Eagles

Eagles

A long-discussed reunion between the Eagles and DeSean Jackson could finally come to fruition this offseason.

According to ESPN’s Jenna Laine and Tim McManus, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are actively trying to shop Jackson and the Eagles are “a preferred destination” for the wide receiver.

Per the report, Jackson has told people of his desire to return to Philadelphia, where he played his first six seasons in the NFL. For the Eagles’ part, the club is “expected to have mutual interest.”

The Buccaneers could also choose to release Jackson if no trade is reached.

This is not the first time talk of Jackson getting back in an Eagles uniform has surfaced. The team was rumored to be in on the three-time Pro Bowl selection as a free agent in 2017, when he ultimately chose to sign with the Bucs.

Much like then, a reunion might make sense in 2019.

The Eagles are thought to be seeking a vertical threat opposite Alshon Jeffery, and even at 32, Jackson can still take the top off a defense. Last season, he averaged 18.9 yards per reception — by far the highest of any player with his 41 catches — plus missed four games and still tied with four players for seventh with five grabs of 40 yards or more.

 

Money is the issue here. Jackson is due to earn $10 million in ’19 even though his production dropped off some and he dealt with injuries over the last four seasons — two in Tampa Bay, two in Washington. No doubt the Bucs are practically giving him away, but who’s going to pay that salary?

If Jackson is truly motivated to return to the Eagles, he may be willing to take a pay cut, or there’s a very good chance he’s released and hits the open market. Whatever happens, the contract stuff should sort itself out.

Don’t expect hard feelings to get in the way of a deal, either. Jackson told reporters in 2016 he moved on from his release from the Eagles two years earlier, acknowledging the person most responsible for the decision — Chip Kelly — is no longer with the organization.

Assuming the price is right, Jackson looks like a good fit. He's familiar with the Eagles’ offense, the city, even a few of the guys inside the locker room, and Carson Wentz has the arm to get the most out of his speed.

There are some concerns with Jackson, who’s appeared in 16 games just twice in his career and hasn’t posted Pro Bowl-caliber numbers since 2014, his first season with Washington following his Eagles release.

Yet, Jackson can certainly still fill that Torrey Smith-Mike Wallace deep threat role the Eagles planned for the previous two seasons. And with a better quarterback throwing him the football in Wentz, he would have the potential to enjoy a resurgent season of sorts.

The Eagles aren’t likely to get into a bidding war over Jackson, but a reunion seems plausible. His speed fills a void — and a little nostalgia wouldn't hurt, too.

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