For the last six seasons, Philadelphia Eagles’ Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson has shown us what a legitimate vertical passing threat can bring to an offense. Previous to that, fans attacked then coach Andy Reid and the Birds’ front office for not giving the team a solid receiving threat. Jackson, drafted in the 2nd round by the Birds, contributed almost immediately to the team’s success. Unfortunately, along the way, there were rough patches, including an infamous 1/2-yard line drop of the ball on a sure-fire walk-in touchdown. Over the course of the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Jackson made his frustrations about a big payday known, increasing an already agitated team. Last but not least, he etched his name in history taking a punt return for a touchdown in the Miracle at the New Meadowlands right before Christmas in 2010. Ups and down – a rollercoaster player on a rollercoaster team.
This past seasons, with new Head Coach Chip Kelly taking the reins, Jackson had some early disagreements with the new coach, but eventually settled in and became an important part of the offense. So much so that Kelly, just two weeks ago, had “committed” to his receiver staying put. But take one look around the league and rumors of DeSean moving to another team abound – Raiders, Panthers, 49ers, Patriots, and Jets to name a few potential landing spots. Would the Eagles be wise to let him go? Why not? They’ve solidified the offense with a powerful ground game led by Shady McCoy, a solid quarterback in Nick Foles, and a consistently productive wide receiver core with Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper leading the group. Draft another solid receiver this May, and rebuild from within.
As much as DeSean Jackson lights up an offense, he has to be managed more than others. He has a history of temper tantrums, and some stupid actions on the field. On the flip side, he has done a lot of charity work, and shown a very humble side. But when it comes to football, the bottom line, he’s a small but speedy receiver. He can break the bank with a touchdown bomb (many of which came new Jets QB Michael Vick), but also suffered from multiple concussions costing him playing time. The Eagles are continuing to stabilize the team for the future, and it may be a good time to effectively cut out a precancerous growth before it grows into something that disrupts the team. That may sound harsh, but Eagles’ fans need look no farther than the infamous 2005 Super Bowl season and the Terrell Owens circus that erupted the following year.
The Eagles have interest from other teams. Jackson may be able to cash in with one of those teams. It saves the Birds a potential headache this season (or the next), and gives Jackson an opportunity to show his worth in a different system. This may be the best opportunity for both parties to amicably split. Much like his friend Michael Vick just did in his classy exit from Philly.