With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ DeSean Jackson cooling down after a hot start to the 2018 NFL season, the veteran wide receiver is reportedly hoping to move to another team ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline, according to a new report from the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
In a report published Sunday on the NFL’s website, Rapoport wrote that Jackson recently sought to be traded because he is looking for a team “that can better make use of his talents.” While the Bucs reportedly refused Jackson’s trade request, Rapoport noted that many NFL teams might be interested in the 31-year-old receiver’s services, given his Pro Bowl credentials and his strong play in the first few weeks of the 2018 season.
With quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick starting in place of Jameis Winston, Jackson had nine receptions for 275 yards and scored three touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ first two games, according to Sports Illustrated. However, Rapoport stressed that Jackson, who eclipsed the 100-yard mark only once in the Bucs’ last four games, hasn’t been able to find the same chemistry with Winston since the latter returned from a three-game league suspension, despite how they seemingly have no issues with each other off the field.
Last month, Jackson commented on the Buccaneers’ quarterback situation in an NFL Network video, saying that Fitzpatrick, who threw eight touchdown passes and only one interception in the first two weeks of the season, should be retained as the team’s starting signal-caller. According to the Washington Post, Jackson said that the 35-year-old veteran was “playing on fire” in Winston’s absence, and that the Bucs coaching staff should appreciate how the team “rallied behind” the man who was supposed to be their No. 2 quarterback.
— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) October 28, 2018
So far, DeSean Jackson has caught 23 passes for 526 yards in six games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. According to Rapoport, the 11-year NFL veteran’s contract could be deemed “tradable,” as he is set to earn $11 million this year while playing alongside the “highly paid” Mike Evans (the Bucs’ top receiving option with 40 receptions for 591 yards) and second-year man Chris Godwin. On the other hand, Rapoport added that Jackson might also be too valuable on the field for the team to trade, given how Tampa Bay is currently third in the NFC South with a 3-3 record.
“Coach Dirk Koetter has already fired his defensive coordinator and it’s obvious those in Tampa need to win. They don’t seem to want to deal Jackson under that backdrop. They view him as too big of an asset,” Rapoport wrote.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be playing the Cincinnati Bengals (4-3) on Sunday afternoon, 1 p.m. ET, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.