DeSean Jackson is officially back in Philadelphia. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded him to the Eagles Monday, as reported by ESPN NFL reporter Dianna Russini. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer stated that a contract extension is likely, as Jackson currently has 1-year and $10 million left on his Tampa Bay deal.
#Eagles have acquired WR DeSean Jackson in a trade with the Bucs,” he tweeted. “With one year at $10M left on his contract, an extension is likely being worked on, as well.”
Zach Berman of the Inquirer speculated that this could squeeze out Nelson Agholor.
Agholor was a part of trade negotiations for Antonio Brown, who left the Steelers this past weekend for Oakland. Philadelphia was reportedly looking for at least a second-round pick.
The Eagles drafted Jackson out of Cal in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He played in Philadelphia from 2008-13, where he racked up 6,117 receiving yards and 32 touchdowns.
He then signed a 3-year, $24 million contract with the Washington Redskins in Aug. 2014. After a pair of 1,000-yard seasons, he bolted for the Buccaneers in 2017. He tallied 91 catches for 1,442 yards and 7 scores over 2 seasons.
As he reunites with the City of Brotherly Love, let’s take a look at the updated wide receiver depth chart in Philadelphia:
WR 1. Alshon Jeffrey
Tight end Zach Ertz actually led the Eagles in receiving last fall, but as far as receivers go, Jeffrey was the top target. At 6-foot-3, he is able to box out defenders and rise high for difficult catches.
He has been decently productive the last few seasons in Philadelphia after 5 seasons in Chicago. As an Eagle, he’s caught 132 balls for 1,632 yards and 15 touchdowns. His most impressive game last season came against the NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams in a 30-23 victory during Week 15.
He snagged 8 passes for 160 yards while lining across the likes of Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. He has recorded over 700 yards over each season of his career outside of his rookie campaign.
That level of consistency is why he’s the No. 1 receiver…for now.
WR 2. Golden Tate
Tate’s production took a hit after the Lions traded him to Philadelphia at midseason. That didn’t just involve a new city, but a new quarterback, as well. He needed to unlearn tendencies he picked up with Matthew Stafford, and get comfortable with both Carson Wentz and Nick Foles.
That led to just 30 receptions for 278 yards over the final 8 weeks of the season. At 30 years old, the 5-foot-10 target is a few years away from the typical degradation of play. However, he is only 1 year removed from an 1,000-yard campaign with the Lions.
If he picks up where he left off in Detroit after this offseason, he could supplant Jeffrey. For now, be cautiously optimistic about his future contributions.
Slot WR. DeSean Jackson
Why would Philadelphia dump Agholor for Jackson? The former is younger (25) and more productive (2-straight 700-yard plus seasons) and less expensive ($9 million versus Jackson’s $10, which could go higher).
Jackson was faster in his early years (4.35 versus 4.42), but at 32, that elite speed is only going to diminish over the next few years. Also, the Eagles and Doug Pederson will look to go to more 2-tight end sets next fall, as evidenced by Ertz’s massive numbers.
Jackson obviously will take over for Agholor if he leaves, but the question remains: Why make this deal at all?