Thoughts On DeSean Jackson’s ReleaseBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News Friday, March 28th, 2014
After several weeks of rumor and speculation, the Philadelphia Eagles decided to sever ties with star receiver DeSean Jackson, releasing the three-time Pro Bowler.
The cause of Jackson’s release stems primarily from the organization’s concerns over his association with known gang members out in Los Angeles, several of which are connected with several murders. He also was a distraction within the locker room, and clashed with Chip Kelly and the coaching staff throughout the season. There were missed meetings, poor effort in practice, and various confrontations with the coaching staff.
Was The Release Justified?
Jackson’s off field antics had clearly become an issue.
His reported gang ties, if indeed true, would be enough to raise all kinds of red flags.
Just one year ago, the league dealt with another high-profile player with gang ties when news of the Aaron Hernandez murder came to light. The star tight end of the Patriots quickly found himself released from New England, out of the league, and into a cell.
The details of Hernandez’s situation are pretty scary, and with that incident fresh in everyone’s mind, its hard to fault the Eagles for going in the direction that they did.
My question is what exactly were DeSean’s ties to these people? How deeply was he involved in their activity? All that has come out to this point is that Jackson has a lot of questionable associations. There hasn’t been anything Hernandez-like reported on Jackson as of yet. Unless something close to that magnitude comes out about DeSean, then its going to make me wonder if the Eagles cut ties prematurely.
We haven’t even scratched the surface of the events that led the Eagles to this decision, and there’s a lot that needs to come out into the open. But the Eagles know this situation much more intimately than any of us, and I don’t believe they would have released 1,300 yards and eight touchdowns unless it was absolutely necessary.
The Writing On The Wall Was Always There
The Eagles clearly had planned to move on from DeSean a long time ago.
Howie Roseman made it a priority to get his other top two receivers, Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin, locked up before free agency even began.
The Eagles have also been looking heavily at the receivers coming out in this year’s draft.
Howie Roseman and Chip Kelly both danced around questions about DeSean’s status, including this week at the owner’s meetings in Orlando. Roseman said only that Jackson “remained under contract with the Eagles at this time.” and Kelly cryptically stated that he liked DeSean, but that the Eagles would always “do what’s best for the organization” and that “no one player makes our offense work.”
When I heard Kelly talk about DeSean, I was reminded of his comments about Nnamdi Asomugha a year ago shortly before the Eagles released the disappointing corner. At the time, Kelly gave Nnamdi a lukewarm endorsement, saying that “he had a skillset that could play football”. At the time, it was pretty clear that Kelly was preparing to move on from Asomugha. When he made the remark about doing what’s best for the organization, and that no one player fueled his offense, I thought that was just as clear that DeSean’s days were numbered.
The Odd Interaction Between Kelly/Jackson On Wednesday
One of the strangest elements to this story to me is the conversation that Chip Kelly and DeSean Jackson had earlier in the week.
With trade rumors swirling, the head coach finally made contact with the Eagles early in the week, and reportedly the two had come to some kind of understanding. Kelly reportedly told Jackson not to worry about anything, and to be ready for camp. Jackson then went to twitter, and gave everyone the impression that things were good between himself and Kelly. There were also reports that Jackson had begun to inform his teammates that he was staying in Philadelphia.
And suddenly, just two days later, Jackson is no longer an Eagle.
I just wonder why Kelly would bother telling Jackson not to worry and to be ready for camp one day, only to turn around and release him the next. Kelly obviously had a clear idea where the Eagles were going at this point.
DeSean Jackson’s immaturity, attitude, and apparent lifestyle choices have done significant damage to the Eagles.
The Eagles must now move on without an integral part of their offense. Their best vertical threat is gone. The pressure is on Jeremy Maclin to prove he can stay healthy, and Riley Cooper to prove he can still thrive without DeSean drawing significant attention from opposing defenses. The wide receiver position has gone from a great strength, to a question mark, and will need to be addressed early in the draft.
The Eagles can’t look for one of the top safeties or pass rushers early, they’ve got to make sure that their offense is in the best possible position to click on all cylinders.
Jackson also leaves the team with a significant cap hit that will impact them for the next few years, and the Eagles lose a tremendous on the field asset without receiving any kind of compensation in return.
Its the most destruction that a wide receiver has done in Philadelphia since 2005.
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