<
>

Eagles need to keep DeSean Jackson

3/20/2014

Philadelphia receiver DeSean Jackson at times can be a combustible force in the locker room and on the field. He’s also considered one of the premier players at his position.

Yet, Jackson is unhappy with his contract.

Again.

It's nobody's fault. That’s just how he is.

Here's the reality of the situation: The Eagles shouldn’t try to trade or accept offers for him. Jackson, despite his personality quirks, is one of the big keys to this passing game.

Sure, Riley Cooper produced a solid season with 47 catches for 835 yards and eight touchdowns in 2013 while overcoming a racial slur he made in the offseason that almost destroyed the team.

Credit coach Chip Kelly, quarterback Michael Vick and wide receiver Jason Avant for dealing with the situation from a professional and personal level.

Cooper thrived on the field and overcame the slur to become a productive citizen for the Eagles. But let’s be honest, he’s not an elite receiver.

Jackson is.

He set career highs in catches (82), yards (1,332) and tied it for touchdowns (nine). He also set a career high with 60 first downs in 2013.

Jackson was ninth in the NFL in receiving yards.

Trading Jackson makes no sense.

He’s expected to earn a base salary of $10.5 million in 2014 and has $30.5 million left on a five-year deal he signed in 2012. Of course, the Eagles could release Jackson and he would receive nothing. Well, welcome to life in the NFL.

Jackson understands this life he's chosen, however, one thing is missing in all of this trade talk regarding the talented receiver: Kelly.

If the Eagles coach was good at handling the Cooper slur and the change at quarterback going from Vick to Nick Foles, then this man should speak with Jackson.

Kelly has to know Jackson is somebody he needs in this offense.

Sure, Jackson is, well, combustible. And if Kelly can’t get a handle on it by talking to his star wideout about his future, then the Eagles' 2014 season might end up without playoff games in January.