March 12, 2019
On Monday, the first day the NFL's legal tampering period of free agency, the Eagles officially said goodbye to Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles, and welcomed back former Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson, who, after being drafted by the Eagles back in 2008, spent the last five seasons in Washington and Tampa.
The Eagles will be fine at quarterback, with Carson Wentz expected to fully return from another season-ending injury in 2018, so most fans won't lose too much sleep over the loss of an unquestioned hero in this city. And with Foles going to the Jags, who only appear on the Eagles schedule once every four years, it won't be hard for them to wish BDN well going forward.
Then again, if Foles lights it up in Jacksonville and the Eagles get off to a slow start, we're going to see quite the revisionist history in Philly. But that's another problem for another day.
As for Jackson, the Eagles got another weapon for Wentz to utilize, and when combined with the Birds' already potent arsenal in the passing game, things could really open up for Wentz and the offense with Jackson on the field. The 32-year-old wideout can still fly, and he presents the best deep threat they've had with Wentz under center, and the first real one since Torrey Smith in 2017.
Of course, that's all on paper, and we'll have to wait and see just what kind of boost Jackson provides — not to mention how well Foles fits in Jacksonville's system. In the meantime, let's take a look at what the oddsmakers over at betonline.ag are expecting out of Foles and Jackson in their first seasons with their new teams, as well as what they've done in recent seasons...
It's really hard to find numbers for Foles to compare these to, mostly because he hasn't played double-digit games in a season since 2015 and has only done that twice in his entire seven-year career. Moreover, the ups and downs of Foles career also makes it nearly impossible to do a statistical comparison. But, if we take Foles' numbers from his five starts last season with the Eagles and combine them with his three regular season starts from 2017, we get an eight-game sample that when extrapolated to a full season looks something like this: 3,704 yards, 24 TDs and 12 interceptions.
Sure, it's a small sample size, but he only started one game in Kansas City and his numbers under Jeff Fisher in St. Louis, I think we can all agree, should be thrown out the window. And if we're not going to count that miserable year, it would stand to reason that we also shouldn't include his famed 27-2 season with the Birds back in 2013. Foles is a different player than he was then. And definitely a different player than he was with the Rams.
So, as strange as it may sound, those last eight starts with the Eagles are likely the most accurate representation of who the former Super Bowl MVP actually is. They also happen to line up pretty well with what the oddsmakers expect. That being said, we've seen Foles' production drop off significantly when not playing in the right system. And, unfortunately for him, the skill players he'll have to work with in Jacksonville won't be as talented as the ones he had in Philly.
It's quite a bit easier to find comparisons for Jackson, so let's take a look at his stats since leaving the Eagles in 2013:
As you can see, the oddsmakers from betonline.ag are expecting an average season out of Jackson this year, at least in terms of his career production. However, he'll be playing with the best quarterback he's ever played with in Wentz, and if there's chemistry right away between the speedy wideout and talented QB, then that could mean big things for both players in 2019.
Jackson's full impact on the offense also doesn't show up on the stat sheets. While you may be worried if there are going to be enough balls to go around, the simple presence of a guy like DeSean totally opens up opposing defenses and should allow guys like Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor (assuming he stays in Philly) to feast for the Eagles. And when they decide to load up on those guys, Jackson's going to be left one-on-one deep, which is where he shines.
Jackson's not a volume guy and the Eagles have a plethora of weapons to work with, so it wouldn't be shocking if he hits the under in both those categories listed above. However, Wentz hasn't really had a deep threat quite like this to work with, so it will certainly be interesting to watch play out.
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