Let me be clear, DeSean Jackson was underpaid during the course of his rookie contract. Jackson entered the 2011 season desperately wanting a restructured, long term deal. Instead, the Eagles balked at an extension and DeSean earned just under $500K.
This offseason, the Eagles franchised DeSean Jackson. The franchise tag keeps DeSean for one years as an Eagle and pays him the average of the top five players at his position, wide receiver. That number rounds out to a lofty $9.4 million.
To me, DeSean Jackson is over valued. Granted, Jackson has been elected to two pro bowls. Pretty good, but he is not a premier wide receiver in this league if you look closely at his numbers.
Jackson had a terrific rookie season. He caught 62 passes for 912 yards, but he had only two touchdowns catches. That is fine. DeSean was a mere pup at that point. Great season.
Jackson’s second season was by far his best. DeSean caught 62 passes for 1156 yards and nine touchdown catches. Those are the type of stats that number one receivers in the NFL put up year after year.
In Jackson’s third year, he was a big play guy. That is cool if you like style over substance. DeSean caught only 47 balls for 1056 yards and six touchdown catches. He averages a whopping 22.5 yard per catch.
Last season, DeSean compiled 961 yards on 58 receptions with four touchdowns. He did this why being the ultimate “me only” player. Here is the fact: the touchdowns are on the low end for number one receiver production. I want more touchdowns. The Eagles need more touchdowns from him.
Here is the problem….DeSean Jackson is a little guy. Jackson is generously listed at 5’10 175lbs. Michael Vick is a smallish quarterback. DeSean Jackson does not present a redzone threat that Vick can target and utilize.
Many believe that DeSean stretches the field and makes others better by creating more space for them. If that were the case, the Eagles would have a better intermediate passing game.
Some experts compare DeSean Jackson to the Steelers speedy WR Mike Wallace. Look at the numbers: Wallace is more productive (24 touchdowns in three seasons; Jackson 21 touchdowns in four) and bigger (6’0 200 pounds).
The bigger problem the Eagles may have to contend with is whether DeSean Jackson will be happy playing on a one year deal. With so many well graded receivers in the upcoming draft and plenty of top notch WR free agents (Vincent Jackson, Marques Colston, Steve Johnson, Mario Manningham, Robert Meachem), why even take the chance? Here is another fact: Jackson is too brash and will cause coaches and fans headaches at some point next year.