New York Jets – Go Get DeSean Jackson

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Despite public posturing earlier in the week, the relationship between DeSean Jackson and the Philadelphia Eagles has likely reached a point of no return. When there is this much chatter on a player leaving a team and the General Manager and Head Coach remain so noncommittal about his return, he is as good as gone. The Eagles hope to trade him but eventually just releasing him outright is not out of the question. There has been debate about whether the Jets should pursue him via trade or look to sign him if he is released. Considering the Jets financial situation, their need at the position, Jackson’s skill set and his fit into their offense…yes…the Jets should go get DeSean Jackson.

A common line of thinking is there must be something grievously wrong with Jackson if the Eagles would consider moving on from such a productive player. Yet, the Eagles are also placing Pro-Bowl guard Evan Mathis on the trading block. Why move on from such talent? The reality is that the new regime in Philadelphia likely does not want to pay big money to players who are not “their” guys. Chip Kelly probably believes he can draft a player like Brandin Cooks in the first round to replace Jackson and get comparable production at a fraction of the cost. He also can groom Cooks in his program and not deal with veteran expectations about targets and a role in the offense. It is an egotistical and somewhat risky way to think but there is nothing wrong with it, NFL head coaches need to be confident in their system and ability to develop players.

However, it does not mean that Jackson isn’t every bit the game-breaker he has proven himself to be. Let’s not kid ourselves, Jackson is a big play machine who is smack in the middle of his prime. He is a borderline top 10 player in the league at his position and would be a perfect fit opposite of Eric Decker in the Jets primary two receiver sets and form a lethal three wide look with Decker and Jeremy Kerley. We know he is a strong fit in Marty Mornhinweg’s system and similar to Decker can produce on deep balls as well as any wide receiver in the NFL. It is also just so happens the Jets have a likely starting quarterback who was very good attacking deep in his rookie season.

Jackson does come with potential baggage. He has clashed with his coaching staff before and has showboated in a way on the field that bothers people. Regardless, Jackson has never been arrested. He has never been suspended by the NFL. Too many people rush to compare his situation to Santonio Holmes, who came to the Jets with a four game suspension and was one strike away from a one year suspension. The disappointment with Holmes overall tenure in New York cannot prevent them from improving their talent at positions of need in any upcoming offseason. Each individual player is different. Each individual case is different.

The Jets are flush with enough cap space to handle Jackson’s contract, which is pricey but in the case of a disaster would be manageable to cut bait with before 2015 and even more manageable to cut bait with before 2016. Although any thought of him not making it through three seasons in the middle of his prime is assuming the worst case scenario.

Despite anything being written to the contrary, the Jets organization wants Geno Smith to win the quarterback competition this summer and have a strong sophomore campaign, where he can prove himself as the quarterback for the foreseeable future. It gives the team a cheap starting quarterback and means they don’t have to restart their search for a long term answer next offseason. Mike Vick is a competent fail-safe if Smith gets hurt or begins to struggle like he did last season. However, the Jets organization is much better off if Smith wins the job and runs with it. What is the best way to insure their young quarterback has success in year two? You give him two of the NFL’s top 20 wide receivers, who excel at getting down the field and then you find a tight end who can make plays down the seam in the NFL Draft.

It is rare for a player of Jackson’s ability to shake free at this point of the offseason. Fortunately, the Jets have maintained enough cap flexibility to make a move when a situation like this arises. Personally, I wouldn’t risk waiting out on Jackson potentially being released and hitting the open market to be wooed by a variety of teams. The Jets are loaded up with 12 draft picks, including 8 of which that are eligible to be traded. Considering they have three fourth round picks and four sixth round picks, is a 4th and 6th worth it for a player of Jackson’s skill-set? I’d say so.

  • Sean F.

    Good stuff. I think the money will be a factor despite their cap room, but I would do it. He’s a game-changer and his presence on field influence how a defense plays dramatically.

    As for him being a diva, that’s for Rex and MM to rein in. He’s not the first one like this and won’t be the last. It’s good to have a deep WR draft tho as a fallback

  • mike

    preach

  • joeydefiant

    I hope so, but it seems to me he is going to stay an Eagle this year. Seems like his agent talked to teams and no one is willing to pay him more than the 10 million he is scheduled to make so he is going to stay where he is. If a team offered him 11,million and gave the eagles anything the deal would be done.

