The Eagles have released DeSean Jackson:
Despite shopping him and finding interest, Eagles have made decision to cut WR DeSean Jackson. Outright. Jackson is now a free agent.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 28, 2014
We covered whether the Cleveland Browns should try to trade for Jackson last week but now the question changes just a bit. The Eagles found interest according to Schefter but still decided to release him instead of dealing him for anything. This writer is not a cap expert but there are some cap implications which could make this the best choice for the team.
Yet could the Eagles have concerns that Jackson was a time bomb waiting to explode? Where they worried that his reported connections with a gang are problematic? Or did they just want to do right by Jackson and allow him to find his best fit for himself?
For the Browns they will have to make a decision on Jackson in multiple ways. Does he fit their offense? How much money will he want? Maybe most important, how could he impact the locker room negatively?
That last question will be the biggest one for the team. Does Ray Farmer and Mike Pettine believe they can control the locker room and not allow Jackson to be a negative influence. The offense has few veterans, specifically Joe Thomas and the hopefully re-signed Alex Mack, besides that is full of younger guys with little clout over a big time player like Jackson. The defense has some guys in Karlos Dansby, Paul Kruger, Donte Whitner and Joe Haden that could attempt to influence the locker room correctly, but they will sit in very few meetings with the offense and Jackson.
That puts the emphasis on Kyle Shanahan. Shanahan’s offense has played well with small and fast receivers in the past, as well as in Houston with Big Andre Johnson. Adding Jackson to Josh Gordon, the guy the Browns have to protect from poor choices the most, would give Shanahan both of those types of receivers. Jackson would fit in any offense but Shanahan’s creativity and current roster would be given options with Gordon, Jackson, Andrew Hawkins and Jordan Cameron catching passes while Ben Tate takes many of the carries.
Financially the Browns are able to structure almost any type of contract that Jackson would want. They won’t just cowtail to his demands but could find themselves with the creativity to give Jackson a big bonus this year and performance related bonuses in future seasons dependent on his performance and behavior.
Signing Jackson would allow the team to push down the receiver need in the draft. With two combustible receivers like Gordon and Jackson it would still behoove the team to add some mid round receivers, or Sammy Watkins still at #4, but they could follow their board instead of reaching if a receiver is ranked lower. On offense the team could look to add another tight end or to solidify their line and on defense they could focus on a #2 corner, a inside linebacker and another safety early in the draft.
Obviously Jackson can sign anywhere and the Browns could decide not to pursue him but what a offense he could help create right away. How much would you be okay spending on him? Do you want him on the team at all?