Friday, June 13, 2008

Duckett's Deal a Burden?

by: Michael Steffes

I thought I would post this morning in regards to something I have seen circulating through the different sites that compile NFL news. The assertion is that TJ Duckett wouldn't make the Seahawks if it wasn't for his signing bonus. This piece of news is emanating from Frank Hughes and The News Tribune.

Normally, I kind of let the reporters do their thing, but in my humble opinion this is absurd. It is sensationalism journalism and really doesn't do anything but to negatively inflame fan reaction at an extremely premature phase of the offseason.

TJ Duckett is a veteran running back. TJ Duckett has been through numerous offseasons. I am not saying that he doesn't have something to prove, but he knows that there is a long stretch to get ready for the season and it does him no benefit to be the best player at OTA's. He has a training camp and a preseason to show his meddle, his worth, and define his role. THEY HAVEN"T EVEN PUT PADS ON YET. How come it is OK for Owen Schmitt to show nothing because he will show more when pads are on, but the same standard doesn't apply to Duckett? He is a big, physical runner right? Possibly a short yardage guy? Seems part of his value will be determined when he gets to move a pile instead of avoiding contact, right? To continue...

On top of this double standard being applied, get this... Duckett only got 2 million this year! He has a 2 mil roster bonus due next year as well. Maybe his deal isn't quite saving his butt as much as being reported. If it came down to cutting someone the Hawks really wanted to keep vs wasting 2 million, I think the team would make the decision based on the best interest of the team and future. The team has taken bigger losses than that.

TJ Duckett may get cut, no one knows for sure. One thing I do know is that he has a training camp to show who he is. In fact, there were some accounts that he improved dramatically between OTA's. Expect him to make a similar jump between now and July. While we wait for training camp, lets see if we can avoid inflaming fans into believing the team made bad offseason moves, before they get fitted for shoulder pads. That seems fair enough.

If injuries strike the running back position next year, I think we will be glad we have TJ. Kind of like when Mack Strong went down, and Leonard Weaver, who had a terrible offseason, stepped in and made an impact.