Seahawks get 4th-round pick for WR Jackson
San Francisco 49ers
The trade, first reported on ESPN.com on Friday, gave the Seahawks the 124th pick in the draft. Seattle selected guard Mansfield Wrotto out of Georgia Tech with the selection.
Jackson, a seven-year pro who spent his entire career with the Seahawks, gradually fell out of favor with Seattle general manager Tim Ruskell in recent months amid injuries and attitude concerns.
But with few tempting offers for Jackson, the Seahawks improbably helped the 49ers -- who beat NFC West champion Seattle twice last season -- at San Francisco's leanest position.
"You know that makes it that much sweeter that I can go back and face my old team," Jackson said. "I've been looking forward to becoming a 49er ever since I heard the talk about the trade."
Jackson's tenure in Seattle included three 1,000-yard seasons and 47 touchdowns, but also several skirmishes with team brass about his contract, which runs through 2009. Jackson felt he had a handshake deal with former team president Bob Whitsitt to improve his contract -- but when Whitsitt was fired and Ruskell was hired in early 2005, no changes were made.
Jackson had a truculent attitude toward offseason workouts, and he also missed 13 games over the last two seasons with injuries.
"Ever since I have been here, we all know he has not been happy," Ruskell said. "We want you to want to be here. We want you to be happy to be a Seahawk and work well with your teammates. That's what we want, and we just never really seemed to get to that point.
"Yeah, he is a good player, we all know that, and it wasn't about the catches and the yards, but it just never felt comfortable as a fit."
Ruskell said the 49ers' interest in Jackson didn't intensify until just before the draft. Jackson passed a physical in Santa Clara and visited with 49ers coach Mike Nolan on Saturday, and the Seahawks agreed to the trade Sunday morning.
It was a less-than-optimal solution for Seattle coach Mike Holmgren.
"I would have preferred he not be traded to a division opponent," Holmgren said.
Jackson caught 63 passes for 963 yards and a career-high 10 touchdowns last season. He was leading the NFL in touchdown receptions late last season before he missed three games with turf toe.
Seattle signed Nate Burleson to a seven-year, $49 million deal before last season. The Seahawks then acquired Deion Branch from New England in September and signed the former Super Bowl MVP to a $39 million contract.
Jackson could tell Ruskell had soured on him months ago, particularly on issues around his $25 million, six-year deal signed before the 2004 season.
"I was promised certain things and I was slated on certain things, and when the new regime came in, they didn't really want to hear that," Jackson said. "Tim Ruskell is just going in a new direction. He brought in a good player in Deion Branch. He brought in a good player in Nate Burleson. I guess he really liked those guys, and I wasn't one of his guys."
Said Holmgren: "Darrell wouldn't at times make it real easy. It's like your child every once in a while, when they are little, and they are pouting around and angry. They kind of act a certain way, and you put up with it for a while. And then you say, 'Stop it.'
"That's kind of what happened."
Jackson joins free-agent signee Ashley Lelie, veterans Arnaz Battle and Bryan Gilmore and third-round pick Jason Hill in the 49ers' receiving corps. Jackson said he intends to participate in the 49ers' minicamp next weekend to get a quick start on the open competition for both starting spots.
"He gives us a receiver that's proven in the NFL," Nolan said. "He's very productive. He's in the division, and that's important. He's going to compete with Arnaz, and we'll see how that goes. That will be interesting."
The 49ers were desperate for a top-flight receiver after cutting Antonio Bryant earlier in the offseason, and several 49ers have prior experience with Jackson. Backup quarterback Trent Dilfer threw passes to Jackson while both were in Seattle, and personnel chief Scot McCloughan previously was a Seahawks executive.
Jackson is due to make $3.25 million in base salary this season. He said the trade included no major changes to his contract.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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