Philadelphia Eagles Dilemma: Cut, Franchise Tag Or Franchise And Trade DeSean Jackson

By Frank Benditt III

This offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles have a decision to make with two time Pro-Bowl receiver DeSean Jackson.  Should the Eagles cut ties, slap the franchise tag on him or tag Jackson with the intentions of tading him.  Based on Jackson’s performance during the 2011 season, and the fact that DeSean and agent Drew Rosenhaus are reportingly seeking a big time contract extension matching the league’s elite receivers, the Eagles will most likely balk at the proposition of a long term deal.

DeSean Jackson finished the 2011 season with 58 receptions, 961 yards and four touchdowns.  These are not bad numbers, nor are they sterling.  The problem with Jackson last year was his attitude.  He saw the Eagles sign free agents for considerable money (ie, four million dollars to Steve Smith), while they stalled on his contract talks.  DeSean was entering his final year of his rookie contract.  With his durability issues, along with the doubt that he is truly a number one receiver, the Eagles were in no hurry to negotiate a deal.  Jackson used the circumstances as an excuse to alligator arm balls, take plays off and virtually give no effort on punt returns.

The franchise number pays the average of the top five wide receiver salaries for one year, which is currently around $10 million.  The Eagles could go this route, hoping Desean complies with full effort.  The question still lingers:  would Jackson be happy with a one year deal?  I doubt it.  Headaches would still loom.

Under head coach Andy Reid, the Eagles do not like to let players go without getting something in return.  That is why the Eagles could franchise DeSean, so they could effectively trade him for return value.  That scenario would most likely bring a draft pick/s.

Coincidentally, 2012 is a strong year for free agent wide-outs.  That is why I believe cutting Jackson is the best option for the Eagles.  DeSean is a mild headcase.  Furthermore, he lacks red-zone presence, does not go over the middle and is zero help blocking on the outside.

I wrote an article entitled, ‘Philadelphia Eagles Must Make A Splash Into The Wide Receiver Free Agent Market’ that lists the top three receivers the Eagles should target.  Let us recap:

“There are three receivers I would like to see the Eagles pursue.

My number one choice would be the San Diego Chargers Vincent Jackson.  Jackson is 29 years old, has terrific size (6’5 230 lbs), stretches the field (18.4 yds per catch in 2011) and is more productive scoring touchdowns (nine in 2011).  Michael Vick could use a big target.

My second choice would be Marques Colston of the New Orlean Saints.  Colston is 28 years old, catches more balls (80 in 2011) than Jackson and, again, has the size (6’4 225 lbs) that could benefit Michael Vick.

The third on my list is the Buffalo Bills Steve Johnson.  Johnson is only 25 years old, caugtht seven touchdowns from a terrible quarterback (Ryan Fitzpatrick) and has more size (6’2 210 lbs) than the diminutive Jackson.

Any one of these three players would look good in an Eagles uniform.  Furthermore, I believe any one of them would be an upgrade over DeSean Jackson.  It is probably just me, however, I am so tired of the diva athlete.  Despite DeSean’s size, there is no bigger diva than Jackson.  Just take a look at his bio…”

There are still more options who are free agents.  Hers is a few:  Dwayne Bowe, Plaxico Burress, Jerricho Cotchery, Pierre Garcon, Jordy Nelson, and Reggie Wayne.  If it was a year that presented a weak  free agent class, I may re-think my position.  There are just too many quality receivers available for the Eagles not to take the splash.


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