This is old news at this point, but it is being widely reported that DeSean Jackson is set to end his short holdout and report to Eagles camp. While I'm sure in the wake of what happened to Leonard Weaver that we're all a bit more sensitive about the fragility of a players' career and we understand their desire for financial security, that still doesn't change what I see as the absurd timing of DeSean's holdout. Like I said previously, his holdout became official about 48 hours after the team was legally allowed to begin negotiating contracts again. Now I'm sure there had been enough communication between the two sides previously to ensure the Eagles had a fair idea of what he wanted... but as we can clearly see, the front office had a very aggressive plan for the first 3-4 days of free agency that did not include renegotiating contracts of players they already have.
However, I have no doubt that the plan eventually included that. It just makes sense that they would have wanted to extend Jackson and likely Michael Vick as well at some point prior to year starting. Either way, it appears as though Jackson has had a change of heart and will now show up in Lehigh. If I had to speculate, there's three reasons why that may be.
- The Eagles probably got word to DeSean and his agent that if he wanted to talk about a new deal, he would have to come to camp to do it. This is certainly something they and a lot of other teams have done before. It's a signal from the team that they are willing to deal and a show of good faith by the player by getting to work. If I had to place a bet, I would assume that this almost assuredly what has happened and I would say is a very good sign for the chances of Jackson being re-upped and happy this year.
- Under the terms of the new CBA. Players are now fined $30,000 a day for every unexcused absence from practice. Given DeSean's modest salary for this year, a 19 day holdout would have meant that his fines exceeded his entire 2011 salary. What's worse, if he did not report by the 23rd day of the league year, he would have lost an accrued year of service toward free agency. In other words, this new CBA is a killer for players under contract who want to hold out. It used to be that a guy could show up six games into the season and get credit for the year. That does not seem to be the case anymore. So DeSean was faced with the prospect of losing his entire 2011 salary and having to show up in late August anyway. As it stands, he's already racked up $120,000 in fines. Of course, they could always go away should a new deal be reached.
- Finally, and I really do think this played a least a small little part... We know how much DeSean loves the spotlight and right now the entire media has it's eyes set firmly on the campus of Lehigh University and he is not there to be a part of it. His good friend and the guy he's been texting to recruit all summer, Nnamdi Asomugha just rolled into town and you can bet DeSean wanted to be there to greet him. And when August 4th rolls around and Nnamdi steps on the field for those WR vs DB 1 on 1 drills, it would each DeSean alive to not be able to take him on. I remember last year, how DeSean would have other WRs cut him in line so he get matched up with Asante Samuel, that's just the kind of kid he is. You can't tell me he doesn't want a piece of Nnamdi.
There's no doubt in my mind that he wants to be part of what's going on over there. That certainly doesn't mean he wants to do it for only a half a million dollars this year... but he wants to be there.