After making a decision on his defensive coordinator and coaching staff, Andy Reid's next order of business should be figuring out what to do with DeSean Jackson.
Jackson is no longer under contract, meaning the Eagles have the following options:
- Sign him to a long-term deal.
- Franchise him and keep him in 2012.
- Franchise him and trade him.
- Let him walk via free agency.
I've maintained that the first option is preferable, if the two sides can come to an agreement. But that would likely mean Jackson admitting he's not worth Larry Fitzgerald money.
As for the franchise tag, Brian McIntyre over at Football Outsiders recently put out a list of projections on what those numbers might be. McIntyre has a good explanation of how the franchise tag is different with the new CBA. It's no longer just the average of the top-five players at each position.
According to McIntyre, the number for wide receivers will be between $9.443M and $9.806M. That's down from last season.
The article lists some other receivers who are no longer under contract: Vincent Jackson, Wes Welker, Marques Colston, Dwayne Bowe and Steve Johnson.
Remember, teams interested in trading for Jackson will need to come to terms a long-term contract with him, which may not be easy. If the Eagles use the tag and end up keeping Jackson, they need to be sure he won't be a distraction playing on what amounts to a one-year deal, even though the salary would be more than 15 times what he earned this past season. Given the way 2011 went, that still seems like a risky proposition to me.
BABIN'S SACKS AND CONTRACT
J.J. Cooper of Football Outsiders charts quick sacks, which are sacks recorded in 2.5 seconds or less. He found that (through 15 weeks) Jason Babin was tied with DeMarcus Ware for the league lead with eight quick sacks. Per Cooper, six of those eight sacks came when Babin simply used a great first step to beat the opposing offensive lineman.
Meanwhile, Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post put out a list of the best and worst contracts of 2011. Babin makes his list of best contracts:
The Eagles brought Babin back – he was with the team in 2009 – for a five-year $28 million deal that only had $5.5 million guaranteed. Now one the most prolific sack specialists in the NFL with 18 sacks and two games left, Babin has shown similar value to fellow sack artists DeMarcus Ware ($40 million guaranteed), Charles Johnson ($36 million guaranteed), and Tamba Hali ($35 million guaranteed).
And finally, Chris Sprow of ESPN.com names the best player per dollar at each position. LeSean McCoy is the running back on his list:
Philly got 1,309 rushing yards, 315 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns (more than the St. Louis Rams as a team) out of McCoy, whose $822K cap number was less than a quarter of Vince Young's. Shady indeed. Between McCoy and DeSean Jackson, Philly has big decisions on the horizon.
McCoy is under contract through 2012, but extending him should be on the Eagles' list of things-to-do this offseason.