DeSean Jackson's three-year, $24-million contract with Washington now gives new coach Jay Gruden and third-year quarterback Robert Griffin III a major new weapon on offense, adding more speed to an already fast lineup.
Good thing the Giants have been loading up on defensive backs in free agency. They're gonna need every single one of them to contend with a Washington lineup that adds Jackson to an offense that includes Pierre Garcon and newly acquired Andre Roberts, the former Cardinals understudy to Larry Fitzgerald.
Jackson's stunning release from the Eagles last Friday created an opportunity for Gruden and Griffin to bring in one of the league's fastest receivers in Jackson. He's coming off a career high 1,332-yard, nine-touchdown season in Chip Kelly's Eagles offense. And he also adds an element of explosiveness to the punt return game. Think of him as a faster version of Santana Moss, the longtime receiver who is likely the odd man out now that Jackson is in the fold.
Now the question is what happens with Jackson in the locker room. As far as Kelly was concerned, Jackson's first name might as well have been MeSean. The receiver was late to some meetings, got into arguments with some of his coaches and belly-ached about his contract in January, just two years into a five-year deal.
Jackson was on the trade market for several weeks, but after the Eagles could find no takers, they simply released him. A calculated move, yes, and Philly may not have expected to see him back in the division. But Kelly believes this is a case of addition by subtraction.
Jackson couldn't have asked for a better landing spot, because he's got a young, mobile quarterback in Griffin and an imaginative play-caller in Gruden. It is in his best interests to become a better team player, and there are plenty of financial reasons for him to not be a locker room distraction. His three-year contract includes $16 million in guaranteed money, but for all practical purposes, it's a two-year deal with a team option. If Jackson falls back into his me-first ways, then Washington will likely cut ties after the 2015 season.
As for a recent report that Jackson had ties to gang-related activity in Los Angeles, we don't put much stock into that being a factor moving forward. Los Angeles police said he had no direct links to two recent murders.
That doesn't absolve Jackson from his locker room behavior that got him in hot water with the Eagles' coaching staff. He needs to be a better teammate, period. If he is, then he and his new team will be better for it. If not, then he becomes the second coming off Terrell Owens, where his talent is overshadowed by his locker room-busting behavior.