The Washington Redskins have something more controversial than their nickname.
Former Philadelphia Eagle DeSean Jackson agreed to a deal with Washington, according to media reports and a PR official representing Jackson. Financial terms of Jackson’s contract have not been revealed yet, but ESPN reported it was a three-year deal. Jackson reportedly wanted to earn between $9 million and $10 million each season. Jackson was slated to earn $10.5 million with the Eagles before he was recently released.
Jackson became an overnight bad boy after a contentious relationship with Eagles coach Chip Kelly. He spent parts of the 2013 offseason taking second and third-string reps with the Eagles. Jackson rebounded and had 82 receptions for 1,332 receiving yards and nine touchdowns last season, and made the Pro Bowl.
Jackson’s performance, however, did not help his relationship with Kelly.
Philadelphia re-signed receivers Riley Cooper (five years, $25 million) and Jeremy Maclin (one year, $5.5 million) this offseason, which made Jackson dispensable. Jackson was Philadelphia’s biggest playmaker, but that did not prevent his release on Friday.
Washington may have obtained a playmaker, but Jackson comes with baggage.
A story on NJ.com claimed Jackson had gang connections, an allegation the receiver denied. There were several pictures that seemingly connected Jackson to the Crips. Former NFL general manager Mark Dominik said any NFL team interested in signing the controversial receiver would have to conduct an extensive background check, which included gathering information from the FBI.
It appears Washington is satisfied with its investigation.
Jackson reportedly considered Oakland and San Francisco, but will join quarterback Robert Griffin III, who is entering his third NFL season. Griffin clashed with Mike Shanahan, Washington’s previous coach, but Jay Gruden is the team’s new leader. Jackson and Griffin will have a chance to rebuild their reputations as adversarial players with Gruden.
Last season, Pierre Garcon led Washington with 1,346 receiving yards and five touchdowns, but receivers Josh Morgan and Leonard Hankerson did not have a significant impact. Jackson, 27, is talented enough to open up Washington’s passing game.
The NFL will not release its schedule until later in April, but Jackson will play against Philadelphia twice a year. It is safe to assume he will mark those two games on his calendar.
Prior to Jackson’s release, he was a well-liked athlete in Philadelphia. It will be interesting to see if he experiences a warm reception in Philadelphia or if the applause he once received will turn into boos. As NFL observers know, anything can happen in Philadelphia, and Jackson appears suited to handle any reaction.