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Potential Bills Free Agent: WR D.J. Hackett

Hackett an underrated free agent wideout (Aggie Skirball/WireImage)

What is the Buffalo Bills' biggest need this off-season? This community says it's neck-and-neck between defensive tackle and wide receiver; needless to say, there are a huge amount of Bills fans who would like nothing more to see the Bills add a wide receiver this off-season.

There are certainly more attractive wide receiver names that may or may not be available this off-season, but Seahawks WR D.J. Hackett may be the best fit in Buffalo. Flying under the radar as a free agent somewhat, the 26-year-old Hackett was a key cog in a successful aerial attack in Seattle. Though he's battled injuries throughout most of his career, he's been productive when healthy - in six games last season, he caught 32 passes for 384 yards and three scores. He also played a key role in a playoff win over the Washington Redskins.

Field Gulls' Take
Few Seahawks fans have watched the beginning of Hackett's career with a keener eye than John Morgan, head blogger of a truly excellent Seahawks blog called Field Gulls (a proud member of SB Nation). Mr. Morgan has a very sharp football mind (not to mention a sharp wit), and was kind enough to give us a first-hand perspective on Hackett. His insight is very intriguing...

Hackett seemed to have an impact on the Seahawks' offense when he was healthy enough to play. What are the chances that the Seahawks re-sign him?

Hackett is a very good receiver - when healthy. It's very unlikely Seattle re-signs him, because he's among the top receiver talents in free agency, Tim Ruskell seems determined to reshape Seattle's roster in his image and because Seattle has among the smallest amounts of cap space in the NFL. Too many teams will be able to throw big cash at Hacks that the Hawks simply will not be able to match. While I'd love to see Seattle re-sign Hacks at something equitable given his actual production, I doubt it.

Speaking of those injuries, do you see Hackett as a guy who can't avoid the injury bug?

Injuries are a dicey thing to project, but Hack's recurring high ankle sprains should be enough to give any team pause. A high ankle sprain is a serious injury that requires at least 6 weeks to recuperate from (non-TO, who's either a cyborg, a true freak of nature or a PED-infused cheater.) Further compounding this worrisome predilection is that sprains themselves can increase the probability of recurrence. One might hear "high ankle sprain" and think it not as serious as other injuries, but long term instability or even arthritis caused by recurring sprains can be debilitating, performance reducing or even career ending.

What would you say are the basic strengths and weaknesses of Hackett's game?

Hackett is a crisp route runner, who's adept at losing a DB mid-route. He also has excellent jumps and jump ball skills and timing. That makes him a deep and red zone threat despite sub-optimal top speed. Hackett is quick, but lacks the ability to shed true cover corners. He's a high value per-reception player, but fails to get open consistently enough to truly take over a game. An exceptional slot player that may be a bit overvalued because of success against subpar or Cover-2 type corners.

Discussion Time
I'd like to thank John Morgan once again for taking the time this early in the off-season to answer some questions about a player he may not be cheering for in the near future.

Hackett is an incredibly intriguing option to me. With players like Bryant Johnson at the head of the free agent receivers list (and with players like Randy Moss and Roy Williams potentially available), a Hackett signing would make a lot of sense for a Bills team that probably doesn't have to break the bank to increase effectiveness at the position. Hackett has the size, muscle and red zone capabilities to be the chain-moving red zone threat that the club has lacked since Eric Moulds donned the red, white and blue.

His injuries, however, are disconcerting. It would undoubtedly make me a bit nervous if the Bills brought Hackett into the fold without thoroughly checking out his injury history and passing a physical or two. We saw how ineffective the wideouts became when Peerless Price was injured this past season - and that was just Peerless Price. The player we bring in needs to be in the lineup, it's as simple as that.

I'd love to hear your thoughts not only on Hackett and his impending free agency, but how you'd like to see these bios/interviews structured as we move forward. Be sure to check out our free agent database, a one-stop shop where you can track all of these interviews. Have at it, folks.

Seahawks WR D.J. Hackett
Year G Rec Yds Avg TD FL
2005 13 28 400 14.3 2 0
2006 14 45 610 13.6 4 0
2007 6 32 384 12.0 3 0
TOT 3 105 1394 13.3 9 0