DeSean Jackson expressed relief, gratitude, happiness and some big dreams today after signing his new five-year contract with the Eagles.
Jackson promised a Super Bowl within the five years of his deal, and said he wants to be even more than just a Pro Bowler.
"I'm just happy to still be here and say I've got five bright years to look forward to and one of them years I'm going to guarantee a Super Bowl because we've been so close," Jackson said. He later added, "Hands down I think we're one of the best teams in the NFL."
As for himself, Jackson said he felt that he was born for the big stage.
"I want to shoot for the Hall of Fame, I want to shoot for Super Bowl, that’s something I haven’t done yet. I’m a Pro Bowl wide receiver but I want to shoot beyond that, I’m not satisfied with that."
Jackson several times expressed relief at finally having his contract worked out -- but said "relief" doesn't quite cover it. He has been in contract limbo for two full seasons before finally getting a long-term deal with the Eagles that pays far more than the rookie contract he played under his first four years. Ending that uncertainty seemed to be a key factor to accepting the contract worth up to $51 million that he signed Thursday, even though other receivers have gotten far more guaranteed money than Jackson's $15 million.
"Throughout my contract situation I felt good with what was on the table and I didn’t want to pass that up. The relationship here I have with the Eagles, I would rather take that opportunity than go anywhere else, regardless of what money I thought I could have got or how much more, I’m comfortable. I'm not greedy, I felt good where I’m at here," Jackson said.
On the open market Jackson might have been able to command a larger salary, or he could have played under the franchise tag and tried to reach free agency a year from now. His five-year contract guarantees $15 million, while he could have made $9.5 million under the franchise tag this year alone. But Jackson didn't have the leverage of having teams compete for his signature, and wanted to accept the deal in front of him rather than facing the risk and uncertainty of another year without long-term security.
"It's been a long time for me just wanting to have everything set up in my life, that’s kind of all I really wanted to have," he said. "All that stuff can be done so I can go into the season and just focus on football, something that I’ve been wanting to do for so long."
He said the deal is enough for him, and won't become an issue even if other receivers in later years surpass his salary. Jackson emphasized that his relationship with Andy Reid -- "he’s been like a father figure to me" -- was a key to returning to Philadelphia.
Instead of talking about money, Jackson told reporters he wanted to get back to having fun on the field, including returning punts.
We'll have more tomorrow in the Inquirer and here on Philly.com.