The Eagles released DeSean Jackson. That came shortly after this report suggest that Jackson was affiliated with gangs. Jackson later released a statement claiming that he has never been part of a gang.
So what do the wide receiver-needy teams do with Jackson? Do they take him on his word or look at his past and see if that would be baggage they do not want to deal with?
Jackson is coming off a tremendous season and is still very effective on the field. As a speed demon, he’s one of the best. If he’s set out to return punts, he can also make big plays. He’ll also make dumb plays. But if you look at his overall skill, he’s a wide receiver that would be a great addition to any team.
Of course in light of this recent news about his potential gang affiliation, it’s tough to know whether or not that will be an issue in the future. Jackson claims he is not associated with gangs but it’s now a cloud that will be over him for some time. The supposed gang was involved with two homicides and Jackson reportedly has been associated with them since 2010. It is uncertain if some or any of it is true.
But teams now will have to do their research. As much as Jackson can continue to say that he doesn’t carry that baggage, there have been many times in the past when players have lied about themselves to save face.
For the teams that can benefit from Jackson, it might take a tough-minded coach that believes he can handle such potential disaster. That coach knows that given the right teaching and right environment, gold can come out of what is perceived as coal.
But which team has that kind of a head coach? Even Chip Kelly, who has shown that he is a very disciplined head coach, didn’t want Jackson on the team. A coach like Bill Belichick would be great for Jackson, but does he even want to deal with this headache? Or is the risk worth the reward?
Before this past month, Jackson was considered one of the top tier receivers in the league and had great value had he been on the market. Now today, his value has diminished slightly. The negativity that has risen from this past week has hurt his value. But there will be at least one team that will be convinced they can handle it.
Jackson believes he has done nothing wrong. It might just take a team to believe that too, despite what everyone else is saying. We’ll just see which team is the one that extends their hand to him.