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Wednesday, August 10, 2011
DeSean Jackson's salary in perspective

By Dan Graziano

Reuben Frank has the list of all 84 NFL receivers scheduled to earn more in salary this season than the Philadelphia Eagles' DeSean Jackson. Limas Sweed is on it. So is Wallace Wright, Titus Young, Craig Davis and David Anderson. So are four receivers from the New York Giants. Guys like Jason Hill, Jonathan Baldwin and Delanie Walker are all slated to earn at least twice Jackson's $769,960 salary in 2011. Funny list, and one that surely proves Jackson's point that he's underpaid.

Thing is, though, everyone agrees that Jackson's underpaid. The Eagles agree. If it hadn't been for the lockout, Jackson's holdout may well have occurred during minicamps and they might have renegotiated his deal months ago. I think it'll get done eventually. The question is what it will look like when it does. Should Jackson be at or near the top of this list, with guys like Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson and Roddy White? That's almost certainly what Jackson thinks. I wonder if the Eagles will agree.

The comparison that's been brought up is Santonio Holmes, who just signed a new deal with the Jets that will pay him $9.05 million per year. Some believe Jackson will seek and should get a deal similar to what Holmes got. But I disagree, and it's not just because Holmes' resume is better than Jackson's (which it is). It's because Jackson isn't a free agent and Holmes was. There are no other teams bidding on Jackson to drive up his price. Renegotiating your deal with one year left because it turns out to have been insufficient is different than playing out the deal's final year and hitting the market. There's less risk involved, and that risk -- of injury, and of having a year that's not up to his standards and deflates his market value -- is the reason Jackson would rather do the deal now.

So it remains to be seen where Jackson and the Eagles will draw their respective lines on this thing. He's back in camp now, saying all the right things. And after all the free-agent work they've done to make sure this is the year they make their most serious run at the Super Bowl, it'd be nuts to risk Jackson walking out again. So I believe they will eventually make him happy and move him way up from 85th on Reuben's list. The question is: How far up should he move?