The DeSean Jackson saga in Philadelphia has come to an abrupt end, as the Eagles have decided to sever ties with the talented, yet often demanding wide receiver.
Jackson is now free to sign with any team on the open market, and by releasing Jackson outright as opposed to finding a willing trade partner, the Eagles will receive nothing in return. Philadelphia has been attempting to trade the mercurial Jackson for some time, and while there were several teams reportedly interested in his services, the Eagles were apparently unable to find an organization willing to take on Jackson's contract or part with a draft pick as compensation.
One team in particular was the New York Jets, who after signing former Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, seemed like a logical landing place for Jackson. However, after shopping Jackson vigorously around the league, it appears Philadelphia was unable to negotiate a trade and opted for an outright release. Jackson was owed $10.5 million for the 2014 season, which clearly was a factor in the team's inability to unload him. Instead of receiving possible draft pick compensation for Jackson; the Eagles are now on the hook for $6 million.
The organization released this message regarding Jackson via Twitter:
After careful consideration this offseason, Eagles decide to part ways with DeSean Jackson. The team informed him of his release today.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) March 28, 2014
The relationship between Jackson and the Eagles has been deteriorating for some time due to a variety of factors, including problems with head coach Chip Kelly related to a bad attitude and suspect work ethic. In addition, NJ.com recently reported some troubling off-field issues, specifically Jackson's alleged connection to several Los Angeles-based gang members associated with two known homicides. The combination of these factors contributed to the Eagles' decision to move in a different direction regarding Jackson.
While there is nothing concrete tying Jackson to any gang-related activity, this speculation along with other issues appear to have been enough to influence the Eagles front office. Shortly after the announcement, Jackson released his own statement, addressing both his future and the rumors surrounding his extracurricular activities:
"First, I would like to thank the Eagles organization, the Eagles fans and the city of Philadelphia for my time in Philly. I would also like to thank coach Andy Reed (sic) for bringing me in. Secondly, I would like to address the misleading and unfounded reports that my release has anything to do with any affiliation that has been speculated surrounding the company I keep off of the field. I would like to make it very clear that I am not and never have been part of any gang. I am not a gang member and to speculate and assume that I am involved in such activity off the field is reckless and irresponsible. I work very hard on and off the field and I am a good person with good values. I am proud of the accomplishments that I have made both on and off the field. I have worked tirelessly to give back to my community and have a positive impact on those in need. It is unfortunate that I now have to defend myself and my intentions. These reports are irresponsible and just not true. I look forward to working hard for my new team. God Bless."Jackson, who is still only 27, is coming off an extremely productive season for the Eagles, and despite current public perception, should find a new team willing to take a chance on his talent, albeit for less money.