The release of former Philadelphia Eagles star wideout DeSean Jackson has turned some heads. Among those interested are reportedly the New York Jets, which were quarterbacked by WVU signal caller Geno Smith last season. But Smith and the Jets are better off without Jackson.
The addition of Jackson would surely make sense in New York. Both offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal have experience with Jackson. Mornhinweg was in Philly for a good chunk of Jackson’s career and Lal was with Jackson in college at Cal. Going one step further, Jackson had success with former Eagles quarterback Mike Vick, who just signed with the Jets earlier this off-season. Past that, minus Eric Decker, the Jets don’t have a threat for Smith or Vick.
In those regards, yes, Jackson makes sense. But this move isn’t about making sense on paper. You have to look further than that.
Jackson was reportedly released for off-the-field distractions and his association, in whatever capacity, with a street gang in Los Angeles. Some would say, why wait this long if he was supposedly associated with these guys back when he was drafted? Well, new coaches have been implemented and, of course, the Aaron Hernandez effect has coaches worried, I’m sure.
The Eagles were shopping Jackson after they re-signed Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper. If the Eagles, a team that is still looking to get over the hump, is willing to let their No. 1 receiver, who is coming off of a career year, walk after they couldn’t trade him, there has to be something else past off-the-field issues. Jackson has a history of having a temper, which is sometimes not a bad thing, and has also had his work ethic questioned. But that, mixed with some distractions, can tear a locker room apart. And for a coach like Chip Kelly, who is trying to make a name for himself in the NFL, you don’t want that.
And Smith or the Jets shouldn’t either.
Assuming that he wins the starting quarterback job over Vick, Smith will be in control of locker room morale and his offense on the field. He’s no longer a rookie and he’ll be expected to lead by example on and off the field. If Rex Ryan and the upper management bring in a receiver like Jackson to mesh with Smith, that just doesn’t seem like it will work.
Of course, it’s happened before. Look in Carolina. Steve Smith and Cam Newton bonded and had success but look now. The Panthers all-time leading receiver is gone because of an executive decision and some have even said it was because Smith was a distraction in the locker room.
But for the Jets, who have had their share of media issues, the last thing they need is a headcase for the media to jump on. They have Decker and some young guys. Go out in the draft and get another receiver who can come in and start day one. But, whatever you do, Jets, stay away from DeSean Jackson.