  • Cole Patterson

    I have a gut feeling it’s just a matter of time. Eagles are likely backing off their threat of release him in order to improve his value. Unless someone bites (Raiders?), they will take the best option. Idzik won’t budge but some combination of a 4th, 6th, and Stephen Hill ought to do the trick.

  • Frank Antonelli

    Idzik did the exact thing last year with Ivory. A 4th round pick would be fair compensation for Jackson. Of course they were able to sign Ivory to a 3 year contract with pretty favorable terms. Not sure that we can manage favorable terms with Jackson. But certainly he fits what our most glaring need is.

  • Lidman

    Love his talent, would worry about his attitude.

    -Constantly talks contract, and that doesn’t go over well here.
    -When he wasn’t able to renegotiate after the 2010 season, he openly complained and many thought he didn’t play hard the following year. Players have no issues with guys holding out for their money, but if a guy goes on the field, and doesn’t give 100%, it’s a problem. So, if the NYJ are going to trade for him, they better make sure he’s ready to play for what he’s signed for, because it doesn’t appear they’re likely to sign him to a bigger deal.
    -I don’t think it’s completely out of the question that Vick was brought here to start. However, if he doesn’t and Geno gets off to a slow start and DJax starts clamoring for Vick, that’s another issue.

    No doubt this guy can light it up, when he’s engaged, but it’s certainly is a big risk. Joe, you bring up a great point on Chip Kelly thinking he can simply use B Cooks the same way. If you’re the NYJ, the same holds true. If you can get him for a 4 and 6, and not spend anymore money, good deal. If you have to give up a 3rd, or pay the guy more, pass.

  • Frank Antonelli

    I forgot to mention two red flags which I’m sure the Jets will do their due diligence on:

    (1) There are reports that he is in serious financial difficulties.

    (2) He made some Crips gang signs at DeAngelo Hall.

    Could it be these are the real reasons the Eagles are giving up on him?????

  • KAsh

    Jackson would be a great pickup, but I do not expect the Jets to be proactive in getting him. First, we are not paying him over $10 million/year. We can, but Idzik won’t. That means Jackson either agrees to restructure or is cut. If Jackson does not restructure, there is no way Idzik gives up multiple picks for him. If Jackson is cut, you can expect the Raiders to pay top dollar and Idzik to offer a fair price, with Jackson going to the Raiders.

    While Jackson would make a nice addition, I would say the chance of him coming to the Jets is about 25%.

  • Lidman

    Kash..if cut, DJax’ price would be determined in ‘the bazaar’, and would be the right price. I do agree that I don’t see Idzik willing to pay the price he is likely to get.

  • http://simplysimon-simplysimon.blogspot.com/ Simon Gribben

    He is a tough WR with great results, like Stevie Smith. But his diva shit doesn’t float and will sink his teammates and Jets fans. If the price is right, sign him and keep a red hot poker handy for fits of malcontentism!

  • Lidman

    Frank,

    No idea about DJax finances, but if true would certainly seem to point to him wanting another big pay day, which doesn’t seem to fit with what Idzik wants to do.

    That said, Woody was ok with giving Cro $500k, up front, when he was traded from SD.

  • Frank Antonelli

    Lidman. Finally something we can agree on! I don’t think DJax is coming here either. I like his football skills but I do think his character is in question and his salary demands will be excessive.

  • Kyle

    A no to Jackson. Anyone who thinks Jackson has talent is right. Anyone who feels he’s a great fit for the jets needs to reevaluate your knowledge of football.

  • KAsh

    @Lidman

    I continue to wonder at how you want to introduce market analogies to free agency. No, the price Jackson gets will not be the “right” price. If someone pays Jackson over $10 million per year, that person is a fool. It is a similar situation to how people expected Decker to get $8-$10 million per year and everyone thought that would be excessive. Was $12 million per year the right contract for Mike Wallace? Was $42.5 million with $20 million guaranteed for five years the right contract for Everson Griffen? Were the Titans right to give CJ2K a contract worth over $10 million per year?

