Continuing to rectify the errors of the Chip Kelly era, the Eagles brought back DeSean Jackson via trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday.
Eagles send a 6th-rd pick in 2019 to Tampa and get back a 7th in 2020 along with WR DeSean Jackson, per @mortreport. Jackson gets $13 million guaranteed on a restructure.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2019
After a 2013 season where he set career highs in targets, receptions, and receiving yards while tying his career high in touchdowns, Jackson was released by Kelly in the 2014 offseason for knowing people who were in gangs. In the succeeding five years, Jackson has posted a couple more 1,000 yard seasons, led the league in yards per reception three times (including last season), and been involved in zero gang fights.
Tampa Bay Impact
With DeSean Jackson in Philadelphia and Adam Humphries signing with the Titans it’s go-time for Chris Godwin. Humphries was second in targets with 105 and Jackson was fourth with 74. That’s 179 vacated targets between just those two players. With Bruce Arians in Tampa Bay, there’s no reason to expect the Buccaneers to suddenly stop throwing the ball all over the field. Tampa Bay has attempted over 600 passes in each of the last two seasons, while Arians led offenses have been top-six in pass attempts three- out of his last six-seasons coaching.
Godwin should easily top last season’s 5.9 targets per game when he finished as the WR36 scoring 11.4 fantasy points per game. In six games without Jackson in the lineup, Godwin has averaged 14.95 points per game vs. his 7.52 per games with Jackson playing. With his college production profile and his physical abilities (95th percentile SPARQ-x score), all Godwin needed to fully breakout was an opportunity. Look for Godwin to put up WR2 numbers and if you already own him kudos to you.
Godwin has the most to gain, but he already saw 95 targets last season, good enough for third most of Tampa’s pass catchers. Another player you hopefully have rostered is Justin Watson. Watson dominated in college, albeit at the FCS level, and is a superb athlete. Even with Godwin seeing an expected bump next year there should be more than enough targets for Watson to make a name for himself. It wouldn’t shock me at all if Watson were able to perform to WR3 levels for the season while sprinkling in a few boom weeks. Predicting Jameis Winston supporting a WR1 in Mike Evans, a WR2 in Chris Godwin and making Justin Watson fantasy relevant may seem bold, but it’s not. Arians loves pass-first offenses, and the Bucs defense has been terrible for a while now. Last season they ranked 2nd worst in points allowed after giving up the ninth-most points in 2017.
Since leaving the Eagles, Jackson has had an up-and-down career. As already noted he’s had two 1,000 yard seasons, but he also had three seasons with fewer than 775 receiving yards. His tenure in Tampa Bay was especially disappointing since it was believed that he would be the perfect weapon for Jameis Winston. Instead, as we can see using RotoViz’s Game Splits App, Jackson fared significantly better when Winston wasn’t his quarterback.
Jackson has always been a boom/bust type of player based on his skill-set, but that was even more pronounced with the Buccanneers. Over his last two seasons (26 games) Jackson has had two WR1 weeks, six WR2 weeks and five WR3 weeks. In case you don’t feel like doing the math that means he finished as a WR4 or worse in the other 13 weeks. Jackson will be below Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery in the target hierarchy so you shouldn’t expect him to see much if any of an increase in the six targets a game he averaged in Tampa Bay. He’s a fine bottom-of-the-roster player who likely will be more useful in real football than in fantasy.
He is just two seasons removed from a 1,005 yard receiving season and could be in line for a WR2 season if Jeffery or Ertz missed any significant amount of time. With rookie drafts ready to start up after the NFL Draft it may be a good time to kick the tires with the Jackson owner in your league. Sending a second round (late) rookie pick out to acquire Jackson isn’t the worst idea for a contending roster.
Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery have nothing to fear with the addition of Jackson to the roster. To the contrary, the addition of Jackson should open up the middle of the field due to Jackson taking a safety with him on deep routes. The Eagles have 100 vacated targets from last season’s roster and conceivably end up with even more than that.
Nelson Agholor will play on his fifth-year option with a $9.4 million cap hit. The Eagles could save themselves all $9.4 million with no dead cap hit if he’s cut before 4 p.m. Wednesday. The Eagles were around $17 million under the cap before signing Malik Jackson to a three year, $30 million contract Monday. Jackson restructured his contract and won’t count as a $10 million hit, but the exact details of his three $27 million contract are still pending. Agholor has had his moments in Philadelphia, but it’s hard to ignore that the Eagles traded for Golden Tate last season, essentially trying to replace him in-season. Even if the Eagles don’t cut Agholor, he is a secondary option and will be hurt by the addition of another secondary option in the passing attack.
The biggest beneficiary of the addition of Jackson is Carson Wentz. This will be the first time Wentz will be under center with a legitimate burner on offense. Jackson has averaged 17.74 yards per reception since he departed Philadelphia while the Eagles have attempted to fill the deep threat role with Mike Wallace, Mack Hollins, Torrey Smith, and Bryce Treggs. To say the Eagles have missed having a receiver that can consistently take the top off a defense would be an understatement.
Jackson’s 18.9 yards per reception last year was almost a full six-yards more than Alshon Jeffery‘s 13.0 which lead the Eagles (excluding receivers with less than 30 targets). Though Wentz ranked 11th last year with 7.0 yards per attempt, he averaged just four attempts per game of passes 20 yards or beyond, ranking 26th in the league. Expect that number to increase in 2019. Not only that but as illustrated beautifully in the Tweet below from Warren Sharp Wentz matches up exceedingly well with the routes that Jackson runs well. Just note the chart on the right of the Tweet showing the Success Rates for specific routes.
Carson Wentz excels throwing the routes that DeSean Jackson runs best. This is an extremely underrated acquisition. pic.twitter.com/VYnJkSmgGh
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) March 11, 2019
Wentz has seen his shine quickly wear off in dynasty leagues. This time last year he was being talked about as one of the top three QBs in dynasty leagues, and today he falls closer to the QB10 range. If you exclude one drafter who selected him at 57 overall (yes it was me) in a February mock draft, Wentz would end up around the QB10 as opposed to the QB6 in DFFs most recent ADP. The addition of Jackson will help Wentz reclaim his rightful place among the top three dynasty quarterbacks.