According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Eagles will apply the franchise tag to wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
As McLane points out, the Eagles will do one of three things with the 25-year-old receiver before the March 5 deadline to use the franchise tag:
1) Franchise him and keep him for the 2012 season.
2) Franchise him and trade him for compensation–presumably in the form of a first-round draft pick.
3) Sign him to a long-term contract.
The last scenario seems to be the most unlikely at this point, given the apparent disagreement on Jackson’s worth between his camp and the Eagles.
If the Eagles use the tag on Jackson they will owe him nearly $9.5 million dollars. That would be a significant upgrade from the contract that paid him only $3 million over the past four seasons.
Jackson said after the season that he would play under the franchise tag and was apologetic that he let his contract woes impact his play. We’ll see if he sticks with that sentiment if the tag is in fact used.
Given that 2012 is seemingly a make or break year for Andy Reid and his coaching staff, it would make sense to bring back Jackson. Starting Jason Avant or Riley Cooper opposite of Jeremy Maclin doesn’t exactly sound like a tandem that will lead the Eagles to a championship.
Two questions will likely dictate what the Eagles do with Jackson.
*Would they exile Jackson via trade and go with someone like Vincent Jackson or Dwayne Bowe-if they hit the market?
*What type of demand would there be in a trade?
Despite his decline in production, Jackson finished the season with 58 catches for 941 yards and four touchdowns.
The guess here? You’ll be able to wear your Jackson jersey one more year.