DeSean Jackson not a fit in San Diego
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.