After seven seasons with the Eagles, DeSean Jackson has been abruptly let go from the team after the Eagles spent weeks trying to trade him. The move was apparently expedited by the publication of story detailing the Eagles’ concerns with Jackson’s gang connections. What makes move mystifying is that the murmurs about Jackson being connected with gangs is far from new. People have been interpreting his throwing up Crip signs in games as evidence of his involvement for years.
For the past few weeks, there was tons of speculation about Jackson’s future with the team and whether he would be moved. That seemed to have been put to bed somewhat a few days ago when Chip Kelly told the media that Jackson knew where he stood with the team.
Jackson is coming off the best statistical season of his career and, even with his release, will still count for $6 million toward the Eagles 2014 salary cap figure. Even disregarding what the Eagles might have been able to get for him in a trade, it’s clear they really wanted him gone.
DeSean’s time in Philly was equal parts boneheaded and brilliant. He made a few notoriously dumb mistakes on the field but also produced some of the biggest plays during his time with the team, the most famous being his punt return touchdown as time expired to beat the Giants in the Meadowlands in 2010.
Jackson’s history of on-field antics coupled with the specter of gang connections – however tenuous they may be at this point – will make his time in free agency a media madhouse. That’s naturally exacerbated by what happened with Aaron Hernandez, how the Eagles treated Riley Cooper, race and even a cryptic tweet from a teammate.
We just made an extremely unpopular decision, but I couldn't be more excited and happy with where this organization is going!! #FlyEaglesFly
— Jason Kelce (@Jkelce) March 28, 2014
Yup, this should be fun.