Free Agency: Eagles Lockup Jackson

DeSean Jackson is a playmaker, there's no doubt about that. The Eagles konw this and wanted Jackson making plays for them for years to come. Philadelphia Franchised Jackson to buy more time so they could lock him up with a long term deal.

Eagles lock up Jackson long-term
The Sports Xchange

 Last summer, the Eagles were the talk of free agency, going on an aggressive shopping spree that landed them many of the best players on the market, including cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, defensive end Jason Babin and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins.

   This year, not so much.

   They have spent the first few days of free agency taking care of their own players, signing offensive tackle Todd Herremans and defensive end Trent Cole, who both had two years left on their current deals, to contract extensions, and then signing wide receiver DeSean Jackson to a five-year, $47 million deal.

   The Eagles had put the franchise tag on Jackson, a two-time Pro Bowler, last month. His willingness to sign a long-term deal that includes just $15 million in guaranteed money, came as a fairly big surprise and fueled reports that he had cash-flow problems. His new deal includes a $10 million signing bonus that he will receive immediately. If he had signed the $9.5 million franchise tender, he wouldn't have received a dime until September.

   "I'm happy with the deal that I've gotten," Jackson insisted. "If I wasn't happy with it I wouldn't have signed it. I'm very happy with it, and I felt that I got my worth."

   Over the last two years, Jackson has continually said he feels he's one of the league's best receivers and deserved to be paid accordingly. Yet his $15 million in guaranteed money is considerably less than several other free-agent wide receivers got this week. Hell, it's only $1 million more than the San Diego Chargers gave Robert Meachem and the Jacksonville Jaguars gave Laurent Robinson.

   "We have high expectations for DeSean," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said. "We always have. We think he's a great player. That's why we gave him this contract. And we expect to see that this year."

   Jackson is coming off a disappointing season in which he caught just four touchdown passes and spent most of the year sulking over his inability to get a new contract. He has admitted his contract situation affected his performance. Now, he's got no more excuses.

   "I have to take the bar to another level," he said. "I want to shoot for the Hall of Fame and I want to shoot for the Super Bowl. I'm a Pro Bowl wide receiver, but I want to shoot for beyond that. I'm not satisfied with that.

   "I feel I was born for that stage with Sunday night lights, big games. Those are the games I arrive in. I just feel that my destiny with the Eagles is very bright and I'm still happy that I have five bright years to look forward to. In one of those years, I'm going to guarantee a Super Bowl."

   The Cole and Herremans extensions and the signing of Jackson have increased an already pretty good cap situation for the Eagles. They have plenty of room to go out and address their two biggest positional needs - middle linebacker and safety. They also have space to do a new deal for All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy, whose contract expires after the 2012 season.

   "We're looking at it in terms of the next couple of years as far as the cap situation that we have," Roseman said. "We're trying to have some flexibility now and in the future. LeSean's a great player and we'd like to have him in Philadelphia for a long time."

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