DeSean Jackson: Is The Talent Worth The Risk?

After being released on Friday by the Philadelphia Eagles, wide receiver DeSean Jackson is available to sign with any NFL team.

The Chiefs are interested in acquiring his services.

Should they be?


But – there always seems to be one of those in these situations – it is ground the Chiefs must tread carefully if they are going to get into the DeSean sweepstakes. There are a host of issues that must be dealt with if Jackson is going to call Arrowhead home. Here are the most important questions seeking answers for the KCC to get together with DSJ:

Q: How good is Jackson as an NFL wide receiver?

A: Very good; sometimes very, very good. One of the league’s most electric receivers, Jackson is a big play waiting to happen every time the ball reaches his hands. He played 87 games (86 starts), grabbed 356 catches for 6,117 yards and 32 touchdown passes. That’s 17.2 yards per catch and a touchdown on every 11 receptions. He was selected for three Pro Bowls (2009-10-13) and over the last six seasons, Jackson ranked third in average yards per catch and 10th in receiving yardage. Those numbers make him an elite NFL receiver.

Q: Could the 2014 Chiefs offense use Jackson?

A: Most definitely; if he joined the roster he would become the best wide receiver on the team and would bring an element of explosion to the K.C. offense that currently can only scare opponents with running back Jamaal Charles. Any head coach, offensive coordinator and starting quarterback would love to have his skills as part of their package.

Q: What will it take for the Chiefs to get Jackson?

A: Since the Eagles released Jackson and because of his status as a vested veteran, he’s immediately an unrestricted free agent and can sign with any team in the league, in a new contract package. He’s coming out of a contract extension signed with the Eagles in 2011 that was a five-year deal for $48.5 million. Essentially, it was $9.5 million average per season. That ranks him in the second tier of ball catchers at the pay window; for instance Dwayne Bowe’s new deal with the Chiefs in 2013 was an average of $11 million per season.

At the close of Friday’s business, the NFL Players Association daily accounting of the salary cap showed the Chiefs with $4,517,069 still available for the 2014 season. To get Jackson on the field wearing red and gold would likely take every penny of that total, and even more. The Chiefs can create cap room by redoing some of the bigger contracts on their payroll, but that’s an avenue they don’t appear to have used to date.

There are teams interested in Jackson that carry far more salary cap room than the Chiefs – Seattle ($15 million), Oakland ($18.2 million) and the New York Jets ($28.7 million) just to mention a few suitors. San Francisco and Carolina also have shown interest, but they have less cap room than the Chiefs.

G.M. John Dorsey can try to backload a multi-year deal that would lessen a 2014 cap hit. There is another factor in the equation and that’s quarterback Alex Smith and his future compensation. His deal ends after the 2014 season.

Q: Do the Chiefs have an advantage/disadvantage due to the five seasons that Jackson played for Andy Reid in Philadelphia?

A: No other person in the league that’s chasing Jackson knows more about his background and personality than Reid. If the Chiefs are in the hunt for DSJ, it’s only because the head coach said go after him.

Q: If Jackson is such a talented receiver, why did the Eagles release him?

A: The team has not said publicly why they yanked the chain on Jackson. He led the Eagles last year in receiving, fitting right into Chip Kelly’s offensive scheme to the tune of 82 receptions, 1,332 yards and nine scoring catches. It was the most productive season of Jackson’s career.

Those facts open the door for speculation, rumor and innuendo about his departure. There’s talk of a bad attitude, inconsistent work ethic, missed meetings, disagreements with coaches and a failure to blend into the fabric of the team. There apparently was unhappiness with his contract and compensation for the coming season ($10.5 million base salary/$12.75 million cap number). All of that is football related and does not cover multiple concerns off the field, including relationships with gang members from his hometown of Los Angeles. The LAPD said  Jackson has flashed signs during Eagles games that are used by the Crips gang. Two “friends” including one that has recorded a rap CD on Jackson’s label Jaccpot Records, have been tied to a pair of gang-related murders over the last four years in Los Angeles.

On Friday, Jackson released a statement denying any involvement or affiliation with any gang.

Q: So what do the Chiefs do?

A: The view here is the Chiefs have two choices: 1.) stay out of the Jackson chase all together, or 2.) take the issue head on, start finding salary-cap room and get the young man signed. It takes two to make a contract. It’s doubtful the Chiefs will offer the most money. The allure of New York (remember the record label) or the defending Super Bowl champions may be a factor. Reid gives Kansas City an edge others don’t have, however, with 99.9 percent of these cases, money is the sound heard most clearly by players and agents. Jackson is not going to come cheap, whether in a one-year deal, or something over multiple seasons.

If the Chiefs want him, they have to spend. It’s not their style, but then a talent like DeSean Jackson does not become available very often.

13 Responses to “DeSean Jackson: Is The Talent Worth The Risk?”

  • March 28, 2014  - Johnfromwichita says:

    Have we not had enough problems?

    I did not see Belcher coming. I see this one.

    Run, Andy, run.

