Quick show of hands – who else got a contract extension from Howie Roseman in the last 48 hours?
Roseman spent most of last year’s 35-second offseason signing guys who’d never played for his team before (or who played for it very briefly before leaving for a year and having a career season so Roseman could sign him the year after for astronomically more money), but he’s singing a different tune this year. Last offseason, he said, “won’t you be my neighbor?” to a half-dozen or so gran nombre free agents; this year, he’s reminding current players that they are STILL his neighbor, damn it.
Yesterday, it was Todd Herremans and Trent Cole receiving extended stays in Philly. Today, it was 2011-12 malcontent DeSean Jackson “earning” some major guaranteed moolah. And word on the street is Roseman and the front office are nearly finished a big-time contract-lengthening agreement for Owen Schmitt.
Er, Shady McCoy.
Provided the McCoy deal pans out, that’s a lot of long-term security for four pretty big pieces. Unless the Eagles guarantee McCoy $20 million a year for life or something, the deal I’m least pleased with is Jackson’s.
Dan Graziano breaks down Jackson’s deal well on ESPN’s NFC East blog, and certainly, there are plenty of advantages to the deal for the Birds. It also means they’re paying Jackson like a top 10 receiver, which he is decidedly not.
Jackson actually caught a career-best 56 percent of passes thrown his way in 2011, up from a dismal 49 percent the year before. That’s still mediocre at best, though, and his percentage would be significantly higher if he didn’t have a chronic case of alligator arms…or if he’d look back at his quarterback once in a while when open.
Look at traditional statistics, and you’ll see Jackson behind such gamebreakers as Darrius Heyward-Bey and Nate Washington in receiving yards last year. You’ll also find him 25th in yards per game, and you’ll also discover Big Brent Celek had one fewer 20+ yard reception than D-Jax this year. Look at more advanced stats, such as Football Outsider’s “Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement” (DYAR) and “Defense-adjusted Value Over Average” (DVOA), and you’ll find he may have played even worse last season than you thought.
Of course, his defenders will point out there’s “no doubting Jackson’s abilities as a playmaker,” as we’ll no doubt hear countless times in the days following this deal, because of the value he brings on special teams. However, Jackson’s return opportunities are likely to be reduced even more now with his new “I’m A Number One Receiver So Use Me Like One” contract, the way they’ve disappeared since his rookie year. And while you can never take the Second Miracle away from him, for every dazzling return Jackson pulls off, he has another where he runs backwards five yards before fumbling the unsecured football. (Call it the Dante Hall effect)
This shouldn’t be perceived as the DeSean Jackson Rip Session. Publically airing his “health” concerns hit a sour note with fans, but it makes sense for a young guy who’s already been concussed twice in four years. He’s supremely gifted and could easily bounce back to the form of his second and third years in the league.
Nevertheless, to live up to the megabucks his extension provides, he has to outperform the job he did in his first four seasons, and he’s done nothing to indicate he can improve off that. Maybe the Eagles wanted to repay him for past success, but this isn’t Derek Jeter we’re talking about here.
He has no excuses now. He has his money and (some semblance of) long-term job/financial security. If he doesn’t step up in the next few years, though, as Graziano said, the Eagles wouldn’t have much issue kicking him to the curb.
Lots of other Eagles moves today:
· The team tendered Antonio Dixon, who’s coming off a torn triceps. If Dixon’s back to full strength, that defensive tackle rotation is going to be the nastiest, even if they don’t bring back Derek Landri.
· The front office decided the difference between the 176th pick in the 2012 draft and the 161st pick was approximately one Winston Justice. He’s gone, and so is his $4 million cap hit (of which they'll actually save about $2.4 million). To commemorate his departure, we’ve compiled a tribute video highlighting his commendable charitable work in the community, as well as the highlights of his recent G20 keynote speech on the undesirable side-effects of austerity measures in Greece.
(Nah, here’s three minutes of Osi Umenyiora lighting him on fire. Dammit)
· The release of Jamaal Jackson is as much a mercy decision as it is a football one. Jackson’s been hurt so often the last few years that by the time he was relatively healthy this season, Jason Kelce had taken his job. Jackson gets a chance to start somewhere else, the Eagles get $2 million in cap relief for the next two seasons, and Kelce can resume antagonizing fans at practice knowing he at least has job security.
· Speaking of antagonizing fans, Kelce’s partner-in-antagonizing, Evan Mathis, hasn’t signed anywhere yet, but Carl Nicks is off the market, meaning the guard stockpile is down to Mathis, Ben Grubbs, the decaying Steve Hutchinson and a bunch of schmucks. And if the Redskins get Mathis I swear to the heavens I don’t even man just no damn it no.
· Staying on the subject of schmuck guards, the Eagles picked up one, too. Luckily, the Eagles’ official mouthpiece says acquiring said schmuck is not a reflection on their thoughts towards Mathis, so we can relax knowing the Eagles would never, ever acquire a guy as an eff-you to a player griping about his contract/potential departing player at the same position.
Elsewhere in the NFL…
· Too many Eagles things happened, so I don’t care.
· Oh hell, let’s laugh at the Racistnames some more. Dan Snyder knows he needs to have some good players to start with for the whole “use free agency to plug up holes” thing to work, right?