The release of Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson should not shock Eagles fans, but it definitely could surprise some. It has been rumored over the past two weeks that the Eagles were trying to trade Jackson for as much as a third round pick, and if they couldn’t they were prepared to release him.
According to some experts, Jackson wasn’t the kind of player that head coach Chip Kelly wanted in the locker room, and according to Elliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com, his association with street gangs might have also had something to do with the release.
Jackson was, however, associated with Theron Shakir, one of the two men charged with the murder. Along with co-defendant Marques Binns, Shakir is a purported member of the Crips. In addition, Shakir, known as “T-Ron,” is a rapper who recorded for Jaccpot Records, a label owned by Jackson. The two were close enough that they appear together frequently in photographs — including pictures posted by Jackson to Instagram while Shakir sat in jail awaiting trial for the teen’s execution.
“You don’t want to see anybody throwing up gang signs like he did in the Redskins game last year,” Crosson said. “Those were neighborhood Crip gang signs and he flashed them during a game. He may not be affiliated with the gang, but they don’t [ordinarily] take kindly to those not in the gang throwing up those gang signs.”
DeSean Jackson shot down these reports immediately by saying,
“I would like to address the misleading and unfounded reports that my release has anything to do with any affiliation that has been speculated surrounding the company I keep off of the field. I would like to make it very clear that I am not and never have been part of any gang. I am not a gang member and to speculate and assume that I am involved in such activity off the field is reckless and irresponsible. I work very hard on and off the field and I am a good person with good values. I am proud of the accomplishments that I have made both on and off the field. I have worked tirelessly to give back to my community and have a positive impact on those in need. It is unfortunate that I now have to defend myself and my intentions. These reports are irresponsible and just not true.”
The timing of the release makes it seem like there is something more to this situation than what is known by the public. According to Sal Palantonio of ESPN, the Eagles released Jackson because he missed meetings and had a bad chemistry with Chip Kelly, the article on NJ.com only made things worse and scared Eagles officials.
Whether or not that is the case, that still doesn’t explain why the Eagles didn’t get much interest for Jackson, or why they didn’t get any intriguing trade offers that would force them to release the receiver is peculiar. Whatever the case may be, one of the NFL’s biggest deep threats will no longer be wearing green next season.
What now lays ahead for the Eagles is a mystery. How do you go about replacing one of your best offensive weapons that has produced over 6,000 yards and 32 touchdowns in his time as an Eagle?
This is one of those moments when the fact that the NFL really is a business becomes reality and you just have to trust that what general manager Howie Roseman and Kelly are doing is the right thing.
The bright part of this entire situation is that the upcoming draft is extremely deep at the wide receiver position, and the chances of replacing Jackson with a decent starter, are likely. Acquiring Clemson star Sammy Watkins would be an unlikely scenario, but if the Eagles were willing, they could possibly trade up for Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans, or take Florida State receiver Kelvin Benjamin in the first round.
Given that the Eagles still could use a safety like Calvin Pryor or Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, taking a wide receiver in the second or third round would be a possibility as well. And as mentioned before this is a deep draft at the wide receiver position, therefore picking up a starting receiver in the second or third round is a possibility.
Chip Kelly made a bold move, and his biggest move yet as the Eagles head coach by releasing DeSean Jackson. He can only hope that this move doesn’t come back to haunt him. However, the Eagles wouldn’t do this if they didn’t have a plan in place, and it seems like that plan will be in the 2014 NFL Draft.