‘Hope is Not a Strategy’ with DeSean
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Most of the first-round buzz surrounding the Eagles has centered on receivers for two obvious reasons: need and an abundance of talent at the position in the upcoming draft.
The presumed return of DeSean Jackson is unlikely to deflect from that thinking either, a sentiment explained by Howie Roseman after Philadelphia's playoff loss to Seattle.
"Hope is not a strategy when it comes to injuries," the Eagles general manager admitted after Philadelphia suffered through yet another injury-plagued campaign, the most devasting of which may have been the core-muscle injury that essentially cost Jackson, 33, all but the explosive home opener.
The Eagles certainly hope Jackson is a big part of the revamped offense in 2020 but counting on the veteran is just not a prudent strategy even after Jackson emerged at an XFL game to declare he's back in top form.
“I’m back at 100 percent,” Jackson told reporter Thai Floyd while supporting former teammate Rashad Ross at the D.C. Defenders-Tampa Bay Vipers game at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday.
“It was unfortunate," Jackson said of the injury. "I suffered a core injury. Down in that area you have to build all the core muscles and get the strength back, doing a lot of single leg work, just the mobility stuff. I think I’ll be back stronger than ever.”
Both team doctors and noted specialist Dr. William Meyers recommended surgery for Jackson, an NFL source told confirmed to 973espn.com, but Jackson decided rehab would be the better way to go. An attempted comeback in November against Chicago was short-lived as Jackson remained uncomfortable and was ultimately shut down.
From a contract standpoint, Jackson is tied to the Eagles through 2022 after the trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that brought him back last offseason. Roseman worked out a three-year, $27 million contract with $17 million guaranteed.
It's essentially a glorified two-year deal with Jackson on the books $8.2 million this season with a cap hit of just under $11M. If Philadelphia would decide to move on the dead money would be $5.8M, not crippling but also not likely with the organization trying to move on from another veteran receiver with $26M in potential dead money in Alshon Jeffery.
One of the most dominant deep threats in league history Jackson matched Randy Moss last season and is now chasing the legendary Jerry Rice when it comes to 50-yard home runs. He and Moss are at 32 and Rice had 36 big-gainers.
“I’m just trying to shatter all the records that I haven’t got yet,” Jackson explained. “I was fortunate enough last year to get up there with Randy Moss, so continuously going after the greats but at the same time being blessed to be in the position I’m at and taking nothing for granted.”
Nor should he because Roseman has consistently said the Eagles need to get younger and it's more than likely that the organization will bring in multiple bodies at the position.
“A lot of guys are not able to make it where I’m at so I’m blessed and continue to count my blessings but at the same time give a lot back to these young kids," Jackson said.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen