INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 03: Professional football player Stevie Johnson attends ESPN The Magazine's "NEXT" Event on February 3, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for ESPN)
Yesterday I mentioned that Stevie Johnson is hitting the free agent market next month and that his contract could be a good bench mark for DeSean Jackson's eventual deal. Both were drafted in 2008, they're both the same age and while Johnson has been a later bloomer in his career, both have been well underpaid for what they've produced over the last couple seasons.
Let's take a look at their last two seasons.
2010 - 47 rec, 1056 yards, 6 TDs
2011 - 58 rec, 961 yards, 4 TDs
2010 - 47 rec, 1073 yards, 10 TDs
2011 - 76 rec, 1004 yards, 7 TDs
Johnson has bested DeSean in every category. Plus, he's 6-2, so he's got a size advantage over DeSean as well. And he's never missed a game since becoming a starter in Buffalo. The only real advantage DeSean has in special teams where he's a standout and Johnson doesn't play. That said, DeSean had very little impact on special teams last season with mitigates this difference.
So while we've heard the phrase "Larry FItzgerald money" tossed around in regards to Jackson, that's absurd. He's simply not in Fitzgerald's class and no one is going to pay him like he is. What we should be looking at is Stevie Johnson money. Whatever he gets this offseason should be the benchmark for a DeSean Jackson deal.
The question is when Johnson gets a deal done. Because certainly Johnson's people have to be looking at Jackson as a guy they can use as a springboard for their own negotiations. The Bills have been in talks with Johnson so there's a chance a deal could get done before free agency. However, they're also talking about a franchise tag, which wouldn't help the Eagles at all.