When Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson first came into the league he was arguably the most electrifying player in the NFL whether it be a punt return, an end around, a bubble screen or a deep ball down field. Jackson was a threat to score every time he touched the football.
The past 2 seasons Jackson’s numbers have gone down significantly both in terms of receiving yards and touchdown catches. A variety of things can be attributed to this. Jackson has been dinged up especially last year, and teams are now starting to key in on the speedy young receiver rolling coverages his way by keeping a safety deep and cutting off his ability to be a vertical threat.
Many fans think another more controversial reason for his dip in production is because he recently signed a five-year extension with the team for big money. I do not echo this sentiment as I believe if DeSean did not get injured 10 or 11 games into the season he was still on his way to a 1,000-yard receiving season despite the glaring issues at quarterback and along the offensive line last season for the Eagles. Regardless, even when he was healthy the big-play-DeSean that flashed greatness in his first three years in the league certainly has not been as evident the past two seasons.
I believe Jackson must step up his game this year. He is getting paid handsomely, more than a receiver like Roddy White and right in the same ballpark that future Hall-of-Famer Larry Fitzgerald is making. He has not matched the production of either of these elite receivers. I believe unless Jackson has a big time year this upcoming season the Eagles may have to seriously weigh his future after they signed him to a mega contract. The ball is in Jackson’s court, and he must show his extraordinary talent in Chip Kelly’s offense or potentially see himself in a different uniform next season.