Seahawks Should Steer Clear Of DeSean Jackson
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson has the skill set that coaches crave on the outside. He possesses elite speed and quickness, can pick up big yardage after the catch and has improved dramatically as a route runner since he came into the league out of California. He is also a game changer on special teams, as he has made impact plays in the past as a punt returner. Just ask the New York Giants about Jackson's ability to alter an outcome in a matter of seconds.
Considering his wide array of talents and versatility, it is easy to see why Jackson has been linked to the Seattle Seahawks as a potential landing spot via trade. Golden Tate just left a few weeks ago to join the Detroit Lions and the Seahawks need to find his replacement both as a receiver and punt returner, making Jackson an ideal candidate to fill that void. He is also only 27 years old and has lots of great football left in the tank.
However, as much as I enjoy watching Jackson play and believe he could be dynamic for Seattle, I understand that making a trade of this magnitude would have a high probability of being catastrophic.
Let me explain.
Before I begin spitting out undeniable facts and statistics to examine why Jackson to the Seahawks would be a horrible transaction, I want to take a moment to glance at Jackson's career thus far.
There is no doubt that Jackson has been highly productive during his time with the Eagles, and he is coming off his best season as a receiver. In 2013, Jackson caught a career-high 82 passes for 1,332 yards and tied his single-season TD reception mark with nine. Injuries slowed him down the previous season, but he bounced back in a major way thanks to head coach Chip Kelly's innovative offense and strong play at the quarterback position from Nick Foles. In seven seasons with Philadelphia, Jackson hauled in 356 receptions, scored 32 TDs as a receiver and also returned four punts for scores. Not many players have offered similar production during that time period.
As far as talent goes, Jackson would appear to be an upgrade over Tate as a receiver on the surface. But statistics do not paint a complete picture regarding this particular player.
Jackson has not caused nearly as many headaches as players like Terrell Owens caused in locker rooms, but he is not a saint either. Jackson is in this business for the pay day, and he brought plenty of turmoil to Eagles camp during his tenure with the team. After the Eagles shipped Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins, Jackson famously blasted McNabb by saying that he was "very happy with the decision" to trade the veteran quarterback and even hinted that the team would not lose anything without him. In hindsight, it appears that Jackson was right in that statement, but those kind of remarks typically do not sit well within a locker room. He also held out during training camp in 2011 before finally landing a major contract extension and ended up catching only four touchdowns that season.
Jackson's ego has gotten the best of him several times during his career, and it would be tough to predict how he would mesh within the locker room in Seattle. From a positive standpoint, Jackson's toughness has never been questioned. He has played through several injuries in his career, but he has also slacked off at times when he was not happy about the number of passes thrown his way. Playing in Kelly's pass-happy, no huddle offense was the perfect fit for him and may have produced inflated statistics. Considering his past history complaining about opportunities to catch the football, it's hard to envision him being happy in a run-first offense like Seattle employs. Maybe winning consistently would offset that to an extent, but I don't see that being the case.
And then comes the biggest issue of all: Jackson's large contract. The Seahawks have let several quality players leave during free agency and cut popular veterans like Chris Clemons to open up cap space for the future. The front office has been adament these moves were made to keep players like Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman long-term. How would the rest of the team respond if the Seahawks suddenly traded for Jackson and absorbed his $12.5 million cap number for this season? Yes, he could make the team better for 2014, but the players wouldn't be naive to the fact that his presence means "home grown" talents would eventually be pushed out the door. It would be sending a bad message throughout the organization.
That type of predicament could mess up locker room chemistry and affect performance on the field. Jackson's current team knows this all too well, as big spending during free agency prior to the 2011 and 2012 seasons ended up yielding disastrous results for the Eagles. Seattle has already invested big bucks and a first round pick in Percy Harvin, and trading a later draft pick combined with taking on Jackson's massive contract would cause significant damage to the team's long-term outlook.
If Jackson were willing to take a pay cut to join the Seahawks, I might change my tune. There is no denying that he has a rare skill set that would help Seattle's offense at the right price. But there's no way that would happen considering Jackson's past holding out for more money in Philadelphia. His massive ego would never allow such a thing to happen at the expense of possibly winning a Super Bowl title, especially with him still being in his prime.
I'm all in favor of signing Jared Allen, as I believe he would be a great addition to the defensive line and a one-year deal would not affect the team's ability to retain younger players next year. But please, please stay out of the DeSean Jackson discussion. He's a big time talent, but he also brings baggage with him and is simply not worth the money that the Seahawks would have to pay to land him.