract with the Seahawks that helps both sides. Jackson’s contract now runs through the 2023 season, giving him as he called it “a little extension.’’
As reported initially by the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the three-year deal is worth up to $22.75 million overall, which includes a $9 million signing bonus and $7.075 million in additional guarantees. None of his Raiders contract was guaranteed.
But adding the third year also allows Seattle to spread out the cap hit over three years, and specifically to bring it down to just $4.075 million for the 2021 season — basically $5.5 million less than his previous cap hit. A source confirmed the contract to The Times.
That’s greatly needed relief for the Seahawks, who were listed as being $1.7 million over the cap heading into Tuesday before news broke of Jackson’s new deal.
Future secured, he can concentrate on the task of trying to be a difference-maker for the Seattle offensive line, which otherwise returns six of its top seven players from a year ago.
What does Jackson think about all the focus on the Seattle offensive line due to Wilson’s comments?
Jackson, 29, said he doesn’t feel like he will be under any brighter spotlight than usual. “As an offensive lineman or a player in general, I always feel like you are under a microscope,’’ Jackson said.
Jackson said he has already talked to Wilson and said, “He was excited. I don’t know if he was as excited as me (yes, that was meant as something of a joke). But we (were) both excited to work together.’’
The question remains, though, exactly where Jackson will do that work.
The only spot on Seattle’s offensive line where a starter isn’t returning is left guard, played the last two years by Mike Iupati, who has retired.
Jackson, meanwhile, played the last five seasons with the Raiders at right guard, where Seattle has rookie Damien Lewis. However, Jackson also played all four years at Mississippi State at left guard as well as his first two seasons with the Raiders.
Jackson said Seattle hasn’t told him specifically where he will play but said it doesn’t matter.
“You always have to get used to whatever side you’re on,’’ Jackson said. “It’s a switch up, of course, of your body, your body (to) adjust and learn ways of movement. But it’s doable. And whatever the team wants me to do, the coaches want me to do, I’m for it.’’
And throughout his interview Tuesday, far from seeming daunted at walking into the cauldron of controversy that has been Seattle’s offensive line of late, Jackson sounded only excited, saying at one point of the offensive line that “we can be great.”
Coming to Seattle, he said, is “a new start. It almost feels like draft day. I feel like I’m a rookie again. Get to go somewhere new, meet new people and just start over.”
Seahawks make Carlos Dunlap signing official
The Seahawks on Tuesday made official the signing of defensive end Carlos Dunlap.
It was reported last week that Dunlap had agreed to a two-year deal worth up to $16.6 million with $8.5 million guaranteed. That came after the Seahawks released Dunlap in early March seeking salary-cap relief.
Now, the Seahawks appear to have been able to get both Jackson and Dunlap for far less of a combined cap hit in 2021 than Dunlap alone would have been originally cost (the full details of Dunlap’s new contract have yet to be released).
Dunbar taking trips to Arizona, Detroit; Wright talking to Cowboys
Two of Seattle’s most notable remaining free agents — cornerback Quinton Dunbar and linebacker K.J. Wright — have each been reported to either be taking visits or talking with other teams in recent days.
Wright, who has been with Seattle since 2011, was reported by SI.com on Monday to be “in talks’’ with Dallas, who Wright has said would be one of his dream squads to play for.
It’s unclear how avidly Seattle is working to retain Wright, possibly content to let Jordyn Brooks and Cody Barton take on more of the linebacking duties in 2021.
Dunbar, who earned Seattle’s starting right cornerback job out of training camp last season, is set to visit Detroit and Arizona next week, according to a report from Rapoport.
Dunbar also wrote on his Instagram page that he has been talking with the Seahawks, and it’s thought Seattle would like to keep him.
Seattle has Ahkello Witherspoon, D.J. Reed and Tre Flowers under contract at the corner spots but has been expected to want to add another player. A report last week stated there could also be mutual interest between Seattle and former Seahawk Richard Sherman, though there has been noting new on that front in recent days.
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