BREAKING: Sources: Philadelphia Eagles Will Franchise WR DeSean Jackson

By Bryn Swartz

There are about a hundred reasons why the Philadelphia Eagles did not win the Super Bowl, let along make the playoffs, in the 2011 season.

Michael Vick’s disappointing season. The inability of the linebackers to cover or tackle. The inability of the cornerbacks to cover or tackle. The inability of the safeties to cover or tackle. The blown fourth quarter leads by the defense. The weaknesses at center and right guard, especially in the start of the season.

But one of the biggest reasons was the performance of wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who suffered through easily the most disappointing season of his four-year career.

Despite Jackson’s very poor year, the Eagles will franchise the 25-year old playmaker, according to reports from The Philadelphia Inquirer. He will receive a salary of approximately $9.5 million. The Eagles will then have the option of keeping him for the 2012 season or trading him away during this offseason.

They could also sign him to a long-term contract but that likely won’t happen.

Franchising Jackson would be the best decision and would keep the Eagles’ best playmaker with the team in 2012.

Jackson caught 58 passes for 961 yards and four touchdowns, averaging just 16.6 yards per catch after leading the league with a 22.5 mark in 2010. His only touchdown above 50 yards was a 62-yard bomb in the season finale against the Washington Redskins.

Jackson held out at the beginning of training camp, hoping for a contract extension. But he did not receive one and the disgruntled receiver played half-heartedly for most of the year.

He missed a mandatory special teams meeting on Saturday, November 12th and was benched the next day against the Arizona Cardinals. The Eagles lost 21-17, and likely would have won the game if Jackson had played (receiver Jeremy Maclin was knocked out of the game with an injury).

Jackson was benched two weeks later against the New England Patriots after dropping a pair of touchdown passes. Rumors circulated that Jackson would be suspended for the remainder of the season but the Eagles decided to give Jackson another chance, and there were no incidents over the final month, during which the Eagles won all four games to finish with an 8-8 record.

If Jackson leaves, expect the Eagles to draft a wide receiver or attempt to sign one in free agency. Their current corps of DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, and Riley Cooper is an above average group of targets, but would immediately drop to below average if the Eagles lost DeSean.

2012 is a Super Bowl or bust season for the Eagles, and keeping Jackson is a big step in the right direction.

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