Eagles Release ‘Best Deep Threat in NFL History’

DeSean Jackson

Getty DeSean Jackson leaves Philadelphia as one of the Eagles all-time best wide receivers.

It’s no secret the Philadelphia Eagles have to make some sweeping roster cuts to get their salary cup number down. The first domino to fall was Carson Wentz and now the quarterback’s top speed threat has followed him out the door.

The team announced veteran wide receiver DeSean Jackson had been released on Friday after a failed two-year reunion in Philly. Jackson got ahead of it by breaking the news on social where he boldly declared he was “looking forward to my next chapter.” The Eagles are trying to trim the fat on their $43.2 million cap deficit.

It’s unclear what kind of market is out there for a 34-year-old burner who hasn’t been able to stay healthy in recent years. He saw action in just eight games over the past two seasons — 65 offensive snaps in 2019, 179 in 2020 — and finished with 23 catches for 395 yards and three touchdowns in his second tour of duty in midnight green.

“We’ve all kept tabs of DeSean ever since he’s been gone,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said in 2019, via NJ Advance Media. “He’s got very close ties to our organization, our players, our executives. We’ve watched him and his maturity and it’s not the first time we tried to bring him back. We were finally able to and I’m glad we have him.”

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the Hollywood ending the Los Angeles native envisioned or the one the Eagles had hoped for. However, Jackson leaves an impressive legacy behind in Philly. He ranks third on the franchise’s all-time receiving list in yards (6,512) and ninth in touchdowns (35).

And his 17.2 yards-per-reception number trails only Bobby Walston and Mike Quick and Ben Hawkins for pass-catchers who played in at least 95 games. The 49th overall pick in the 2008 draft will be inducted into the Eagles’ Hall of Fame someday.

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Eagles Youth Movement at Wide Receiver

Jackson’s exit likely means the end of the road for several Eagles players, including high-priced veterans like Zach Ertz ($4.7 million in cap savings), Alshon Jeffery ($3.2 million), and Marquise Goodwin ($4.3 million).

Philly is embarking on a much-needed youth movement, forging ahead with last year’s draft class — Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, Quez Watkins — while holding out hope that J.J. Arcega-Whiteside pans out. The rest of the depth chart is loaded with low-risk, high-reward receivers like Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward, and Deontay Burnett. The Eagles are also expected — although certainly not guaranteed — to take a pass-catcher in the first round this year.

“That’s something we have to hit on, the sixth pick in the draft, in a huge, huge way, and I think that we have the right people to do that,” Eagles GM Howie Roseman said on Jan. 4. “I know that we’re going to be incredibly focused on not only that pick, but the other picks we’ll have in this draft and hopefully we’ll have a bunch of picks and we’ll go from there.”

Genard Avery Moving From DE to LB

Genard Avery’s trainer broke a bit of news on Friday afternoon when he announced the 25-year-old pass rusher was switching to linebacker in 2021. The Eagles gave up a 2021 fourth-round pick at the trade deadline in 2019 to acquire Avery from the Cleveland Browns.

Avery, who racked up 1.5 sacks in 2020, flashed in spurts but wasn’t able to crack a regular spot in former defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s pass-rushing rotation. The switch to linebacker should solve two problems in Philly: their lack of depth at the position, plus it gives the Eagles an explosive playmaker in space. It seems to be a win-win.


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