Gerald Alexander (AP Photo)
Jacksonville’s front office made a swift move nearly two weeks ago when the team acquired safety Gerald Alexander from the Detroit Lions for Dennis Northcutt in a rare player-for-player trade. Both teams were winners in the deal, but the Jaguars pulled of a mini miracle by landing a potential starter in return for a player they were bound to cut.
When it was announced a little over a week ago that the Jaguars were putting Dennis Northcutt on the trade block, it seemed unlikely that there would be any suitors and that he would eventually be cut. Instead, Jacksonville managed to swing a trade with the Detroit Lions that could be considered somewhat of a miracle for the franchise.
In an uncommon player-for-player trade, the Jaguars sent Northcutt up north for Gerald Alexander, a safety that was selected by the Lions in the second round of the 2007 draft. Just on paper, this is a solid trade for both teams. The Lions get a good slot receiver help rejuvenate an offense that has some very good talent. Northcutt talked to Freep.com (Free Press) this past week and expressed how happy he was to be in Detroit.
“I’m excited,” said Northcutt. “I feel like the Lions went out and won the Super Bowl last year, for real. I’m just excited about playing this game for a team that wants me and came out and got me.”
Northcutt was productive during his tenure with the Jaguars, but had a reputation for dropping passes in big situations, something that's plagued him his entire pro career. The Jaguars have some young talent that they are hoping to get a good look at, which helped prompt the team to part ways with the 10-year veteran.
Instead of getting nothing in return for Northcutt, Gene Smith and the rest of Jacksonville’s front office deserves major props for getting a starter at a position of need.
After a stellar career at Boise State in which he played a huge role in the team’s memorable victory over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, Alexander saw his stock soar and the Lions took him late in the second round. As a rookie, Alexander logged an incredibly impressive 81 tackles, two sacks and a pick in the secondary. In his second year though, Alexander’s season was cut short due to a stinger in his neck that caused him to miss 11 games.
The Lions moved forward by taking stud safety Louis Delmas in the second round of this year’s draft, making Alexander expendable. The Jaguars will easily abide by a “one man’s trash is another’s treasure” philosophy as Alexander fills an enormous void.
Last year, Jacksonville’s safety play was horrendous at times. Reggie Nelson regressed in his second year and Gerald Sensabaugh was solid but unspectacular. The team didn’t retain Sensabaugh and replaced him with Sean Considine, who has been mediocre as a safety. Alexander can play either safety position and while he will likely unseat Considine for now, he might be a replacement for Nelson if he has another dismal season.
With decent speed, good size (6’2”, 204 lbs.) and a knack for making big hits, Alexander has already shown that he’s capable of being a starter in the NFL for a long time. At 25, he has a bright career ahead of him, but seeing how he rebounds from his neck injury is certainly a concern.