DeSean is about to end his holdout on Monday. It would be great if this was because he wanted to get back to work, but we know that’s not the case. He wants a new contract, and he certainly deserves it. But how much does he deserve. There has been speculation that he’s looking for top 5 WR money, but is he worth it? He’s a unique talent, no doubt, but does he have the production to garner that sort of deal?
To determine this, I’m going to compare DeSean statistically to a few other players and argue my case of where he falls. Let’s get this crackin’ with the man of the hour himself, Mr. DeSean Jackson…
Receiving 2008-10: 171 rec, 3124 yds, 17 TDs
Rushing 2008-10: 44 att, 337 yds, 3 TDs
Return 2008-10: 99 ret, 1112 yds, 4 TDs
Contract: 4 year, $3.058 million
Very impressive numbers across the board. DeSean stands out amongst the #1 WRs due to his unique value as a returner. Also, his speed on running plays allows him to rack up some yards there as well. I personally think that his return skills make him more valuable than another WR with his receiving numbers
Receiving 2008-10: 302 rec, 4860 yds, 25 TDs
Rushing 2008-10: 4 att, 20 yds, 0 TDs
Contract: 7 year, $73.5 million
Andre Johnson is a prototypical #1 WR – and he’s the highest paid WR in the NFL. What is scary for Eagles fans is that DeSean’s overall numbers over the past three years have been pretty similar to Johnson’s. He’s about 200 total yards short of Johnson and one TD short – quite impressive, really. But the good thing for us here is that about 1/4th of that total comes from return duty, which tends to be valued less than receiving throughout the league. Both players have been fairly durable (minus a few small injuries) over this span, but Johnson has a sturdier frame and is a more complete receiver. He is also the Texans biggest offensive threat, and was really their only threat at the time he signed his contract. DeSean is clearly not our only weapon. I think that DeSean is closer to Johnson than any of us realized, but he still doesn’t deserve that type of deal.
Receiving 2008-10: 291 rec, 3399 yds, 19 TDs
Rushing 2009-10: 11 att, 38 yds, 0 TDs
Contract: 5 year, $50 million
Brandon Marshall is different than DeSean and Johnson in that he was a free agent when he signed his deal, while the other two were re-upping with their current clubs. And ruh-roh… DeSean’s got him beat in total yards and TDs. He’s only 270 receiving yards short of Marshall and 2 TDs short. When you add in his returning and rushing yards it’s not even close. The whole "complete receiver" and "bigger frame" arguments that applied for Johnson stand here as well, as does the argument about being the "primary weapon." But still, DeSean could realistically get this much money from someone else. But he has said he wants to stay in Philly, so hopefully he’ll take a little less. Either way, we’re probably paying him close to $10 mil per year if we keep him. Yikes. But let’s look at two more interesting comparisons.
Receiving 2008-10: 148 rec, 1897 yds, 10 TDs
Returning 2008-10: 139 att, 2211 yds, 3 TDs
Rushing 2008-10: 19 rush, 90 yds, 0 TDs
Contract: 4 year, $41 million
I really like this comparison because it shows the value of returners. The punt return is arguably DeSean’s biggest selling point, and Hester allows him to back that with a claim to cash. His total yardage is less than Jackson’s by a few hundred yards, and he has less TDs as well. Hester is an incredibly dynamic athlete and is the sort of "rare talent" that DeSean is. But again, he’s making $10 million/year – just like Marshall. Hester is a better return man than DeSean by a small margin, but DeSean is a better WR than Hester by a country mile. This is scary, because this model might show that DeSean is worth *more* than $10 mil per. Hester, again, was the Bears’ only weapon when he signed, which is the one bright spot for Philly fans. Rosenhaus is probably playing this card in conjunction with the comparisons to other WRs’ contracts. I really think that $10 million/year is DeSean’s fair market value.
Receiving: 2008-10: 45 rec, 445 yds, 3 TDs
Rushing 2008-10: 104 att, 612 yds, 2 TDs
Return 2008-10: 86 att, 848 yds, 1 TD
Passing 2008-10: 4/11, 45 yds, 0 TD - 1 INT
Contract: 3 year, $20 million
I threw in Cribbs to take a look at another Hester-esque super weapon. Cribbs is not much of a receiver, and Jackson’s numbers blow his out of the water in every category. It’s really no comparison, but it’s a good reference. Even mediocre numbers like this earned Cribbs $6.3 million/year.
Cribbs’ deal will have very little bearing on what we give DeSean – but the comparisons to Marshall, Hester, and even Johnson are scary. DeSean’s numbers show that he deserves a big payout. Fair market value for him is probably a 4-6 year deal at $10 million per year. Hopefully he’ll take a little less to stay with Philly and the (I’m sorry) "Dream Team," perhaps $7.5-$8.25 million per. But what do you guys think? After looking at these numbers, what is DeSean worth, and what should the Eagles offer? Thanks for reading guys, appreciated as always.