The Philadelphia Eagles have made multiple moves during free agency to both amp up their defense and to maintain key components of the offense. However, the most shocking change to the Eagles’ roster came this past Saturday, when Desean Jackson was released by the Eagles after reports had leaked regarding Jackson’s alleged gang ties.
During Jackson’s first six seasons in the league, he recorded 6,128 receiving yards, 357 catches, and 32 touchdowns, solidifying himself as one of the most talented receivers in the NFL. Although he lacks size, Jackson’s quickness has been the central cause of his success in Philadelphia.
Jackson’s struggles have transpired off of the field. Coming into the draft, teams were hesitant to draft Jackson because of demonstrated attitude and maturity issues.
After signing both Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin to new contracts, the Eagles no longer felt that they needed Jackson. Additionally, the acquisition of Darren Sproles was another indicator that Chip Kelly and the Eagles’ front office were leaning towards a departure with the Pro Bowl wide receiver.
The Eagles have lost one of the best deep threats in the NFL, but that should not have a drastic effect on the offense. Darren Sproles is going to provide the speed and versatility that Jackson did. Sproles is not a threat to get behind the defensive secondary, but he is the ideal contribution to a team that is already one of the best when it comes to screen passes and getting the halfbacks involved in the passing game.
Additionally, Jackson’s success came mostly with Michael Vick at quarterback. Riley Cooper was Nick Foles’ favorite target last season, and Jeremy Maclin has proven to be a sure-handed receiver with a great deal of athleticism.
The Eagles are on the cusp of making a far run in the playoffs in the 2014 season. They are better off getting rid of a player who does not buy into the system, rather than keeping a player, solely based on talent.
The Eagles are one of the most naturally talented offenses in the league with the Pro Bowl MVP at quarterback and the leagues’ leading rusher at halfback.
While Chip Kelly may be young in his coaching career, he has a distinct system that he prefers to run and after a year of implementing it successfully, the Eagles are surely going to be a top-tier offensive unit, with or without Jackson.