New Seahawks guard Gabe Jackson expressed an excitement about joining his new team following a trade from the Las Vegas Raiders earlier this month.
“It’s a new start. It almost feels like draft day, you know," Jackson said in a Zoom call with reporters on Tuesday. "I feel like I’m a rookie all over again, get to go somewhere and meet new people and just start over."
The Seahawks sent a fifth-round pick to the Raiders in exchange for Jackson during the early days of free agency. The Raiders had reportedly intended to release Jackson before Seattle reached an agreement on a trade to bring him to Seattle. He's the one addition from outside the organization to the offensive line this offseason and is penciled in as a starter at one of the team's two guard spots. The Seahawks have re-signed Ethan Pocic at center, Jordan Simmons at guard, and Cedric Ogbuehi at tackle. Veteran Mike Iupati announced his retirement after 11 seasons.
Jackson said he hasn't spoken in detail with the coaching staff about whether he will play at right or left guard. Jackson spent the first two seasons of his career with the Raiders at left guard before moving to the right side for the last five seasons after the team added Kelechi Osemele in free agency prior to the 2016 season.
"I'm pretty sure it's gonna come up eventually soon, but I'm not sure," Jackson said.
Jackson revealed that he had signed an extension with the Seahawks after the trade was completed with the Raiders. Jackson had two years remaining on his existing contract with the team and was set to count $9.6 million against the salary cap this season prior to the new deal.
“I mean it was a few changes to it,” Jackson said. “I actually got a little bit longer deal than I had in Vegas. It’s not too much difference from it. Just a little extension.”
After Jackson revealed the news of the extension, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network confirmed Jackson has signed a three-year extension with the team worth $22.575 million with a $9 million signing bonus and just over $7 million in additional guaranteed money. Per Joe Fann of NBC Sports Northwest, it's a new deal for Jackson and not three additional years to his existing two-year deal. He is now under contract through 2023.
The new deal should move than halve the amount of cap commitment for his contract this season. The contract was reportedly one of the reasons he was going to be let go by the Raiders.
“Honestly, I don’t know exactly,” Jackson said when asked about being a salary-cap casualty. “It was part of it, but I won’t really go into the depths of that. I know it’s a business you know, so it kind of worked on both ends.”
Jackson said he's spoken with several members of the Seahawks roster and coaching staff since the trade. He's talked with Russell WIlson, Duane Brown, Damien Lewis and more guys along the offensive line.
"(Russ) was excited. I don't know if he was as excited as me but we're both excited to work together," Jackson said.
Wilson was vocal earlier this offseason about not wanting to be hit as much as he's experienced during his nine years as quarterback for the Seahawks.
"I'm frustrated at getting hit too much. I'm frustrated with that," Wilson said in February.
"I think that the reality is is that, you know, I've definitely been hit, been sacked, I don't know, almost 400 times. And so we've got to get better. I got to find ways to get better too. And so just continue to try to find that."
Jackson, being the big addition to the offensive line this offseason, was asked if those comments put any additional pressure on him and the group moving forward.
"I wouldn't say that," Jackson said. "I mean, as an offensive lineman or a player in general I feel like you're always under a microscope. But the best thing you can do is just be yourself and work hard, take coaching and just do your best and if you do everything right, you train right, you practice right and all that, I mean it will payoff on Sundays. Just do the small things."
Jackson added that he's looking forward to playing in Seattle given their track record of winning and his past experiences playing in Lumen Field against the Seahawks.
"Oh man, the team, the players that I know are there, the coaching staff, the fan base, the twelves. I remember playing against them and how loud and stuff it gets there. They win, you know. I'm wanting to be a part of an organization that's like that, you know," Jackson said.
Photo Credit: OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 11: Gabe Jackson #66 of the Oakland Raiders defends against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter at O.co Coliseum on October 11, 2015 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)