Word has gotten out that the Philadelphia Eagles are looking to trade their best wide receiver, Desean Jackson. The Eagles asking price is a third round draft pick. Teams like San Francisco, Cleveland, Carolina and Seattle are believed to be in the mix for the 5’10 speedster as well as the New York Jets, who just acquired Jackson’s former teammate Michael Vick to be their new quarterback.
The San Diego Chargers are in need of depth at wide receiver. The playing careers of wide receivers Malcolm Floyd and Danario Alexander are yet to be determined. They both suffered career-threatening injuries lasts season and it remains to be seen if they play at all, much less in a Chargers uniform, which also is no certainty. Keenan Allen burst into the lead wide receiver role as a rookie and was a close runner up for offensive rookie of the year. The Chargers are desperately in need of a number one quality threat opposite Allen. In a perfect world, Jackson would be a perfect fit.
But we don’t live in a perfect world do we?
Among many of the problems hampering the possibility of Jackson coming to San Diego is his salary. Chargers general manager Tom Telesco is dealing with being cash-strapped for a second straight year, forced to sign platoon players off the second teams of other organizations and resigning his own talent. Over ten million dollars is tied up in dead money from Jared Gaither, Derek Cox and Robert Meachem make up over ten million of the 12 million in dead money that will be off the books by the end of this season.
Desean Jackson is scheduled to make 10.5 million this season and according to the New York Daily News, he is unwilling to restructure his deal. The big money is limiting the Eagles ability to trade him and they may be forced to release him outright rather than keep him in town for one more season.
Last season, Jackson caught 82 balls for 1332 yards and 9 touchdowns. He is one of the fastest players in the league and is only 27 years old. Entering his seventh season as a pro, Jackson is entering his prime. Yet, in an Eagles offense led by new head coach Chip Kelly, they are letting Jackson go. Is it about the money or the player? At Oregon, Jackson collected the nation’s fastest players and racked up an obscene won-loss record outscoring opponents by ridiculous margins. Something doesn’t add up.
All wide receivers are known to be divas. Jackson however, has a reputation as one of the top diva receivers in the league. He has been known to pout and call out his quarterbacks, teammates and coaches in the media when he feels he is not getting the ball enough. Jackson also infamously shut himself down a couple season ago as the Eagles season spiraled downhill, gathering losses along the way. When Jackson is on, he is among the best receivers in the league, but when he feels disrespected he pouts and shuts down making a nuisance of himself in and out of the locker room.
Would the Chargers take that chance?
Assume for a minute that Tom Telesco could get Jackson to agree to restructure his deal making it a possibility to sign him. It would be an excellent fit. San Diego is a perfect spot for the troubled wideout. Jackson is from nearby Long Beach. He would be able to play near family and friends. San Diego fans would shower Jackson in love and the media glare would be considerably, noticeably less searing than it is in Philadelphia. All Jackson would have to do is show up, catch balls from a Pro Bowl quarterback and go on a Super Bowl run with a team on the rise.
What Telesco would have to consider is Jackson’s history. Would he be a distraction? Would he be up to the same shenanigans he was up to in Philadelphia? Could he be a good example to the stable of young wideouts on the Chargers roster? Keenan Allen, Vincent Brown and Seyi Ajirotutu are still in their NFL infancy. With Floyd and Alexander out, Jackson and Eddie Royal would be the veterans of the Chargers receiving corps. Would Jackson accept his role as leader of that group?
What Jackson needs is a change of scenery. Philadelphia has been an underachieving disaster of a team for the amount of talent on their roster. Jackson’s outbursts are a result of frustration over losing, the intense media and fan pressure and a front office resembling a rudderless ship. Jackson is a ultra-competitive, passionate player who seems unable to keep his feelings in check. Sound like another Charger we all know so well doesn’t it?
I still contend Jackson would make San Diego the most lethal offense in the league opposite Keenan Allen. With Brown and Royal in the slot, tight ends Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green working the middle of the field and Danny Woodhead lining up anywhere, Philip Rivers would have a field day finding open receivers. Jackson’s speed takes the lid off the secondary’s coverage, leaving the middle of the field vulnerable to the run and the pass.
Telesco has already made a run at another undersized, disgruntled wide receiver when he offered a contract to former Carolina Panther Steve Smith. That play alone shows he’s not afraid of a ‘diva’ wide receiver if he produces on the field. Attitude issues resolve themselves in the right locker room with the right leadership. Smith and Jackson are cut from the same cloth. Both are blazing fast deep ball threats, cocky, showboats, durable faces of their franchises. Both have been consistent veterans of multiple Pro Bowls. It would be foolish for Telesco not to make a play for Jackson based solely on what he can do on the field. Telesco mentioned team speed as an area he wants the team to upgrade and Jackson definitely addresses that area.
Is a third round pick too much?
In a word, no. Look what last year’s third round pick yielded, Keenan Allen. If this year’s third round pick lands a top five NFL wide receiver who is young and also a special teams solution, that’s getting your money’s worth. As it stands, Telesco may be able to get Jackson and keep his third rounder as it looks like no team wants to pony up that pick knowing the Eagles are on the cusp of having to release him anyway. Even diva veteran receivers know a good thing when they see one. The Chargers are a stock a player would want to buy before it gets too high.
It’s time to come home to sunny San Diego Desean.
The Greg One