It's a no-brainer: Eagles must keep DeSean


Its become fashionable lately to trash DeSean Jackson and to convolute logic to such a degree that were actually trying to convince ourselves that the Eagles would be a better football team without him than with him.

Better without one of the most unique and gifted playmakers in franchise history than with him?


I dont buy it.

The Eagles should do everything they can to lock up Jackson to a long-term, multi-year deal while they still hold exclusive negotiating rights to the 25-year-old receiver, before he hits free agency and the open market in mid-March.

Because anybody who thinks that Jackson is somehow no longer a dangerous weapon, no longer a franchise receiver, no longer a big-time playmaker simply because he dropped a few touchdowns and missed a meeting in 2012 just couldnt be more wrong.

We survived a decade of wide receiving mediocrity waiting for a talent like DeSean Jackson. We endured year after year of Torrance Small and Charles Johnson and James Thrash and Todd Pinkston, while begging the Eagles to draft the kind of explosive young wide out the Eagles hadnt had in a generation.

And now we have him. And now we want to get rid of him?

Its easy to play with the numbers when trying to denigrate Jackson. We know he doesnt catch as many passes as other receivers. We know his touchdowns were way down last year. We know hell never be a classic 80-catch guy.

But forget the numbers for a moment and watch the young man play football. He wont turn 26 until late next season, and he already has 22 touchdowns of 30 yards or more on his resume, including 13 TDs of 60 yards or more. Every time he touches the ball, hes a threat to go all the way, and ripping him for not catching a ton of passes is like ripping Ryan Howard for not hitting a ton of singles. Thats not who he is.

Thirteen TDs of 60 yards or more in four years. More than Brian Westbrook, Wilbert Montgomery and Harold Carmichael combined.

So, yeah, lets get rid of him because he missed a meeting and dropped a few TDs.


Mike Quicks first big year was 1983, when he led the NFL with over 1,400 yards and had eight TD receptions of 20 yards or more. The next year, his numbers plummeted. He barely surpassed 1,000 yards, he had just two TDs longer than 20 yards, the Eagles had a bad year, and everybody expertly determined that Quick was no longer quite the same player he was the year before.

Quick was 25, the same age Jackson is now. You know the rest of the story. He bounced back the next year, went to the next three Pro Bowls and didnt slow down until the unrelenting Veterans Stadium turf finally turned his knees into Jell-O in the late 1980s.

By then, he was one of the greatest receivers in Eagles history, and theres no reason to expect anything else from D-Jack.

Forget the numbers for a minute and watch the coverage he draws. Why do you think Brent Celek and Jason Avant are always open? Teams constantly double-team Jackson deep, and that opens up the middle and often leaves Jeremy Maclin open for mid-range balls. That doesnt show up in the stats, except that Celek, Avant and Maclin combined for 177 catches last year.

But despite everything -- despite a down year in 2011, despite injuries, despite playing with four different quarterbacks since his rookie year (Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, Vince Young, Michael Vick) -- Jackson is 10th in the NFL in receiving yards since he entered the league.

More yards than Marques Colston, more yards than Dwayne Bowe, Anquan Boldin, Vincent Jackson, Santonio Holmes or Santana Moss.

And big plays? Nobodys close. Jackson has nearly twice as many TDs of 60 yards or more since 2008 (13) as anybody else in the league (Josh Cribbs, Devin Hester and Chris Johnson have seven each). Nobody is close to his 22 TDs of 30 yards or more, either -- Robert Meacham is second with 16.

You can tell Jackson really wants to be here. Despite his one-game suspension for the Cardinals game, he has a great relationship with head coach Andy Reid. And he and Vick consider themselves brothers, so you know they want to stay together. Yeah, his agent is Drew Rosenhaus, but we suspect that if the Eagles offer 8.5 million a year for five years, a fair deal for both sides, this thing can get done today.

This is somebody you want to pay a lot of money. This is somebody you want to keep in an Eagles uniform for a long time.

This is not somebody you want to get rid of.

E-mail Reuben Frank at

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