Earlier today, the Philadelphia Eagles released Pro Bowl WR DeSean Jackson, reportedly due to his affiliations with a few of his friends in Los Angeles that have criminal backgrounds and appear to be members of the "Crips" gang.
I'm going to try, as succinctly as I can, to tell you why the San Diego Chargers should sign Jackson to a contract as soon as possible.
I know a few guys that have been in gangs too. It doesn't make me a gang banger. I understand the Eagles are saying they want to be extra careful after what happened with Aaron Hernandez, but Jackson has never been in trouble and spends his free time being an outspoken leader of the movement to stop bullying in school.
By the standard being used for DeSean Jackson, Jesus was a prostitute.— Christopher Hansen (@ChrisHansenNFL) March 28, 2014
Look, those that are saying Jackson wanted more money than he was getting have no basis for that claim. Nobody has ever said that. Not Jackson and not the team. So, let's be reasonable here and assume that he'd accept the same deal with a new team that he had with the Eagles.
His previous deal for 5 years and $48.5 million. He received a $10 million signing bonus and the contract was ended by the team today, after his second season. His cap hit for the Eagles was set to be $12.75 million, but will now be just $6 million in dead money.
As I stated a week and a half ago, a new contract for DeSean could be done with a team that doesn't have a lot of cap space this year. In fact, in his previous deal with the Eagles, his first-year cap hit was just $3 million. Signing him, and affording him, would not be a problem for the Chargers this year or in the future.
"He's a Locker Room Cancer"
"He'd be a Bad Influence on Keenan Allen"
Yes, because he has derailed the career of Jeremy Maclin in Philadelphia.
He's a PLAY MAKER
DeSean is everything the Chargers need, and everything Tom Telesco wants. He's fast, he has proven success in the NFL, and he has a winning (arrogant) attitude.
The Chargers have been searching for WR depth, trying to sign Steve Smith, and looking for someone that can stretch defenses. Jackson does this, and helps with the anemic punt return of the Chargers as well.
An offense that could, at any give time, throw DeSean Jackson, Danny Woodhead, Ladarius Green, Antonio Gates, and Keenan Allen at defenses would be unstoppable. The issues on the defensive side of the ball wouldn't matter nearly as much, and it would still be a Top 5 offense in the league in 2015 if Gates and Woodhead were gone.
This isn't a reckless move. This isn't a move to win right now, this year, that will cripple the team in the near future. This is a solid player signing a solid contract that he will likely live up to for 4 or the full 5 years.
The only reason to not sign Jackson is being afraid about the company he keeps. Considering how much Andy Reid, a very successful NFL Head Coach and General Manager, loved working with Jackson in Philly (in addition to praising him endlessly in the past, the Chiefs have already contacted DeSean's agent today), I think it's safe to say that most NFL people know what kind of man DeSean really is.
Plain and simple, the Eagles took the opportunity to release DJax today when the story came out on NJ.com about his ties to gang members, because it looks more like they're cleaning up the team's ethics and less like a salary dump. That's fine, and they'll probably win in the press because of it, but the Chargers should take the opportunity to show Chip Kelly and the rest of the league that Jackson is worth the money and whatever small bit of trouble he might cause.