Identifying connections is a good start in predicting NFL player movement.
The next step is evaluating that connection.
JacksonThat thought came to mind recently while reading once again about the Seattle Seahawks' apparent interest in Minnesota Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, a pending free agent who is not expected to return.
ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer first began discussing Jackson's name last month. It makes sense considering Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell held the same role with the Vikings during Jackson's entire tenure. Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com, meanwhile, reported the Seahawks have done their "due diligence" on Jackson.
No current NFL coach has more background with Jackson than Bevell. Former head coach Brad Childress is out of the game as of the moment, and former Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers is now the offensive coordinator at Boston College.
But we shouldn't assume that Bevell's familiarity would compel him to lobby for Jackson in Seattle. Childress was Jackson's champion in Minnesota, and Bevell above all else is a loyal soldier. In 2008 and 2010, relatively minor injuries prevented Jackson from starting games and required Bevell to find other alternatives. If you were an NFL coordinator, would that history move you to continue the relationship?
For argument's sake, let's say Bevell would be on board. We should still consider a bigger question: What about Seahawks general manager John Schneider?
Remember, Schneider was a member of the Green Bay Packers' front office during Jackson's first four seasons in Minnesota. One of Schneider's jobs was to evaluate Packers opponents. I have not asked Schneider his thoughts on Jackson, and discussing free agency on any level during the lockout is strictly forbidden. But if you were an NFC North evaluator and studied Jackson's game film with the Vikings, would you be eager to sign him as a free agent?
I'm not saying the Seahawks will ignore the possibility of signing Jackson. And on the NFC North blog, it's mostly irrelevant. But I do think it's important to remember that connections are a two-way street. In the case of some players, more information isn't always better.