In Chip Kelly’s high-octane offense, speed kills.
But even DeSean Jackson’s electrifying speed couldn’t outrun his alleged off-the-field issues causing the Philadelphia Eagles to release the 3-time Pro Bowler.
Jackson is one of the league’s most explosive receivers averaging 16.2 yards per catch (9th), and has gained 17.2 YPC in his NFL career. He set career-highs in catches (82), yards (1,332) and tied his career high with nine touchdowns in 2013. Even at a smallish 5-foot-10–in football standards–Jackson’s problems were too big of a headache to keep him on the roster.
Easily one the most shocking news of the offseason in the star receiver’s release, but Philadelphia were openly trying to trade him for weeks. Besides on-field-actions such as taunting and costly penalties, off-the-field, according to NJ.com, it was a bad attitude, an inconsistent work ethic, missed meetings and a lack of chemistry with head coach Chip Kelly were the original reasons for his fall from grace.
No one is perfect, we all get that. Mistakes happen. It’s life. However, what ultimately drove the Eagles to release Jackson was a report of his possible gang affiliation. Yes, that does warrant significant cause for concern, but Jackson has not been involved in any reckless behavior that would prove he is involved with gang activity. Although, pictures have surfaced a Jackson posting possible gang signs. Learning news of this report and the allegations against him, he vehemently denied the statements saying:
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 don’t know all of Jackson’s antics, but honestly, this was a complete overreaction by the Eagles because of one reason:
Hernandez was arrested and charged with first-degree murder last summer and was still linked to other murder cases–also affiliated with gang members.
The Eagles acted too hastily, but it’s better safe than sorry, right? Or maybe the Eagles believe in Kelly’s system who made a star out of Riley Cooper who only had 46 receptions, 679 yards and 5 touchdowns in his first three seasons. In 2013, he posted a career high of 47 catches 835 and eight touchdowns.
Any who, back to Jackson. Some teams might have a “buyer’s beware” tag on him, but that still didn’t stop a reported nine teams who have shown interest in the now available receiver.
Here are the teams who I think would best fit the Jackson:
For one thing, Washington is in the same division as the Eagles. Having the opportunity to face his former team twice a year and paired alongside Pierre Garcon with Robbert Griffin III as his quarterback, seems too enticing for Jackson to overlook. Not to mention Washington’s owner Dan Snyder has a history of shelling out millions of dollars to free agents. As of now, Washington still has roughly $7 million under the cap and have reportedly scheduled a meeting with Jackson Monday.
2. New York Jets
No receiver on the Jets roster had over 600 yards receiving last year–that’s either a byproduct of the pedestrian talent of the receiver corps, or the inability of Geno Smith. Smith leads me to my second reason, the Jets new quarterback, former Eagle Michael Vick.
Vick told NFL.com, “If there’s an opportunity to get DeSean, I’m pretty sure the New York Jets fans would be in favor of that…if he ends up in New York, we’ll be happy, just as happy as he will be. But who knows, you can’t say.”
Jackson to New York would pair him with his former quarterback who I think will beat out Smith in the quarterback battle throughout training camp.
3. Kansas City Chiefs
I say the Chiefs because of the Andy Reid connection when he was formerly the head coach of the Eagles. However, Kansas City has just over $4 million in cap space, the Chiefs may not have enough to sign Jackson to a contract that’s up to par with his production. The Chiefs did lose return specialist and “offensive weapon” Dexter McCluster in free agency. Adding Jackson would fill the void in the return game and position another weapon alongside Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery and Jamaal Charles.
Chiefs’ quarterback, Alex Smith, who is owed $8 million in non-guaranteed money for 2014, is a quarterback who excels when he has the proper talent to support him. Jackson to Kansas City may be unlikely because of cap space, but it’s an ideal fit.
4. Oakland Raiders
Jackson spent his college days playing for the California Golden Bears, not far from the Oakland Coliseum where the Raiders play. Reports have surfaced of Jackson reportedly reaching out to Oakland before he was released. The Raiders have a history of signing and drafting speed players. Obviously, Jackson fits the mold with a blazing 4.35 40-time.
Unlike most teams who are pursuing Jackson, the Raiders have roughly around $32 million in cap space possessing the ability the sign the sought after receiver.