Thursday, March 13, 2008

Seattle free agent D.J. Hackett fits the profile that new Redskins coach Jim Zorn wants to add to an offensive arsenal that already includes vertically challenged receivers Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El. But that doesn’t mean Hackett, who today became the first free agent to visit Washington this offseason, is going to wind up with the Redskins.

“This will all be up to him,” Zorn said of Hackett, who declined comment. “We’re not going to risk it all to try to pay him. The financial package has to work. But if we have a chance to get him, we’d like to have him. He’s got two other teams plus Seattle that wants to match [his contract offers].”

Hackett left Redskin Park with Tampa Bay and Carolina on his itinerary with a return to Seattle also seriously possible.

“I tried to instigate this a little bit,” said Zorn, a Seahawks assistant during Hackett’s four seasons in Seattle. “Nobody was bringing him anywhere. I said, ‘Let’s try to get him out here.’ We brought him out here and now [it’s like] ‘Oh, they’re interested? Let’s see if we’re interested.’ ”

Teams are interested in the 26-year-old Colorado product because he’s a 6-foot-2, 208-pound receiver who runs smooth routes, has good hands and won’t shy from going over the middle.

In his final five games last season, Hackett caught 29 balls for 377 yards and four touchdowns. He added six catches for 101 yards and the winning touchdown in the NFL wild card playoff victory over the Redskins.

“When you run slants and things like that, you like to be big enough to where you can take a pounding,” Zorn said. “[When] you’re running inside on curl routes and crossing routes, you like to have a bigger target. And in the red zone when we’re going for the end zone, you like to have a target that you can throw to. D.J. fits that bill.”

However, Hackett was left out during the first 13 days of free agency. He never has produced a season with more than 45 catches, 610 yards or four touchdowns, and he has a reputation for getting hurt. Hackett missed his rookie season with a hip pointer and the 2005 NFC Championship Game and 10 games last season because of sprained ankles.

“One of the reasons he’s kind of looking around is because last year he was injured enough to where he only played six games,” Zorn said. “This guy is going to have to earn a position on any team he goes to right now because of what he didn’t do last year.”

Hackett has also been knocked for his deceptive running style.

“If D.J. comes here, you guys will go, ‘Is he loafing?’ ” Zorn said. “And then you realize he’s behind the defender. He’s a smooth runner. It does look different. It’s different than Santana or Antwaan. If you can get by that, you’ll see that he’s pushing it.”

Notes: Zorn said the Redskins remain interested in re-signing their remaining free agents, led by punter Derrick Frost, but not at their current prices. “You just have to wait and see who’s coming after these guys,” Zorn said. “If nobody’s coming after them, it confirms to you that you’re at the right financial package.”

Voluntary offseason workouts begin on Monday. Minicamp, which is closed to the public, will run May 2-4, which is the weekend after the NFL Draft.

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