We all know how happy DeSean Jackson is to be coming back to Philadelphia. I’m thinking his phone battery probably died during his celebration that went on for hours after the news broke. He reposted congratulatatory messages, posted old photos of him in an Eagles jersey and shot video of his Madden stats after he clearly traded himself back to the Eagles in an attempt to catch up to real life.
In that Madden game, as you might have guessed, DeSean showed off that he caught 12 passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns. But he also showed Carson Wentz’s stats: 404 yards and five touchdowns. Not bad.
Which brings us to this point: The only person who was probably as happy as DeSean on Monday had to be Wentz.
First, he found out he’s getting his Hall of Fame left tackle back. Then he found out he’s getting a deep threat, the likes of which he’s never had before.
Yeah, pretty much, Carson. Just throw it deep.
Because Jackson isn’t just a good deep threat; he’s one of the best deep threats in NFL history.
And even at 32-years-old, he’s still gives the exact element the Eagles have been so desperately missing from their offense.
Since the Eagles drafted DeSean in 2008, he leads the NFL with 40 catches of 50-plus yards. The next closest player in that span (Mike Wallace) has just 26. Even if you just counted DeSean’s 24 touchdown catches of 50-plus yards, he would still be second in the league.
Now, of course, Jackson is 32 and there’s some risk involved. He’s a receiver whose whole career has been based around speed. (He has more than that, by the way; he’s one of the best deep-ball trackers in NFL history.)
So how much does Jackson have left? It’s a valid question.
But based on what he did in 2018, there’s reason to think he still has more to give.
• In 12 games in 2018, Jackson caught 41 passes for 774 yards and four touchdowns.
• He led the NFL in average yards per reception (18.9) for the fourth time in his career. He also did it in 2010, 2014 and 2016, which means he has done it in all three stops.
• Jackson caught three 50-yard passes in 2018. The Eagles had just seven.
• Jackson caught five 40-yard passes in 2018. The Eagles had just nine.
And according to the NFL’s Next Gen stats, Jackson was second in the NFL in targeted air yards (19.1) in the league 2018. The NFL explains TAY: “This stat indicates how far down the field they are being targeted on average.” The closest Eagles on the list were Alshon Jeffery (10.8) and Nelson Agholor (10.5).
So while Agholor has become a deep threat of sorts, it’s not in the same way as Jackson.
Really, the best pure outside deep threat Wentz has had since he’s been in Philadelphia was Torrey Smith. And even Smith wasn’t very good in 2017, catching just six passes of 20-plus yards. Wallace was supposed to be that deep threat in 2018, but he got injured early and missed most of the season.
Remember DGB and Bryce Treggs? Well … now Wentz has DeSean Jackson. He’s come a long way.
And even though some think Wentz didn’t get the ball down field as much as Nick Foles in 2018, that’s not true (see story). Wentz actually averaged more yards per attempt and now he’ll have someone to help him even more down the field.
Eventually, Wentz is going to get that mega contract extension and he’s going to outlast Jackson in Philly by many years. But for at least the next few seasons, these two could become lethal together.
I’m guessing Wentz has a big ol’ smile on his face right now. And maybe he already traded for DeSean in Madden too.
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