Buccaneers offensive coordinator and receivers coach Todd Monken should be feeling downright giddy right about now, because he has some new toys to play with. In the draft, the Buccaneers used their first-round pick on tight end O.J. Howard. More importantly, they went out and signed DeSean Jackson to a three-year contract worth $20 million guaranteed, per the Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson.
On Thursday, Monken sent a message for Jackson: He knows that Jackson didn't come down to Tampa Bay for the weather or Jameis Winston. He knows Jackson chose the Buccaneers purely for financial reasons, so he needs Jackson to live up to that money.
"How can we get DeSean Jackson up to playing at a really high level? Not that he's still not capable of it, but how do we get him to play at why we paid him?'' Monken said, per the Tampa Bay Times. "I've told him that, 'We have paid you a hell of a lot of money to be a damn good player. We're not paying you a lot of money, this is a contract where we're paying you for what you've done for us…we're not paying like (Derek) Jeter the last three years…we don't have any old street cred that we're paying you. No. We need you to be a great player now. Okay? That's why we gave you the money.
"'You came here because of the money. Don't give me all that bull about you came here because of the weather and Jameis. No. You came here because we paid you the most. You need to play like that.' He gets that. He's smart enough to understand that."
That probably shouldn't be an issue. Jackson's been a productive player for most of his career. A year ago, he caught 56 passes for 1,005 yards and four touchdowns. Since entering the league in 2008, Jackson's averaged roughly 980 receiving yards and five touchdowns per season. He averages 17.7 yards per catch, which leads the league in that span among all receivers with at least 100 receptions. Barring injuries, there's no reason to think he'll fall short of expectations with the Buccaneers, especially considering he's playing alongside a defensive-back magnet in Mike Evans.
Well, I guess there is one reason he could fall short, and that reason is Winston, who to this point in his career has been wildly inconsistent.
There's this myth that because Winston has a big arm, he'll form an unstoppable combination with Jackson. But just because Winston has a big arm doesn't mean he has an accurate one. According to Pro Football Focus, Winston ranked 20th in accuracy percentage on passes thrown at least 20 yards downfield. He ranked 21st in passer rating on such throws. Alex Smith, who is allergic to deep passes, finished above Winston in both categories.
If Winston can't improve his numbers with both Evans and Jackson as his primary targets, it might be time to worry about his development.