DeSean Jackson was released by the Philadelphia Eagles, did you hear? The story claiming the organization had concerns about his rumored gang affiliations dropped just before the release, and the skeptic would question the Eagles’ role in that process. Jackson has already denied being part of any gang.
Jackson has not been convicted of any major crime, nor has he ever been suspended by the league. On the other hand, in the post-Aaron Hernandez world in the NFL, you can bet that this story resonates on a more emotional level, and any team will do due diligence before bringing him in. Once the immediate fire clears, though, you still have a player who has had over 1,000 yards from scrimmage in 5 of 6 years in the league, and is coming off a career high 1,332 receiving yards in 2013. He will find employment in reasonably short order. Anything less, across 31 other teams, and you would have serious concerns over a person being convicted unofficially by rumored association. Plenty of players with far more serious things going on have found a team.
So, who might be interested in Jackson, given the roster and salary cap situations?
1. Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City is a logical choice given the ties to Andy Reid, who coached Jackson until last year. Kansas City also has needs at the receiver position, and could make a short term move without investing other picks. The primary issue for Kansas City is cap space. Compared to the other teams on this list, they are not in position to add him without other wrangling. Kansas City appears to have less than $5 million in cap space heading into the end of free agency and the draft.
For Kansas City, it may be a matter of not being worth the extra maneuvering to add him.
2. Buffalo Bills. We cannot rule out Buffalo as a team that will still have him on their wish list, and the Bills do have the cap space. They could also use more playmakers to facilitate E.J. Manuel in his second season. From a need/cap space situation, the Bills would seem a good possibility. It’s just a matter of comfort, and whether Jackson would go there in lieu of any other opportunities.
3. Oakland Raiders. Oakland has a ton of cap space and plenty of incentive to improve the team (Dennis Allen will be very much coaching for his job). DeSean’s speed is a perfect fit for the old Oakland philosophy, but how will Reggie McKenzie view it? The complicating factor here is that Jackson would be near his old stomping grounds (Berkeley), and if there is legitimate concern about his associates, returning home may not be the best move.
4. New York Jets. They signed Eric Decker. Completely different type of receiver, and Jackson would be a great complement. The Jets are in need of multiple upgrades at the receiving position. Oh, and they have added Michael Vick to compete at quarterback. The Jets have the cap room, and Woody likes to get the headlines. Don’t rule it out.
5. Seattle Seahawks. They have to replace Golden Tate. The combination of DeSean Jackson and Percy Harvin would be both scary for opponents and scary for the Seahawks. It would be must see TV.
[photo via USA Today Sports Images]