Pete Carroll was stoked about the 34-year-old Jackson, saying “he’ll play a lot” against the Rams. Carroll really likes the 26-year-old McCray, too, but is not so sure he will be ready to play this week.
The Hawks sent the Chiefs a fifth-round pick for the 6-foot-1, 205-pound player because they didn’t want to go with first-year safeties. McCray, a fourth-year player, joins Earl Thomas, Dion Bailey, DeShawn Shead and Steve Terrell — all but Bailey played for the Hawks during their Super Bowl season last year.
“We’re ready to start Dion and go; he’s ready to play football,” Carroll said. “He had a good preseason and he’s ready to go. We wanted some depth with some experience, and the other kids were going to be first-year guys. We thought we needed a little bit more depth than that with some background.”
Carroll’s scouting report on McCray, as told to 710 ESPN: “Kelcie McCray is a really good-looking football player. He’s a terrific looking athlete. I’ve seen a ton of film on him. He’s active, he’s physical, he’s a featured special teams guy, which is always a good indicator of an overall general football ability of a guy. He’s a hitter. He moves well in space. He’s played strong safety and free safety back and forth. We’ve seen him in all kinds of situations, close to the line of scrimmage and in the middle. He’s very well-versed.”
Carroll later told reporters, “We need to see him play a little bit, see him practice, and see how he fits in as far as what style he really brings to us that we can utilize right away. We have some flexibility there, so we’ll see where that goes. Obviously a really important week for him. Whereas with Fred there’s no question that he can play this week, I’m not sure about Kelcie. I don’t know until we see him out there, so it could take us awhile.”
In other personnel notes:
As expected, Marcus Burley will be the top nickel back, with rookie Tye Smith backing up. Carroll said, “Burley played for us last year and we like the way he does it. We gave him a competitive shot with guys (e.g., Will Blackmon) coming after him and he held on to the job.”
Backup QB Tarvaris Jackson is coming back from a high ankle sprain, and Carroll said “I think he’s going to make it. I think he’s going to be ready to go.”
TE Cooper Helfet is “running around, so he’s got a chance to go Wednesday, Thursday. Just do it one day at a time. He looks pretty close.” Helfet has been dealing with a sprained ankle after a previous rib injury.
LB Mike Morgan is going to miss the opener with a hamstring injury.
Fred Jackson reportedly will make $900,000 — which probably means the vet minimum of $870,000 and a $30,000 signing bonus, which would mean a $615,000 salary cap hit (via the veteran benefit). The net hit to the cap off trading Christine Michael ($711,766 salary saved, $208,533 bonus acceleration) and signing Jackson would be about $112,000.