The stakes in the DeSean Jackson saga are at a new level. The Eagles will have to face the embattled wide receiver twice per season in 2014, assuming he stays healthy and no other major smoking guns emerge from Jackson's personal life.
Jackson has agreed to terms on a contract with the NFC East rival Washington Redskins. The news was reported Tuesday night by NBC News4 in Washington's Dianna Russini, and subsequently confirmed by Jackson's publicist, Denise White:
— Denise White (@DeniseWhite_EAG) April 2, 2014
A few minutes after midnight, Jackson acknowledged the deal via his Instagram account:
The Eagles released Jackson last Friday afternoon, and it took just four days for him to land with a new team, which happens to reside in the NFC East. The two Redskins-Eagles matchups this season will be 'must see TV.'
The Redskins are an interesting fit. On the one hand, they have a long history of disastrous free agency and trade acquisitions, which includes players like Albert Haynesworth, Adam Archuleta, Deion Sanders, and former Eagles Jeremiah Trotter and Donovan McNabb.
On the other hand, Jackson, who turned 27 in December, could be a great fit in the Redskins' offense. The Redskins already have quality receiving options such as WR Pierre Garcon and TE Jordan Reed, who do a good job of making short to intermediate receptions and getting yards after the catch. Garcon led the NFL with 113 catches in 2013. The Redskins also have a sledgehammer RB in Alfred Morris, who already has 2,888 rushing yards and 20 rushing TDs in just two NFL seasons, and a dual-threat elusive QB with a strong arm in Robert Griffin III. With Jackson stretching the defense, those players will be free to do more damage underneath. Mark Bullock of the Washington Post broke down how Jackson might fit into the Redskins' offense.
Ignoring potential 'off the field' distractions and looking just at the 2014 season from an 'on the field' perspective, Jackson's migration from the Eagles to the Redskins makes the Eagles worse and the Redskins better. The Eagles should certainly still be considered the favorites to win the NFC East, but this development should narrow the gap between these two teams some, at least in the short term. The Redskins still have work to do in fixing their offensive line as well as their porous defense. They also don't have their first round draft pick this year, which would have been 2nd overall.
The decision to cut Jackson will be a move that will begin to shape Chip Kelly's career in Philly. By landing within the division, Jackson himself can personally take aim at Kelly's legacy.
Jackson will be paid very well for the chance to do so. Forbes reported Wednesday morning that he'll get $24 million in total compensation over three years, with $16 million guaranteed.
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