The Philadelphia Eagles‘ DeSean Jackson is coming off a 2013 season where he elevated his production into the upper echelon of NFL wide receivers. In his sixth year in the league, he far exceeded all of his previous career-highs, catching 82 passes for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns.
Jackson erased any doubts that the Eagles had overpaid him 22 months ago. A career spent antagonizing Philadelphia’s front office with contract grievances and a defiant public persona did not prevent the team from inking Jackson to a five-year, $48.3 million contract extension in March 2012, which included a $10 million signing bonus. With an average annual salary of $9.7 million, only seven wide receivers have higher yearly pay checks: Calvin Johnson averaging $16.2 million, Larry Fitzgerald at $16.1 million, Percy Harvin at $12.8 million, Mike Wallace at $12.8 million, Dwayne Bowe at $11.2 million, Brandon Marshall $11.2 million and Vincent Jackson at $11.1 million. A.J. Green, though, may soon eclipse them all.
After the Eagles’ playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints, rather than quietly head into the offseason content that his 2013 production aligned with his compensation, Jackson began publicly lobbying for a re-negotiated contract that would add years and dollars to his current deal. Given that Jackson is currently the eighth-highest paid wide receiver in the NFL, despite only once exceeding 62 receptions in a season, his contract grumblings felt more like indulgence than injustice.
Indeed, even with a truculent past, his most recent public contract grievance has been more scripted and less passionate. On and off the field in 2013, Jackson displayed a new-found enthusiasm that was noticeably missing during Andy Reid‘s tenure. His apparent dissatisfaction may stem from pressure being applied by third parties with a vested interest in his compensation structure. Jackson’s extension was negotiated by his former agent, Drew Rosenhaus; his new agent is Joel Segal. Regardless of the dollar value, if a player with a new agent has a career-year, posturing for a new contract is a typical next step.
Jackson has also stated that his current contract is a good one, but he believes that he has outperformed it. Rather than a passionate plea for fair market value, however, Jackson’s latest contact grievance rings hollow. He appears to be placating his new agent rather than seriously putting the squeeze on Philadelphia general manager Howie Roseman, who declined to comment on Jackson’s remarks. It is unlikely that DeSean Jackson will actually follow through and hold out in hopes of signing a new deal.