Eagles must decide if DeSean Jackson is worth the money, trouble

DeSean Jackson

DeSean Jackson is a rare playmaker.

He knows it. Andy Reid knows it. And the New York Giants probably know it better than anyone.
His 51-yard punt return, which could have easily been six points if his foot didn’t tap the sideline, set up the Eagles’ first touchdown in New York. Jackson finished Sunday night’s big win with six catches for 88 yards.

Unfortunately, he also generates headlines for all the wrong reasons. Last week, Jackson was benched for missing a team meeting. On Sunday, he had a 50-yard completion called back after he taunted a Giants assistant.

When one reporter asked Reid if he finds Jackson maddening as a player, the coach responded, “When he returns those long punts, I find him quite appealing. I enjoy the kid. He’s got a youthful energy. I enjoy him.”

Jackson is in the final year of a rookie contract paying him $600,000 and he wants an extension — pronto. But those talks have stalled, for now.

Before Sunday’s game, Jackson compared himself to Larry Fitzgerald and the other elite receivers in the NFL. Afterward, he hyped his other attributes, like his infectious personality.

“What I love to do is to come out and help this team win games since day one, since I’ve been here … the playmaker ability, just the spark, the energy I’m able to bring to this team,” Jackson said. “People don’t really understand the light that I bring and just kind of shine on my teammates.”

The question is: Is that so-called light worth $10 million a year?

Keep him …

   
He’s a triple threat, with his ability to run pass routes, return punts and even in the run game on reverses.

Pro Bowl player, in 2010, became the first player to make the Pro Bowl at two different positions.

Speed kills, Jackson might be the fastest player in the NFL, running a 4.35 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.

Plays hard, as evidenced by his 50-yard chase down of Falcons DE Ray Edwards.

The big play. Since 2008, he has recorded the most TDs of 50 yards or more, with seven of them. 

The teammate, his speed forces safeties to play deep, which opens up the field for teammates. Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy are enjoying career years.

… or ditch him?

Disappearing act, small sample size (five playoff games), but has 16 catches for 268 yards and two TDs.

Not catching on, averaged 57.3 receptions in first three seasons, compared to Larry Fitzgerald (76.6).

Immature at times, as evidenced by his goal-line 2008 fumble in Dallas and Sunday’s taunting call and recent benching.

Size matters, at 5-foot-10, 175 pounds Jackson isn’t your typical No. 1 receiver and concerns about his durability — and willingness to go over the middle — enter into any discussion.

Drew Rosenhaus is his agent. Enough said. Eagles won’t get Jackson for less than $10 million a season.


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