A little over an hour ago, the Philadelphia Eagles released absolutely electrifying but possibly troubled wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Jackson was due $30.5 million over the final 3 years of his deal, but none of the money was guaranteed. But, for once, it doesn’t look like a player’s cap hit was the biggest reason for cutting him.
It’s impossible to ignore the fact that the Eagles released Jackson 35 minutes after this NJ.com article, which is a must read, was published. The article tells us that Jackson has ties to the Crips gang in Los Angeles, where he’s from, and his name was sorta kinda associated with two murders, one in 2010 and the other in 2012. He was also arrested for marijuana possession, tinted windows, and disturbing the peace in South Jersey after being pulled over.
It’s hard to know what to believe here. First of all, let’s not vilify a guy for being arrested for weed, especially when, as far as we know, he wasn’t driving high. But as for the far more serious possible ties to homicides, I’m obviously concerned like anyone should be, but I don’t think it’s as much of a worry as the Eagles want us to think.
It’s incredibly clear that the Eagles provided the information for the NJ.com story, and it’s just as certain that they planned it to coincide with when they would release Jackson. The story kills his trade value, so there is no way they would’ve done it any earlier. Now, it helps them explain to the public why they did it. I’m not buying the idea that these two homicide investigations were enough to get him released on their own, because there’s a detail that the NJ.com article smartly pointed out but that the Eagles would rather not have us believe.
The December 2010 homicide, which seemed to be the bigger concern of the two based on the article, happened about 14 months before the Eagles signed Jackson to a 5 year, $48.5 million deal. If they had been that concerned about the homicide at the time, why sign him to that deal? In fact, Jackson’s trade value was at its highest going into the 2011 season, when Jackson held out for a few days. Why not trade him at that point and maximize his value to the franchise if they were really that worried?
Of course, there was the second murder, but I don’t see why that would worry anyone as much, based on the facts we have. A party had taken place at a building that one of Jackson’s family members owner. Sure, that’s bad, but I don’t see where he’s directly implicated in anything, and there’s no evidence that we know of that he was friends with anyone involved, as there was in the first killing.
To me, it seems that Chip Kelly didn’t feel that DeSean Jackson fits his locker room overall. Jackson’s teammates seem to love him, and maybe Kelly feels that Jackson’s overall attitude and work ethic aren’t a good influence to have. That’s fine, and it’s also clear that his possible gang ties are a legitimate concern. I’ll never deny that, but no one else should try to deny that the Eagles are also using these stories publicly to try to explain their decision to release such a talented receiver.
Whether the Pats would get Jackson? They have about $8.5 million left in cap space and a ton of holes on the roster. Unless he plays for a pittance compared to what he’s worth, there’s no chance. But let’s hope that he signs the 1 year, $3 million deal that Randy Moss did in 2007.