DeSean Jackson was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles last week for what the team cited was gang-related activities. Jackson claims to have never – and vowed he will never – be a part of any gang. The team alleges that Jackson has ties to gang members in California, where Jackson is from. Teams may now be more hesitant to sign (for big money – which Jackson will demand) a player that has been tied to gang activity after the league watched the New England Patriots embarrassingly waste 6 years/$42 million on a man who is the primary suspect involved in a gang-related murder.
Jackson’s caused more problems than just that however as he has now publicly (and loudly) complained about his contract through a pair of regimes in Philadelphia. That may be why the Eagles were unable to find a trade partner when it came down to the deadline last week. No team wants to overpay a guy they can sign and keep players on their team, so clearly no team valued Jackson enough to let go of some pieces.
His teammates reactions didn’t help. Veteran Center Jason Kelce, who has been with the team since 2011, tweeted this out:
However, a 27-year old Wide Receiver is a valuable asset to any team when that same Receiver is one of the top speedsters and deep-threats in the game today. A three-time Pro Bowler and coming off a career year where he started every game and ended with 82 catches for 1332 yards and 9 touchdowns. He’s still an on the field plus to any team.
Here are six possible landing spots for DeSean Jackson:
Before the signing of Jerricho Cotchery, the Panthers had five Receivers on their roster who totaled a whopping six – SIX! – NFL career receptions. Team chemistry be damned, they just need someone that can play! Jerricho Cotchery is clearly not the answer so Carolina needs to address their needs somehow. Jackson makes perfect sense as he is essentially a younger, faster Steve Smith (whom the Panthers cut this off-season) with the same size. Whether they look to replace Smith, Brandon LaFell, and Ted Ginn through the draft or free-agency is not yet known, but Cam Newton needs some weapons – any weapon – and DeSean Jackson is a pretty good place to start.
A team infamous for doing whatever it takes to make the team better, Seattle might not have any issue in taking the troubled Jackson into their meditating midst. With Golden Tate signing with the Detroit Rock City Lions this off-season, it leaves a glaring hole at Wide Receiver. Yes, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse are returning and yes, the Seahawks throw the fewest pass attempts in the league and even yes, they need only a competent offense to complement a tenaciously terrifying defense. But, Kearse and Baldwin are average Receivers and the Seattle offense could use a little opening up. DeSean Jackson is a non-injury prone version of Percy Harvin. Harvin, who the Seahawks signed last year, played in a total of two games. Of course, if the Seahawks start a furious pursuit of Jackson, divisional rival and high-octane competitor the San Francisco 49ers may also venture into the fray.
Wait, so you’re telling me there’s a guy with straight-line speed on the market and Oakland’s name isn’t going to come up? Of course it is! DeSean Jackson could have hands like Darius Heyward-Bey and they’d still be interested. (Oh wait, Oakland drafted that other guy? Oh, so sorry.) For Oakland, though, DeSean – at 27 – could be a building block for their franchise. The only concern is: if the gang rumors are true and that’s what makes Jackson a volatile commodity, could Oakland have success bringing him to an environment which is supposed to be toxic to him? The Quarterback situation is a mess between newly-acquired Matt Schaub and scrambler-not-thrower Terelle Pryor, so what comes out of that remains to be seen. The Raiders certainly do need a Wide Receiver, however, as – after Denarius Moore – the Raiders have only two other options. Brice Butler and Andre Holmes combine for five years of experience which totals 34 catches. Very unexciting numbers. The Raiders need a Wide Out, is Jackson too much of a chance?
Kansas City Chiefs:
Sure, Andy Reid and DeSean weren’t pals in Philadelphia, but if anyone in the NFL can fairly evaluate what Jackson brings to a team holistically (in the locker room and on the field), it’s Andy Reid, his former coach. Reid runs the driest, safest, most-conservative offense in the NFL. The defense is phenomenal but, as the Chiefs saw in the second-half of the season, their anemic offense just couldn’t keep up. Paltry production out of Dwyane Bowe and further hesitance from Alex Smith were the main causes. DeSean Jackson upgrades what they have right now for a speedster receiver, replacing Dexter McCluster. Reid could keep his conservative approach intact, but have Jackson, who’s a game-planning headache, to spice it up every once in a while. Behind a terrific offensive line, Kansas City could run end-arounds and receiver screens to throw a different look at the defense. Plus, Jackson can run simple, safe routes and create huge yards-after-the-catch gains, that’s his M.O. If the Kansas City brass is willing to take a risk on the character of Jackson, he would make a perfect fit.
With personnel decisions looking better with each passing moment (this team thieved a first-rounder from Indianapolis for Trent Richardson!), Cleveland finally looks like it’s on the way up. Before a slew of injuries at Quarterback, the team was riding a three-game win streak and looked like a real NFL team. They played New England tough, losing last-minute after holding the lead for 59 minutes, and losing to the mighty Kansas City Chiefs by less than a touchdown. Pairing DeSean Jackson across from Josh Gordon – a monster Receiver in his own right – would be to create something near a hydra – a three-headed fearsome receiving attack with Jordan Cameron, the Tight End. Under a new regime with Mike Pettine, however, the Browns may be looking to concentrate less on one headache player and focus more on building a team.
New York Jets:
If there’s a list anywhere that’s being put together on teams interested in a risky player with upside, these guys automatically make the list. It has seemed in recent years (Tebow, Super Bowl guarantees, etc.) that the team has enjoyed making headlines than playoffs. Jackson would bring talent to a team hungry for Receivers on the field and lining up across newest Jet Eric Decker could make for a good duo in a weaker AFC East. Furthermore, Michael Vick – a former Jackson teammate in Philly – just signed with the team, so Vick may be able to offer an in-depth analysis on Jackson for NYJ management.