Among surprises, this absence ranked up there with the sun rising in the East or a Kardashian selfie. When the Redskins added the playmaking wide receiver before the 2014 season after the Philadelphia Eagles cut bait for reasons including missing these kind of events, they knew what they were getting: One of the NFL's best deep threats and a guy who does his own thing.
That thing, whatever it may, doesn't always line up with when the Redskins do their off-season practice thing. Jackson showed for a bit during unofficial training sessions earlier in the month. For Tuesday and Wednesday's formal -- though not mandatory -- practices, not so much. Good bet Thursday's the same.
Two more sets of OTA follow over the next two weeks. Will Jackson show? Who knows, but don't hold your breath.
Does it matter for the 2016 season? Probably not assuming he puts in the physical training elsewhere. These practices are less about the playbook for the veterans.
Does it matter at all?
For Jackson's wallet, oh yeah. Factor in the previous offseason work he missed and Jackson will miss out on a $500,000 workout bonus. If he so casually blew this bonus off, one can only assume he never had interest in cashing in.
For perception, well, it's not a good look. Jackson missed most of training camp last year and the first seven games of the 2015 season with a hamstring injury. Did absences from offseason workouts cause the injury? One can never say for sure, but what happened, happened. Part of what happened involved career-lows in receptions and yards.
Does a no-show Jackson matter for the Redskins? For now, not so much, or at least that's the tone they've set. Again, the no-show wasn't a surprise.
Also, these practices, not mandatory.That's an important point and one Jay Gruden emphasized following practice.
"Yeah you know he has been here, he has popped in had a cup of coffee," the head coach cracked during his press conference. "Last time I looked up the word voluntarily that is his [choice] and he has been in the league nine years I believe it is. He knows what type of shape he has to come in. Obviously, last year he pulled his hamstring and some people say it was because he was out of shape but he wasn’t really.
"He will be ready to go and probably show up next week or it could be whenever."
Could be whenever is a good line fro Gruden. Handling the situation with humor over rage works best in this case.
Prepping for life without Jackson does as well.
His contract, a 3-year, $24 million deal, ends at the end of this coming season. The Redskins used their first round pick on receiver Josh Doctson, though it's thought the lengthy WR is more of a Pierre Garcon replacement plan.
As for Jackson, don't be shocked if there isn't another contract with Washington.
This isn't about talent. Jackson has the goods to keep opposing defenses up at nights. This is about building a strong culture in Ashburn, a claim general manager Scot McCloughan has made many times.
Here's what the GM said in his first press conference following the 2016 NFL Draft.
"The one thing that I really, really respect about the guys we took? Tough guys. Tough guys that are going to battle. Each day they’re going to come out here on the practice field and battle. And that’s what I want. But also like I said, I want high character. I want them to understand, ‘Listen, it’s not about me, it’s about us.’ And that’s what we’re trying to build here culture-wise."
This week the Redskins worked on building up their muscle memory and tackling the playbook without their home run threat.
"DeSean will get here," quarterback Kirk Cousins said. "He was here the last few weeks and was able to work with us, and he knows what’s best for him and what he’s got to do to be ready this fall. And I’m excited for whenever he does get here and I expect to get a lot of work in."
Would McCloughan let Jackson, who turns 30 in December, walk if he's coming off a Pro Bowl season? That seems unlikely.
But that might be what it takes to stay. That's not even considering another injury. Imagine the conversations then. When it comes to living up to the current contract and playing for another, it's all up to Jackson now. He's got plenty of moves on the field, but little wiggle room in the negotiating room for now.
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