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Thursday, March 1, 2012
Jackson earns franchise label from Eagles

By Jason Vida


Nick Laham/Getty Images
DeSean Jackson scores on a 65-yard punt return as the clock expires to give the Eagles a win over the Giants in 2010. The Eagles placed their franchise tag on Jackson on Thursday.
After a record-tying 14 players received the franchise tag last season, it took more than 10 days of the franchise tag period for the first player be tabbed in 2012. The Philadelphia Eagles ended the drought Thursday, tagging wide receiver DeSean Jackson.

Jackson earned his one-year tender of more than $9 million after outperforming the rookie deal he signed after being selected by the Eagles with the 49th pick in the 2008 draft.

Since entering the league, Jackson has an NFL-best 25 receptions of 40 or more yards and a league-high 14 touchdowns of at least 50 yards. He’s scored long touchdowns at an historic rate; Jackson’s nine 50-yard touchdowns in 2009 tied the NFL single-season record held by Devin Hester (2007) and Elroy Hirsch (1951).

Jackson also has the ability to score from all over the field. He’s scored at least once on a rush, reception and punt return in three of his four seasons. The only player in league history to with more seasons with a rushing, receiving and punt return touchdown is Eric Metcalf, who did it every year from 1992 to 1995.

There is speculation that tagging Jackson could be the Eagles’ first step towards trading him before the start of the season. If Jackson ends up playing elsewhere in 2012, his time in Philadelphia might be best remembered for his game-winning 65-yard punt return touchdown against the New York Giants in 2010, also known as the “Miracle at the New Meadowlands."

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Jackson’s walk-off punt return was the longest game-winning touchdown on the final play of regulation in more than 50 years. Detroit Lions tight end Jim Gibbons hauled in a 65-yard TD to beat the Colts on Dec. 4, 1960.

With franchise tag season upon us, here are other things to know about the tag:

• Since the tag was created in 1993, 31 of the 32 active franchises have used it. The Atlanta Falcons, who are reportedly considering using the tag on Brent Grimes this year, have never franchised a player. No team has used the tag more than the Seattle Seahawks, who have franchised a player 10 times.

• Over the past 19 years, 138 different players have been franchised, none more so than tackles Walter Jones and Orlando Pace, both of whom received the tag on three separate occasions. Jones was tagged each year from 2002 to 2004. Pace was tagged each year from 2003 to 2005.

The tag has been used 155 times, with offensive and defensive linemen accounting for nearly 43 percent of the players tagged. Defensive linemen have been tagged 39 times, with defensive tackles (20 times) and defensive ends (19) receiving the tag with almost equal frequency.

Offensive linemen have been tagged 27 times, 21 of which have been offensive tackles, the most of any single position.