  • March 29, 2014  - JB says:

    I guess Reid got used to the stench of a vicious, albeit football talented, street thug on the team with Vick when he was in Philly. I, as a long time Chiefs fan, am not. Besides Jackson wouldn’t be caught dead wearing red–he would be dead for wearing red. Lamar Hunt would never have even considered letting this kind of signs throwing trash on the team regardless of the talent level they had.

  • March 29, 2014  - Denzil says:

    Throwing $$$ at a troubled player who shows no sign of growing into a mature, responsible person only invites more trouble. Would Lamar Hunt & Hank Stram have permitted such a presence in the locker room?

  • March 29, 2014  - Tenand6 says:

    As usual, great opening analysis on this huge development.

    The music label. Tamba has one, too. The song Tamba recently put out may have been seen as offensive by some but those who have followed Hali as Chiefs fans are comfortable with him as a person. We don’t know if Jackson’s label/music is attacking bad actors or if Jackson, himself, is. Big time crucial part of this puzzle.

    If there are personal connections with known bad actors, I would hope Reid/Dorsey/Hunt would pass. The NFL is on notice so Jackson won’t avoid scrutiny.

    This contract is about affordability and Jackson’s character. Both are questionable.

    I give Reid/Dorsey the benefit of the doubt. If they vouch for Jackson (that’s what they’ll be doing) and can finagle cap issues, I’m good with it. The exact talent we need. High risk, high reward.

    They can’t fu*k this up. Exciting times.

  • March 29, 2014  - R W says:

    Remember when Marty went after the bad actors in the late 90s in hopes of keeping the train rolling with the likes of Bam Morrison, Andre Rison and Chester McGlockton among others? Short term gains (on paper), long term pain and none of these characters a) L\lasted long or b)overly productive although each of the above had their moments on occasion.

    Who cuts an all-pro WR????? That’s a message needing no further explanation. There’s got to be a ton of nasty garbage that comes with Fraction Jackson. Then again, Andy knows this guy better than any other head coach in the league so if he flashes the GO sign to Dorsey, I’m hoping Andy is as smart as we all hope he is.

    My question, beyond the huge compensation issue, is this: What kind of relationship did Andy have with Jackson all those years in Philly? Was there mutual trust and respect? If so and Andy says go, then I’m in.

  • March 29, 2014  - Craig says:

    In the investment world this would be a very high risk/ high reward kind of deal with a potential huge down side. It appears they overpaid for Bowe, so who knows. Tough call.

  • March 29, 2014  - Niblick says:

    We may have an additional need at WR this season. Isn’t Bowe going to get a 2-4 game suspension for his pot possesion last December in the first 2-4 games.

    I tend to agree with those of you who feel if Andy wants him and feels he can work him I’m on board. I still think money may be the bigger

    I just heard John Clayton say on ESPN the Chiefs and Jets are the best fits for Jackson with the Raiders as a 3rd possibility. The Jets and Raiders have the most cap space.

  • March 29, 2014  - ChuckXX says:

    Personally I would love dearly to have him sign a multiple year deal. But when I see the 4 1/2 million cap space with the draft coming up I say it probably won’t and can’t happen. He is an “elite receiver” like Bob said why would he come here for a bargain basement pricetag???? Very doubtful. Remember the Emmanuel Sanders fiasco???

  • March 29, 2014  - el cid says:

    I am not sure which way I would suggest the Chiefs consider. So…. if Reid wants him and Dorsey can find some money…. why not?

    I would suggest to posters, there are a lot of less than good guys playing on teams, HS thru pros. It is a combination of the times, the current players, and the truth that we like to not see. If he is only immature and not a thug, good addition (for a year or two). If he has real problems, he moves down the road.

  • March 29, 2014  - Niblick says:

    I think the only way they could find cap space to sign him now would be to redo Alex Smith’s current deal and sign him long term, with a big signing bonus spread over several years. They also might restructure Hali and amd Berry’s contracts. We then probably have big salary cap problems in 2015 and 2016. I think it’s iffy if we can find the money to sign him, but it’s not impossible.

  • March 29, 2014  - chief214 says:

    based on production. i’ll take jackson at <$10MM a year over bowe at $11MM. if jackson performs and bowe doesn't, cut bowe next year and reclaim cap space.

    i'm curious about jackson's rep among other players around the league. if the locker room doesn't want him, they only have to convince 1 or 2 guys not to restructure and it's dead in the water.

    i'm just glad we finally have a strong enough coach to entertain this type of risk, and a front office with enough goodwill with existing players to potentially be able to create the cap space to make it happen.

  • March 29, 2014  - R W says:

    Another aspect to consider in pursuing Jackson for the Chiefs is freeing up the draft, getting more flexible, taking a BPA/NEED pick sent up. I’m warming to the acquisition notion but won’t be all that disappointed if it doesn’t happen.

    I think it’s called a paradox. Or conumdrum? Anyway, it shapes up to be THE decision/pursuit of the young Andy/Dorsey era in KC. Show me what you got guys.

  • March 29, 2014  - el cid says:

    Paradox as in two doctors?

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