|After getting paid, Jackson admits that 'now I'm giving it my all.' (Getty Images)|
By any measure, Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson had a disappointing 2011 season. Speculation that he was consumed by his desire for a new contract was confirmed by … Jackson who told ESPN's Lisa Salters that "I let (my contract situation) get to me, even though I tried not to let it. I was trying to protect myself from getting hurt -- now I'm just giving it all."
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Jackson went from one of the league's most dynamic players in 2010 to one of its most enigmatic a year later. His receptions increased from 47 to 58 but receiving yards, yards per catch, touchdowns, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns all declined. It got so bad that Jackson was inactive after missing a team meeting, but despite the misstep, a week later, Jackson told NFL Network's Michael Irvin that he deserved to be paid like one of NFL's best wideouts.
"I think right in that range," he said in November 2011. "Maybe top-5 in the NFL. ...My playmaking skills and abilities, my punt returns, and the ability to get the ball and score on any play. I mean, Fitzgerald, he's a special receiver -- don't get me wrong -- but he doesn't play special teams so that adds an extra edge to it."
It seemed preposterous at the time but the Eagles franchised Jackson in March and promptly signed him to a five-year, $48 million deal.
Not surprisingly, Jackson said at the time he was "happy to finally get the contract. I felt with what I had done for the team, I deserved it."
But coach Andy Reid sounded similar thrilled too.
"We are thrilled to be able to keep one of the NFL's top playmakers in Philadelphia,” he said. “DeSean is a game breaker, he has the speed and ability to score from anywhere on the field, and he has proven himself to be a big threat for our offense. Signing our own players was a big priority for us this offseason and DeSean was certainly high on our list. We are very excited about his future as an Eagle."
If Jackson returns to his 2010 form, we're all hailing the move. If instead Jackson has another uninspiring season, it'll be a recurring storyline, especially if the Eagles struggle like they did a year ago.
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