One week after the Philadelphia Eagles released DeSean Jackson, he's now a Washington Redskin. Let's get right into some immediate reaction and quick thoughts:
• Well, this sucks. DeSean Jackson is a really good football player. He will make a Redskins offense that already has some good weapons even better. There's no doubt in my mind he will be a productive player for Washington. Not only did the Eagles lose talent, but they watched a division rival get better.
• That said, this is still Washington we're talking about here. I don't doubt DeSean will be good on the field. But we have a section of this blog specifically named "LolSkins" for a reason. This is the team that has 3 winning seasons in the last 14 years. This is still the team run by Dan Snyder and doesn't have their first round draft pick this year (No. 2) overall. This is the team where the inmates run the asylum.While we don't know the exact reason why Jackson was released from the Eagles, it's believed that behavioral issues were part of it. And are you to tell me those kind of issues will just magically disappear in an organization like the one in DC? Out of all the people to get Jackson to change, it's going to be Jay Gruden? Washington has a first time head coach, a 28 year old offensive coordinator, and no real leadership in that locker room. Jackson will produce on the field, which typically matters the most anyway, but I just wonder if the supposed reasons why the Eagles released him could make for issues in Redskins' locker room. Interestingly enough, our friends over at Redskins SB Nation site Hogs Haven were fairly opposed to signing Jackson in a few days ago.
• I really think it says something that the two teams who were most familiar with Jackson had no interest in signing him. Contrary to what was reported, the Chiefs could have made an offer. It was just that they didn't have the interest. And neither did the New York Jets, who both had the cap space and the need at receiver.
• Many have said the Eagles "botched" this situation. Let's look at the facts: the Eagles lost a talented receiver and received nothing in return. He then signed with a division rival. Yeah, that looks pretty terrible. So, who is to blame for all of this happening? Chip Kelly seems like the logical place to start. He's the head coach. He decides who stays and who goes. If Kelly wanted Jackson to stay, he wouldn't be going anywhere. At the same time, Howie Roseman has a role in all of this too. It's his job to get something in return for Jackson via a trade. And he didn't. So the Eagles really messed this one up....
• ...except, when you blame Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman, you are blaming the effect and not the cause. The way I see it, DeSean Jackson is the one to blame here. What did he actually do? I can't say for sure. None of us can... yet. But it's evident that he gave the Eagles a reason to cut him. It's also evident that teams around the league were aware of these concerns. Derrick Gunn of CSN Philly said as much:
Barkann: Gunner, you sat down with Jason Avant yesterday and you asked him... did he play peacemaker between DeSean Jackson and [Eagles WR coach] Bob Bicknell?
Gunn: On more than one occassion, yes.Yes. And that problem with that is... DeSean Jackson doesn't really listen to anybody. Jason Avant was probably the only guy who could get his attention. Over the last several years the Eagles have had a number of ex-players try to talk to DeSean. DeSean Jackson does what DeSean Jackson does and I think that's eventually going to be his downfall. Not just with the Philadelphia Eagles, but in the NFL because the word is out on him. The word is out across the league on DeSean Jackson: "We don't know if he's the kind of guy we want in our locker room. We don't care how talented he is."
Look, Jackson just didn't have much trade value. The Eagles clearly wanted to get rid of him, and that's because of Jackson's doing, not just because they randomly woke up one day and decided to trade him. Between Jackson's contract and attitude, no one was willing to give up something for that when they knew the Eagles might just release him.
You can say the Eagles botched this situation all you want. But how about instead of blaming the Eagles for getting nothing for him, you blame DeSean Jackson for forcing their hand in the first place? If there was never a reason to part with him, the Eagles could have avoided this situation entirely.
I do know that it makes for an uncomfortable working environment when an employee is allowed to openly disrespect one of his superiors as Jackson did to wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell during a game last season. Philly.com’s Jimmy Kempski, who first reported Jackson could be as good as gone back on March 1, went so far as to suggest that was no isolated incident.
How many workplaces would that be acceptable in? What message does it send to the other players in the locker room? Who is to say he wouldn’t challenge Chip Kelly’s authority?
• I'm not sure how much the value of "team chemistry" and stuff like that matters in sports. I do think it has some value. But it's hard to quantify. And it's even more difficult to say it makes up for the lack of Jackson's production now that he's gone. Something like this really makes me question Kelly's decision here. It also makes me wonder how bad or troublesome of a presence Jackson really could have been. Which leads me to my next point...
• Chip Kelly doesn't have a history of being some short-tempered, illogical person. It's just the opposite. He's shown patience and firm understanding when it comes to troubled players. His decisions are often rooted in science and reason rather than things like gut feelings. He's also had a good track record here in Philadelphia. What's the biggest mistake he's really made before? Dave Mangels wrote that releasing Jackson is the ultimate "In Chip We Trust" moment, and I couldn't agree more. He's done nothing to steer his supporters wrong yet. That doesn't mean it won't ever happen, but from where I stand it does earn him at least some benefit of the doubt.
• To go along with the "this wasn't a rash decision" point, DeSean Jackson has been on the trading black for over a year. We've now learned that the Eagles quietly tried to trade him last offseason. If that's the case, some will wonder why they put up with Jackson all this time if he's really such a pain. To put it simply, Andy Reid tolerated more BS than Kelly will. Kelly gave Jackson full season's worth of a fair shot, and he produced on the field. But clearly off the field issues persisted.
• Comparing the DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper situations is misguided. I'll let Tommy Lawlor take this one. Click here to read the entire explanation.
Cooper did a horrible thing…but it didn’t involve the team. That was a concert. Players certainly reacted to what Cooper did, but it was all after the fact. Cooper’s behavior with his teammates has apparently never been an issue. He had several teammates stand up strongly in his favor and they did this in the locker room, looking other guys in the eye.
• To end on a more positive note, I think there's plenty of reason to still be excited about this Eagles team. I know a lot of people don't want to hear that because this situation really sucks. I'm not trying to butter it up. It's a really frustrating and disappointing time. Feel more than free to vent here and disagree with my (unpopular?) opinions.
With that said, the Eagles still have a lot of talent and they're coming off a great season. They still have the most important ingredient to this team's success: Chip Kelly. The Eagles still have a bright future. The challenge now is proving they can win without Jackson. It won't be easy. In the NFL, winning never is. But I know that more than anything, Kelly loves to win. It's an obsession. He wouldn't have made this move if he wasn't sure it was best for the team.