Last Friday, Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson was released by the Philadelphia Eagles after six years with the team. He was coming off his most productive season as an Eagle- Jackson set career highs in receptions and receiving yards, while tying career highs in receiving touchdowns and games played.
The Philadelphia Eagles letting go of arguably the most explosive player in the division for nothing is shocking on the surface, but as reports have surfaced about DeSean Jackson and alleged gang ties the Eagles decision doesn’t seem as shocking.
So when the Washington Redskins signed the 27-year-old speedster to a 3yr/$24 million, $16 million guaranteed contract five days after his release, some eyebrows were raised.
There is no denying that Jackson is an All-Pro talent and makes almost every NFL offense better, but are the risks associated with him worth it? Especially for a franchise that’s coming off a 3-13 season filled with drama. What makes DeSean’s signing even more of a dilemma for the Redskins is that he addresses one of the teams most important needs.
Robert Griffin III has been pleading with Redskins management to bring in more skill players to help an offense that had five receptions of 40+ yards, tied for lowest in the league. DeSean Jackson on the other hand was able to account for eight receptions of 40+ yards by himself.
Though DeSean provides the Redskins with the big play receiver that they longed for, Jackson doesn’t necessarily fit the No. 1 receiver prototype. At 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, DeSean is undersized for the position, because of his lack of size he’s not the physical threat in the redzone that teams usually look for in No. 1 receivers.
However, where Jackson lacks in size he makes up for in versatility. Not only can he impact the game as a receiver, he’s able to do so as a running threat and special teams player. Jackson makes the Redskins on the field a more dynamic offense and overall better team, but how does he fit into the locker room?
Today on SportsCenter it was reported by two anonymous sources that it was Jackson’s attitude and relationship with teammates, not gang affiliation, that ultimately led to his dismissal from the Eagles.
So which DeSean Jackson are the Redskins getting? The 3-time Pro Bowler with 39 total touchdowns, or a team distraction who is more of a headache than an asset? Whatever the case may be, Jackson’s release and signing will have a lasting affect on the NFC East.