    If the price a player gets paid is automatically his “market price,” then there could never be bad contracts or good contracts. Except there are bad contracts and good contracts as there is a salary cap, each contract takes up a portion of that cap, and some players either exceed or fall short of the production their contract requires. In fact, there is no “market price” because there is a single final buyer and a single seller.

  • Joe Caporoso

    Kyle – Would love to hear why I need to reevaluate my knowledge of football because I think Jackson would be a good fit for the Jets. Name me a player who is available that would be better Z receiver for them the next 2-3 seasons?

  • Kyle

    Joe I didn’t mean that at you. I love this blog and you know your football. I would love to have Jackson from a football standpoint, but on a personal level I wouldn’t bring him in here. Especially with a potential QB
    competition. Desean will be pulling for his boy Vick and if Vick doesn’t win he may be a distraction in the locker room. We can get a guy like Cooks who is younger and comes with no character issues. Also, Cooks won’t cost 10 million bucks. Besides, the panthers will overpay for him or the raiders; he’s not gonna come here.

  • Joe Caporoso

    Kyle – Jackson has his share of character concerns but so do many people in the NFL and other professional sports. I don’t think Jackson would sulk on a new team if Vick doesn’t win the job, I also think Vick will help keep Jackson in line, regardless of who wins the job. Cooks is an intriguing talent, yes but there is no guarantee with first round WRs and certainly expecting him to produce like Jackson in his couple of seasons is unfair.

    Thanks for reading the site and I didn’t mean to come off as jumping down your throat, I was just confused because I thought you were referring to his lack of fit from a football perspective

  • Zeb

    Kash

    Similarly, I’m dumbfounded how you don’t see free agency as a free market at work.

    With the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to verify whether any signing was good, or bad. However, when a player comes to market, and teams must prognosticate his value to their situation, the price he signs for is the ‘right price’ for both the player and the team, whether it’s the highest price or not. It’s a ‘bazaar’ right? Each side haggles to see get what they want most out of the transaction.

    Second, stop quoting the APY, that’s non sense. All that matters in any NFL contract is the fully guaranteed amount and how that guarantee was paid-because that impacts the salary cap. When DJax signed his current contract worth $48.5mm, it consisted of a $10mm signing bonus and workout bonuses and salaries. He’s made $18.5mm the past 2yrs and the remaining $30mm isn’t guaranteed. Length of contract and APY are always misleading.

    If the NYJ were to trade a 2nd rounder for DJax, and then give him a 2 yr extension, worth $25mm in guaranteed money, many of us would cry how it was idiotic (I’d be leading that charge). However, if he came here, had his best year, and the team won a Super Bowl, I know my tune would change. If after they won a Super Bowl, he under performed, I’d still say the trade/signing was worth it because it lead to a championship.

  • Anthony

    Zeb

    This free market tangent you continue to distract yourself with needs to stop.

    The simple existence of a salary cap eliminates ANY free market principles… at all.

    The draft, rookie contracts, RFA, Franchise/transition tags, and the deflationary pressure of only allowing 32 teams in the league at all murders any hope of your dream of a free market anywhere near football.

    You want a free market in sports… take a look at International Soccer. That is the closest you can come.

  • Frank Antonelli

    Anthony. Right on. International Soccer comes the closest to achieving the holy grail of a free market in sports. It still fails since many countries limit the amount of foreign players you can have on a team. And of course racism and violence are also additional problems prevalent in numerous countries whose major sport is Soccer.

  • KAsh

    @Zeb

    You could try to pretend free agency is a free market, but it will do you about as much good as me pretending my girlfriend is Irina Shayk. It is just not true.

    If you look at what happens at an auction, you will see why anyone that has ever analyzed free agency has compared it to an auction. (I, for variety in a very prolonged conversation, compared it to a middle age bazaar, but it is the same idea.) There are no free market concepts involved.

  • KAsh

    For the sake of clarity, no sport has a free market for players. Players are not interchangeable or replaceable commodities. If you lose Julio Jones, you can get a new wideout of the same skill level, but he will not be Julio Jones.

  • Justin C.

