“After careful consideration this offseason, Eagles decide to part ways with DeSean Jackson. The team informed him of his release today.”
Clearly there’s more to this story than the tweet above posted by the Philadelphia Eagles today. Whatever the reasons, Jackson, 27, coming off the best season of a six-year career that includes two Pro Bowl nods, is now a free agent.
Salary wise, Jackson was the costliest Eagle, with a $10.5 million contract, a $12.75 million cap hit. By releasing him, Philadelphia saves $6.5 million in cap space but that’s not the main consideration as the club was already $16 million under the cap.
Jackson’s release brings the end to his Eagles career but also to a strange couple of weeks where trade rumours involving Philadelphia’s No. 1 receiver were rampant, then silenced after Jackson proclaimed that he would remain an Eagle.
Jackson’s announcement came following a meeting with head coach Chip Kelly, who saw the situation from a different perspective. While clearly specifying that the club would not trade Jackson, Kelly also clearly said he would do what was best for the team.
Nobody thought that would be this.
Whether the issue is Jackson’s relationship with Kelly, or as has been reported, his lack of commitment in the offseason or his links to gang members in his native Los Angeles, the Eagles didn’t think the speedy receiver was worth the trouble.
The Eagles didn't even want to entertain more offers and get a draft pick in return.
Fellow receiver Jeremy Maclin compared the situation with that of Terrell Owens when he was in Philadelphia. And that was before Jackson was released.
“Whatever happens in the organization happens in the organization,” Maclin told CSNPhilly.com on Thursday. “This was a similar situation when the Eagles decided to part ways with T.O. That’s just how the game goes sometimes. So I guess we’ll see.”
What we have seen may be the best bit of offseason news for Cowboys fans, as long he doesn’t re-sign within the division.
Jackson may be a bit of a diva and may have angled too hard for a new contract but there’s no denying he’s a playmaker. His blazing speed created a lot of space for Kelly’s offence last season, opening a lot of holes for receivers, tight ends and backs.
The Eagles get Maclin back and though he may have surer hands, he is not the threat Jackson is. And Maclin is coming off a season-ending knee injury. Instead of lining up Jackson with Maclin and Riley Cooper, Jason Avant will step in.
Philadelphia will miss the 25 catches of 20 yards or more that Jackson hauled in last season. To compare, Dez Bryant had 14 such big plays in 2013. Jackson caught 82 balls for 1,332 yards and 9 touchdowns. If Avant comes close to those totals, I'll eat my shorts.
The Eagles dealt for Darren Sproles and he will help stretch the field horizontally but unless Philadelphia drafts a Jackson clone, the vertical threat is gone.
And for a Dallas secondary that’s coming off some serious wind burn last season, that’s welcome news after seeing Jason Hatcher and DeMarcus Ware leave. Signing defensive tackle Henry Melton was nice but much more was needed to shore up the league’s worst unit.
No, Cowboys fans are left cheering the demise of division rivals. And this is as good as it gets these days.