Redskins guarantee $16 million of Jackson's deal

DeSean Jackson, running after a catch in 2011 against the Redskins, said it was time to move on.
DeSean Jackson, running after a catch in 2011 against the Redskins, said it was time to move on. (RON CORTES / Staff)
Posted: April 04, 2014

There was no introductory news conference for DeSean Jackson in Washington.

At 12:55 p.m. Wednesday, about 12 hours after they agreed to a three-year contract, the Redskins posted a photo of Jackson on Twitter in team garb as he officially signed his deal.

The Redskins have taken a similarly muted approach after acquiring other free agents this offseason. But getting one of the NFL's most dynamic playmakers, a castoff from a division rival, would seem to warrant a trumpet call.

Jackson signed for $24 million overall - $16 million of which will be guaranteed over the first two years.

He earned $18 million during his last two seasons with the Eagles, but the remaining three years of his contract were not guaranteed. He received a $5 million signing bonus from the Redskins.

Jackson, 27, was released by the Eagles on Friday less than an hour after NJ.com posted a story about his ties to alleged gang members. The controversial wide receiver hit free agency under a cloud of suspicion about his off-the-field dealings.

And because the Eagles have not spoken since the release - other than to issue a perfunctory 25-word statement - there has not been much clarity on why they would part with a Pro Bowl receiver in the prime of his career.

Jackson had his opportunity to shed light on the situation, but during a 14-minute conference call in which only Washington-area reporters were permitted to ask questions, he did not provide much detail about the end of his six-year run in Philadelphia.

"It was a humbling experience for myself and me being at the peak of my career and doing some great things in this league," Jackson said of his release. "At the same time, I feel moving forward is the best thing for me."

Jackson was not asked why he thought coach Chip Kelly and the Eagles had cut him without any public explanation. Many have offered their opinions on why it happened:

Jackson was a bad teammate.

The Eagles thought he wasn't worth his $10.25 million salary.

Jackson did not buy in to Kelly's program.

Kelly believes his offense can thrive without a bona fide superstar receiver.

Jackson is too small and isn't a good downfield blocker.

The Eagles had tired of Jackson's lifestyle and his relationships with reputed gang members.

There's a smoking gun or another shoe to drop that will definitively explain the team's decision.

Asked later about his release during a radio interview with ESPN 980 in Washington, Jackson said: "At the end of the day, I understand, I realize this is a business."

Jackson was not asked directly about his relationship with Kelly, but he did compliment his former coach on his first season in the NFL, saying, "Chip came in and he did a great job. He had a great year."

Although many of his ex-teammates gave him lukewarm endorsements publicly and some privately applauded his exit, Jackson said he didn't believe his locker room behavior ever caused a problem.

"I feel the people that really know me know what type of player I am," he said. "They respect me and know that I'm a team guy. I just go out there and put it on the line."

Jackson said that Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III called him on the day he was released and lobbied for him to come to Washington. He also cited cornerback DeAngelo Hall, a former on-field antagonist, as another primary recruiter.

It was unclear how many other teams were interested, but Jackson had no other visits lined up. He flew from Los Angeles to Washington on Monday night and spent Tuesday at Redskins Park before he left without a contract. Negotiations with his agent dragged into the evening until a deal was struck before midnight.

Despite the negative perception, the gang rumors, and the light market, Jackson received $1 million more guaranteed than he did when he signed a five-year contract with the Eagles in 2012, and he is set up to earn another contract just after he turns 30.

He denied that he was ever a member of a gang in a statement upon his release and said Wednesday that "eventually I think people will really understand and see the real DeSean Jackson and not the painted picture that was put out on me."

At the conclusion of the conference  call, Jackson gave a final statement in which he said he wanted "to give everybody a little insight about myself." He mentioned being raised in Los Angeles, his father's death from pancreatic cancer, his foundation, and his speaking out against bullying.

"I want everybody to know I will be for them first in the community," Jackson said.

Redskins fans will take a repeat of his 2013 performance - 82 catches for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns. They'll also take a few victories over their NFC East adversaries.

"Definitely I'll be very excited, stoked to play the Eagles," Jackson said during his radio interview. "Who wouldn't be after everything that went down and happened the way it did?"


jmclane@phillynews.com

@Jeff_McLane

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