DeSean Jackson is straddling the fence between retirement and playing again. The football doesn’t appear to be in his court, so to speak. Not yet.
Who’s to say, though, that if he stays ready, he can’t end up like Linval Joseph or Ndamukong Suh, the two defensive tackles signed off the street last November?
Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman brought in the two aging DTs when Marlon Tuipulotu and Jordan Davis were sidelined and the Eagles’ run defense took on water in their first loss of the season in Week 10 against the Washington Commanders.
The Eagles could ultimately have a need for Jackson, should something drastically bad happen to their receiving corps. It’s a thin group after A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. After drafting seven receivers from 2017-2021, the Jalen Hurts-led Eagles haven’t selected one in the past two drafts.
They signed Britain Covey as a free agent last year and the Utah product caught on as a punt returner. They also dipped into the free agent market, bringing in Zach Pascal, who spent one year with the Eagles and then left in free agency this offseason for the Arizona Cardinals. Devon Allen also spent all of last season on the practice squad as an undrafted free agent.
Still, after Brown and Smith, it’s Quez Watkins and another foray into free agency, Olamide Zaccheaus, who, like Pascal last year, signed a one-year contract. Covey is back and maybe Allen takes another step toward the 53-man roster.
Others on the roster include Charleston Rambo, who was signed after a tryout during rookie camp, Greg Ward, Tyrie Cleveland, Jadon Haselwood, and Joseph Ngata.
None are Jackson, and if he’s needed, and another team hasn’t already nabbed him, he would no doubt welcome a return to the team that drafted him in the second round back in 2008. Now 36, another stint with the Eagles would be his third.
His first time around was a home run, lasting six seasons and surpassing 1,000 yards receiving in three of those seasons while making three Pro Bowls and missing just 10 games.
His return in 2019, at age 33, didn’t go nearly as well, making controversial antisemitic remarks off the field and, on the field, injuries limiting him to just eight games in two seasons.
On a recent episode of the “I Am Athlete” podcast, Jackson said that he would like to eventually retire as an Eagle.
“That was one of the best places I’ve been and I had a lot of success there,” he said. “Just something about Philadelphia, that Eagle green sits different with me. … So at any given time if one of these teams wanna call about Week 17, Week 18 right before playoffs and hit me up for a playoff run, I’ll be here.”
The Eagles may not even want to wait that long, given Jackson’s one-time ability to return punts.
Whether or not he still has the ability or if Covey is better in the long-term, especially with a second year on the job, would remain to be seen. The Jackson option, though, is, at minimum, intriguing.