The Philadelphia Eagles were the first team in the NFL to use the franchise tag, yesterday applying it to WR DeSean Jackson.
Jackson was thrilled at the tagging and has expressed his intention to sign the tender, which would pay him a guaranteed $9.4 million, as soon as possible. The Inquirer’s Jeff McLane notes that this amount is “more than three times what he made during his first four seasons in the NFL.”
“I am honored that the Eagles organization perceives me as a franchise player. I look forward to getting a long-term deal done soon and being an Eagle for many years to come.”
Jackson’s tenuous financial situation, including debt to agent Drew Rosenhaus, purportedly added to his unhappiness about his contract situation last year. That didn’t stop DeSean from doing some celebratory spending yesterday, tweeting
a picture of himself in front of a Gucci store.
The tag placed on Jackson is a nonexclusive one, meaning that the Eagles can trade DeSean if they so choose after he signs the tender. This possibility leaves open room for speculation about whether the Eagles are placing the tag on Jackson simply so that they can get something for him by trading Jackson to another team.
CSNPhilly’s Reuben Frank cites an Eagles source
as saying that Philadelphia has every intention of hanging on to Jackson and are working hard to hammer out a long-term deal. An NFL source
told Frank that ” talks between Eagles & DeSean are ongoing and positive. The franchise tender hasn’t changed that.”
If that is indeed the case, the sides have a long way to go. The Inquirer reports
that Philadelphia and Jackson’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, are still far apart on a deal. They have until July 15 to reach an agreement on a contract extension. It’s worth noting that Philadelphia has never traded a franchised player, though it has had two not sign their franchise tenders (Jeremiah Trotter and Corey Simon).
If the Birds plan to hang on to DeSean, then coming to terms on a long-term deal is in the team’s best interest, as it will be more cap-friendly.
After being drafted by the Eagles in the 2nd round in 2008, Jackson earned trips to the Pro Bowl in 2009 and 2010. Since the start of his NFL career, he has caught 229 passes for 4,085 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also has a franchise record 4 touchdowns on punt returns. Jackson his one of five players in NFL history to post 900-or-more yards in each of their first four seasons and has the most receiving yards by any Eagle after their first four years in Philadelphia.
Placing the franchise tag on DeSean Jackson is only the first step in what will still be a long process, whether or not the Eagles will hang on to Jackson. But increasingly, it looks and sound like Philadelphia intends to keep him.