AFC West: Eagles cut DeSean Jackson
Still, the Raiders are doing research on Jackson while playing a wait-and-see game as no visit has been scheduled yet. Jackson is, however, scheduled to visit the Washington Redskins on Tuesday.
Free safety Charles Woodson, who is entering his 17th season, on Friday told ESPN radio affiliate 95.7 The Game that he hoped general manager Reggie McKenzie brought Jackson to Oakland, after necessary background checks.
“But when you talk about bringing in a guy as talented as he is, and you have that opportunity, I think you take a shot at it,” Woodson said. “And I think where we are as a team, we need all the playmakers we can have, and adding that guy would definitely help take us to the next level.”
Jackson, who played at nearby Cal, is coming off a career-best season in which he caught 82 passes for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns. He would be the deep threat the Raiders want and need. Plus, the Raiders still have ample salary cap space.
But with Jackson being reportedly linked to gang activity in his native Los Angeles and, in the wake of the Aaron Hernandez situation in New England, the NFL in general and teams in particular are especially sensitive to players’ off-the-field relationships.
Raiders fullback Marcel Reece joined Woodson in pushing Jackson, the two-time Pro Bowler took to Twitter to defend Jackson.
Unbelievable to try and pin a negative rap on someone just because you may not like them...don't believe the negativity! @DeseanJackson10— Marcel Reece (@CelReece45) March 29, 2014
Ok...I just couldn't allow my boy @DeseanJackson10 get trashed without saying anything. Back in hiding I go for the rest of the day!— Marcel Reece (@CelReece45) March 29, 2014
Tv is speculating I'm speaking from experience known @DeseanJackson10 a long time and he's always been the same— Marcel Reece (@CelReece45) March 29, 2014
The 5-feet-10, 178-pound Jackson, who is only 27, has been the subject of a social media push by Raiders fans using the hashtag #DJaxToOakland.
Raiders special teams coach Bobby April also has a history with Jackson, having coached in Philadelphia when Jackson was weaned off being the Eagles’ punt returner.
From a scale of low to high interest, I rated the San Diego Chargers’ level of interest in Jackson at a medium. The Chargers are in need of a playmaking receiver who can also help in the return game, so Jackson’s a fit in terms of a skill set.
He has some familiarity with fellow Cal receiver Keenan Allen, and would be close to his native Los Angeles by joining the Chargers. But ultimately I do not see Jackson signing with the Chargers for a couple of different reasons.
Too risky: Whether or not you believe the report by NJ.com of Jackson’s alleged gang ties, any NFL front office has to perform their due diligence to make sure the player is a good fit in the locker room and with the organization. Jackson vehemently denied he has gang affiliations in a statement released on Friday. General manager Tom Telesco, along with the Chargers organization, is pretty conservative in their approach to player acquisition and what types of people they sign. I would be surprised if Telesco is willing to take a leap of faith on Jackson, having no personnel relationship with the player. Teams like Kansas City and the New York Jets, who have coaches that have worked with Jackson in the NFL, make more sense.
Too expensive: Jackson likely will command between $6-7 million a year to secure his services – and I don’t think the Chargers want to spend that much on a veteran receiver. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Chargers have $3.7 million in salary-cap space. The team still has to sign draft picks and undrafted rookie free agents, along with leaving enough money to sign guys during the regular season to replace players placed on the injured reserve. I’m skeptical the team is willing to do a deal that pushes money into future years for Jackson.
Look to the draft: This year’s draft class is deep and talented at receiver. And while you might not get someone as talented as Jackson, the Chargers still can find a player with a similar skill set. And that player will be inexpensive and under team control in terms of contract for a longer period. Players like Wyoming’s Robert Herron or South Carolina’s Bruce Ellington can be drafted in the middle rounds and are talented enough to help the Chargers immediately. Telesco plucking Allen in the third round last year is an example of the GM's ability to evaluate receivers in the draft that fit San Diego’s offensive system.