DeSean Finally Speaks On Contract Status
By Lance Epstein
No quotes. No interviews. Not even a slight mention of him by head coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg in their press conferences. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson was basically the forgotten man over this weekend’s minicamp. However, today as the Eagles brought back the 1960 kelly green uniforms, Jackson also brought back his contract situation.
Jackson (5-10, 175) said that he understands that he is being grossly underpaid, but is willing to "patiently wait," for the team to workout a new contract.
"Whatever it is I'd be happy with that," Jackson said. "I'm not here to make a big issue out of it or complain about it because that's not what I do. I feel my relationship that I have with the Eagles and the front office is a [good] one and I'm patiently waiting. Hopefully, it will be done sooner than later."
A reason that Jackson is underpaid (base salary is 480,000) is because he was selected in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft, so he did not get the big money that first-round rookies receive in their first NFL contract.
In only two seasons in the NFL, Jackson has become one of the best playmakers in the league. Both as a special team's punter returner and as one of the up-and-coming stars at the wide receiver position as well. Over his two-year career he has accumulated 2,079 receiving yards on just 125 receptions (16.6 yard per catch average) and 11 touchdowns. As an elusive punt returner, he has taken three punts to the house and has amassed 881 yards.
Still, Jackson knows what he is worth and does not plan on crying over the millions that he feels he has earned.
"I'm not going to panic," Jackson said. "I'm not going to sit here and be a crybaby about it. I definitely know what I'm worth."
A major holdup between the Eagles and Jackson getting a long-term deal completed is the 30 percent rule. Since the collective bargaining agreement is expiring and the 2010 season is going to be an uncapped year the rule is being enforced. The rule prohibits any team to increase the base salary of any player in renegotiations by more than 30 percent in each successive year. While Jackson knows it is an unfortunate situation for him, he does not let it bother him [at least on the outside].
"It's unfortunate, but you can't get frustrated because it's not going to change until the [union] makes a deal with the NFL," said Jackson while discussing the annoying 30-percent rule. "You just have to deal with it and hopefully something will work out."
Even with the rule in place, the Eagles found creative ways to get around the 30 percent rule, which they demonstrated by giving a nice lucrative deal to quarterback Kevin Kolb. They gave Kolb a new one-year contract extension, which guarantees him $12.26 million; most of which came from his $10 million signing bonus.
Yet, there are major differences between Kolb and Jackson's situations. Jackson is still under contract for the next two seasons, whereas Kolb was playing the last year of his rookie contract (second-round as well). Also, Kolb was a good solider and sat patiently behind Donovan McNabb for three years until he got his opportunity. Finally, Kolb plays a position that the Eagles and the NFL values more than Jackson's wide receiver position.
In addition, do not be surprised if the Eagles are waiting to see if Jackson's size fits the traditional west coast offense the club will run with Kolb as the starter. Furthermore, the front office may want to see if he is durable enough to continuously run routes over the middle of the field and not get injured.
All in all, it might be in Jackson ‘s best interest to wait until next year incase a new collective bargaining agreement can be reached upon. If a new agreement can be met, he and the team can come to terms on a long-term deal that is not restricted by any type of rule.
Nonetheless, if Jackson continues to flourish, his stock will continue to rise and so will his paycheck. On the other hand, he is taking a giant risk of getting injured and seeing millions of dollars going down the drain.
Nevertheless, it is hard to imagine the Eagles letting a premiere playmaker just entering the prime of his career walk away, so expect him to be wearing midnight green for a while.