By Eagles Gab Columnist Chet Cashley
Ask any professional athlete how much money they’d give to win a championship in their sport. Their answer is a reasonable determinant of their commitment to win. As a coach or a player, nothing compares to a locker room full of guys who have a “win at whatever cost” attitude.
Obviously, with DeSean Jackson’s physical ability, his consistent performance over the past three years, and his potential as a 24 year-old rising superstar, playing for pennies is not a realistic option in today’s world of highly paid and highly coveted prime-time receivers.
Was it a surprise that Jackson held out? Not at all. He deserves more than what he’s making. Compared with other players of his ability, he’s underpaid. Compared with other players who play such a clutch role on their teams, he’s underpaid. Compared with other players who have the big-play, game-changing potential that De Sean Jackson has, he’s very underpaid.
There’s no player in the league who can change a game like Jackson can. He’s a thriller. He’s got enough speed to burn your team’s fastest defensive back for a 60-yarder and moonwalk into the end-zone. The 17 players with over 1,000 receiving yards last year averaged 82.3 receptions. Jackson only need 47, and led the league with a 22.5 yard average per reception. Out of those 47 receptions, 21 were for 20 yards or more, and 8 went for more than 40.
If you’re De Sean Jackson, not only are you saying, “Pay me more!” but you’re also saying, “Give me the ball more!” De Sean’s role last year was as a deep threat. His speed was used the Eagles’ secret weapon when Andy and the gang needed a big play at a crucial point in a game, and he delivered. But the cat was out of the bag long before Matt Dodge punted to him. Dodge just happened to be the last person in the league to find out (hopefully his relationships end differently than his career did). De Sean knows that the league has taken note, and he knows that he’s worth more than he’s making.
As an Eagles fan, I want to see De Sean Jackson wear dark green for a very long time. Players like Jackson don’t come around too often. The guy loves to play, he wants the ball, and when the heat is on, he’s the best chef in the kitchen, and let’s keep him cooking cheesesteaks. Give him 60 receptions this year, let him rack up 1,500 yards and 10 touchdowns, pay him what he’s worth, and keep this rising star in Philly.
For now, De Sean, you’ve made your first great move of the season. You’ve got an all-star team surrounding you, you’re stepping into your prime, and not returning to camp would have wasted valuable preparation time for what should be a season to remember. You’ve got a legitimate shot to play for a Super Bowl Champion team, so keep your head on straight and work hard in camp this August, and put on a show in 2011. All of Philadelphia will be watching.