The Eagles sent waves through the NFL today, announcing that they have released star wide receiver, DeSean Jackson. Jackson, who had over 1,300 yards last season in his most productive year as a pro, was rumored to be shopped around the league in recent weeks. The Eagles, who had extended him just two years prior to a contract worth nearly $50 million, gave new deals this offseason to wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper, causing many to speculate that Jackson’s days were numbered.
Anytime that a player of Jackson’s caliber is released, there are a bevy of questions that arise — namely, why? What do the Eagles know about Jackson that they feel the need to separate themselves from him entirely? On a football basis, Jackson can contribute to most every team. Yet it appears as though the reasons for his termination are related to non-football issues.
However, despite the murmurs about gang-affiliations, there has been an explosion of fans on Twitter lobbying for their team to sign the newly released wide receiver. One team in particular who has been linked (not by the organization, mind you) is the Baltimore Ravens. However, is this really a move that the Ravens organization — from a football and community standpoint — should look into?
Simple answer: Hell no.
For starters, let’s consider his role and playing style. One of the most electric playmakers in all of football, his speed and big-play ability make him a threat to take it to the house at any time. However, on a Ravens team that has Torrey Smith and Steve Smith already, his skills don’t necessarily add the value that the team is looking for. Jackson has never been mistaken for a physical receiver, and he also has had many mental lapses that have resulted in drops or boneheaded fumbles.
Next, let’s think about his probable salary demands. The Ravens are working with a finite amount of cap leftover after their moves in free agency. Jackson, who before he received his contract extension from the Eagles repeatedly appeared lethargic on the field, claimed this offseason that he felt underpaid in this upcoming season. He was set to earn more than $10 million from Philadelphia, causing those claims to be even more ludicrous. The Ravens are a team that prefers to keep their business in-house, and a player like Jackson who wears his emotions about his finances on his sleeve on gameday, is somebody who doesn’t fit that mold.
Lastly, the suspicions of his gang-affiliation. After the Aaron Herndandez fiasco, the NFL and its member organizations have increased their levels of monitoring. Similarly to Hernandez, Jackson’s father passed away after health problems, and according to many sources, this is where his behavior began to worsen. An article on NJ.com documents the various instances in which Jackson has been directly linked to accused murderers and felons, and on multiple occasions — be it on Instagram or against the Redskins — Jackson has thrown up gang signs that are associated with the Los Angeles Crips.
In an offseason that has seen the Ravens answer questions about a host of legal issues, do you really think that this is a scenario that they would be interested in?
It seems obvious to me that DeSean Jackson and the Ravens are not a fit, and with the way this story is trending, they likely are not alone. We only have the beginning of the story at this point, but for those hoping to see Jackson in a Ravens uniform, don’t get your hopes up.
For what it’s worth, Jackson had this to say about these accusations:
In the end, this is an association that the Ravens can’t afford at this time — both literally and figuratively. And his last name is spelled “Reid.”