michael-garcia - August 21, 2012
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver and kick returner DeSean Jackson has blown open a whole can of worms in a new interview. Jackson says that he didn't give everything he had last season so he could avoid getting injured going into an offseason where he was looking for a new contract. The Eagles put the franchise tag on him, and the two sides came to an agreement on a five-year, $51 million dollar deal, with $15 million in guaranteed money.
Jackson told ESPN's Lisa Salters he heard and read the talk last year when people were questioning his play.
I let it get to me, even though I tried not to let it. I was trying to protect myself from getting hurt -- now I'm just giving it all.
His gamble worked, but there's going to be a lot of anger, feigned and real, coming his way. But it's not like he was terrible last season. Jackson had 961 yards receiving, despite being benched for a game. So he basically gamed the system and hoped he'd get a deal based on his entire career, not just the 2011 season.
Jackson's honest answer starts to make sense when you look at how some other wide receivers have been going through negotiations.
Dwayne Bowe was holding out for a long term deal in Kansas City after being franchise tagged, but he finally gave in and reported to camp after signing the one-year, $9.6 million tender. There's a good chance it will be his last year with the Chiefs, so he has to go out and prove to the rest of the league that they should sign him.
In Pittsburgh, Mike Wallace turned down the Steelers earlier this summer, feeling that the $42 million over five years they were offering wasn't enough. Wallace is still holding out, though reports today suggest he might be in camp this week. Back when he spurned the team's offer, they turned around and gave Antonio Brown a $42 million dollar deal through 2017, with $8 million guaranteed.
Wallace might not get as much as he thinks he's worth, and it's highly unlikely that he's going to get a long term deal. So now he has to play out the year and decide if he wants to go all out, or do like Jackson did and take it easy hoping to avoid injury.
Wallace is already known as one of the fastest receivers in the NFL, and he hasn't had the injury history that Jackson does. So what does he do? Most likely he goes out and plays hard, but based on Jackson's admission and getting the deal he wanted anyway, it's hard to blame Wallace if he goes another route.
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