February 22, 2017
With NFL free agency set to open up on March 9 and the Eagles in desperate need of help at wide receiver, there's been a lot of talk about whether a reunion with 30-year-old DeSean Jackson will make sense for both sides.
In recent days, Jackson has suggested it would be "a great story" for him to return to Philadelphia, where he established himself as a lethal deep threat and decoy who creates space for the rest of the offense. But he's also said he would like to return to Washington, criticized the Chip Kelly-era Eagles for giving him a bad rap and generally suggested that he wants to test the waters of free agency, an opportunity he hasn't enjoyed in his career.
The topic of Jackson's future came up Wednesday on ESPN's "First Take," with Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman discussing the pros and cons of a return for both Jackson and the Eagles. While they didn't dive into details about money — Jackson earned about $8 million per year over three seasons in Washington — the hosts both analyzed the situation from the standpoint of team needs and Jackson's desire to play with a top-tier quarterback on a Super Bowl contender.
In addition to the Eagles and Redskins, Jackson has been linked to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a potential landing spot. Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston said Wednesday that Tampa wants Jackson, calling him a "great asset" for an improving team that finished 9-7 in 2016 and already has a stud wide receiver in Mike Evans.
In a Wednesday appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic, ESPN's Adam Schefter said he considers a deal between Jackson and the Eagles "possible" but neither likely nor unlikely. He also mentioned the Eagles' interest in Bears free agent Alshon Jeffery, cautioning that Philadelphia's cap limitations could pose problems for them in landing top tier free agent wide receivers who will draw interest from suitors with more flexibility and readiness to spend.
But the gist of the "First Take" segment is that the Eagles and Carson Wentz need Jackson, or simply a legitimate receiving threat, more than Washington at this point, and how things shake out will depend on the team's aggressiveness in bringing back a star who never wanted to leave.