By now NFL fans all know of the reports surrounding DeSean Jackson, his alleged relationships with gang members and the Philadelphia Eagles' apparent dissatisfaction with that, which reportedly factored into the decision to cut him. Jackson says he has never been part of a gang, his record is fairly clean off the field and he did plenty of charity work in Philadelphia. It will be up to teams to sort out what's true and false when it comes to Jackson off the field.
But, obviously, Jackson is a hot commodity. He's 27, coming off a great season and one of few receivers whose speed and deep play-making ability can consistently make an NFL defense look bad. He's a Pro Bowl talent and because the Eagles cut him Friday, a team doesn't need to trade a draft pick to acquire him.
Who are the most likely candidates to land Jackson and make perhaps the last huge offseason splash before the draft? Let's take a look:
Jets: Of course, the Jets are on this list, because the Jets always show up on these lists. But this actually makes sense. New York was already sniffing around Jackson when the Eagles put him on the trade block. Even though it signed Eric Decker, it could still use another big-time receiver. All that said, the New York Daily News reported Jets general manager John Idzik did not reach out to Jackson's representatives on Friday. Still, never count the Jets out when it comes to a headline-grabbing move.
Panthers: Coach Ron Rivera said the team would be interested, but then the Charlotte Observer quickly shot that down with a report citing team sources that the Panthers would not want Jackson. But there is an extreme need for receivers in Carolina, and any team with Jerricho Cotchery and Tiquan Underwood as its top two threats (poor, poor Cam Newton) can't ignore someone like Jackson.
Chiefs: Generally, the connect the dots game between a coach and his former player is off base, but maybe this one isn't. Chiefs coach Andy Reid knows what Jackson can do from their time in Philadelphia, and the Chiefs could use him. The Kansas City Star reported the Chiefs do have an interest in Jackson, and considering how well Reid knows him, that might show Jackson isn't too difficult to work with after all.
Raiders: This would be such an old-school Raiders move, signing a lightning fast vertical threat cast off by another team. And c'mon, we know the Raiders still have a ton of money. Oakland has signed a lot of guys but haven't made many moves that will impact the team's long-term rebuilding. Jackson would be a good piece for now and the future.
Rams: The Rams have shown willingness to take on players whose off-field issues have drawn red flags with other teams, and they could use a receiver like Jackson. Imagine the fun offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer could have with Jackson and Tavon Austin?
Seahawks and 49ers: Let's just lump them both in together since the NFC West rivals' battle has extended to the offseason. Seattle needs receivers in a bad way, and the 49ers would be scary with a deep threat like Jackson on the outside. Let's face it, if Jackson wanted to sign a one-year deal with anyone and hit the market again next year, doing so with either of these Super Bowl contenders and their fantastic young quarterbacks would be a wise decision. And grabbing a player of Jackson's caliber might vault one of the NFC West powers ahead of the other.
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