    @KAsh
    Well you can always find other Julio Jones’, but you might not find many that play football…

  • KAsh

    @Joe

    By the way, interesting choice of photo, considering Patrick is now on the Jets.

  • Lidman

    “I continue to wonder at how you want to introduce market analogies to free agency. No, the price Jackson gets will not be the “right” price. If someone pays Jackson over $10 million per year, that person is a fool.”

    Kash,

    How is that person a fool? Please show me the formula that proves that statement. That is your opinion, and nothing more. Now, you are fully entitled to that opinion, but so is the guy signing D Jackson to that contract. He’s the employer and he deems that figure the correct, or ‘right’, value on Jackson’s services. Time will prove whether that value was correct, relative to his peers, but if that is what the market was willing to bear, then it’s ‘the price’ where the player traded. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Antonio Cromarite, who only had interest from the Cardinals, and signed what he believed offered him the best value. Personally, I think that is a cheap number for a player of his ability, but it’s the right price because that is where the market traded.

  • Lidman

    Opinions wanted:

    So, Sanchez signs a 1yr $2mm deal (I believe there are some incentives in the deal if he winds up playing, and performing more/better than anticipated). The NYJ gave Vick $4mm guaranteed (I don’t know if he has any incentives).

    A-I wish I had the skills to be a back up QB.

    B-Maybe Idzik just wants to wash the team of Tannenbaum assets, but if the idea is really that Geno will be your starter, why spend an additional $2mm on a back up QB?

    C-Beginning to wonder if Vick was really brought in here to start. Could Rex/Marty, have pushed for this signing, believing Vick gives them best opportunity to make playoffs?

    D-If you believe ‘C’ is possible, this coudl certainly open NYJ up to drafting a QB, at 18, if some of the popular ones fall.

    More and more, I’m wondering about this Vick signing. His most recent play is average, at best. At 34, why would he take a job where he knew he’d be a back up (I mean he had that in Philly, assuming they’d have kept him at the same money they gave Sanchez).

    ‘There is something rotten in the state of Denmark…’

  • KAsh

    @Lidman

    If one person thinks a number is “right,” it does not mean that number is “right.” If anyone wanted to pay Jackson over $10 million per year, he could have him on his team right now. And my “opinion” seems to be shared by the rest of the NFL community. You can look that up.

    As for your other question, I think Vick was brought in here to get a serious shot at starting. If the mantra is “competition,” hoping for one guy to win is farcical. I guess a Garrard-type mentor role came into consideration, too, because just on play-level alone, Sanchez would have bested Vick.

  • Lidman

    Re: DJax, don’t disagree with your latter point, but someone was willing to guarantee him that much over 2yrs..remains to be seen what happens this year..I hope he doesn’t end up here.

  • Frank DiSomma

    Jackson would be an asset to the Jets they should go get him and as far as I am concerned trade for him now before he is released. I feel it would give GS a chance to prove himself with 3 out sanding receivers. It is for sure we will get a good TE maybe even 2 TE in the draft. I would also like to see them get
    Maurice Jones-Drew the Jets should sign him before Oakland does, never mind talking about it. Go get them both….

  • Lidman

    As per Frank A yesterday, this is not going to be helpful in getting DJax here, or more money

    http://www.nj.com/eagles/index.ssf/2014/03/eagles_desean_jackson_off-the-field_troubles.html

    As I’m typing this, he just got cut.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    I wonder how much Jackson’s release was motivated by salary cap considerations & how much was related to the red flags. While I’m sure he is not the only NFL player with gang “connections,” I can’t imagine a scenario where flashing gang signs for the entire world (during a game, Instagram) shows anything but horrifically poor judgement.

    I think the Jets will pursue him with an offer that is highly incentivized &/or includes clauses that protect them should his “off-the-field issues” become too problematic.

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  • mattimar

    So jets do not get MJD. The pattern so far has them losing out on Jackson. Lets see. If they get him they would be much more likely to take a TE or BPA in round 1, although one more WR if he is BPA would be ok by me.

  • gumpwine

    If we go by how Idzik has operated so far, my guess is that he makes a one year, or a highly incentivized two or three year, offer and the Raiders give DJax more guaranteed money and he ends up on the west coast (and gang capital – Oakland is even worse than LA).

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