Report: DeSean Jackson won't play today

November, 13, 2011
11/13/11
8:51
AM ET

If the Philadelphia Eagles are going to get back on track today against the Arizona Cardinals, they'll apparently have to do it without wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that Jackson missed a team meeting Saturday and will be listed among today's inactives as a result:
This is the way the Birds generally handle such matters – several years ago, running back Correll Buckhalter did the same thing and received the same punishment. But Jackson's is a much more ticklish situation.

Jackson, who turns 25 next month, is in his second season of dissatisfaction over risking injury while underpaid, playing as he unsuccessfully seeks a new contract from the team. Last year, Eagles president Joe Banner agreed that Jackson deserved a new deal but said complications with the rules governing the expiring collective bargaining agreement made it impossible to give Jackson a significant raise. This year, there is a new collective bargaining agreement and the sides have talked, but no accord has been reached, and none seems forthcoming.

Yes, the short-term issues would seem to be minimal compared to the longer-term effects of such a move. The Eagles ought to be able to beat Arizona without Jackson, who hasn't been having his best year anyway. Expect more action today for Jason Avant, Brent Celek and maybe even Steve Smith along with top wideout Jeremy Maclin.

The major questions about this issue is what it means for Jackson and the Eagles beyond this. Jackson held out of the first week of training camp in protest of his contract, but when he showed up he said his protest days were behind him and his plan was to play, work hard and hope the team did right by him.

It's obviously unclear whether the contract situation has anything to do with Jackson having missed Saturday's meeting, or with his subpar play so far this year. But with any contract dispute, things don't get really scary until the relationship between the player and the team is damaged as a result of one side's actions. If Jackson perceives today's punishment to be unjust, or part of the contract dispute, it could have a lasting impact on his relationship with the Eagles and further damage the chances that he stays in Philadelphia long term.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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