Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He has never held out, despite being grossly underpaid.
That may be changing.
A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that Jackson is considering his options. And one of those options would be not showing up for camp.
Quarterback Mike Vick suggested earlier today that trouble could be coming. “Hopefully, he’ll be here tomorrow,” Vick told reporters, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “DeSean just has some things to think about and some decisions to make that only himself can make.”
(That’s dangerous ground for Vick to tread. Several years ago, Packers quarterback Brett Favre strong-armed receiver Javon Walker into abandoning plans to hold out. Walker tore an ACL in Week One, and he was never quite the same ever again.)
Like Titans running back Chris Johnson, Jackson deserves a new deal. Unlike Johnson, holding out past late August will hurt Jackson’s shot at free agency. Since DeSean is entering his fourth NFL season and since his rookie deal covers only four years, he needs to get credit for an accrued season in order to become eligible for unrestricted free agency in March. Otherwise, he’ll be a restricted free agent, assuming he shows up by Week 10 to get credit for the final year of his contract. (Yeah, it gets confusing. It’s still better than talking about the lockout.)
Agent Drew Rosenhaus recently trumpeted the fact that he hasn’t had a client hold out of camp in years. Even receiver Terrell Owens, who had an ugly spat with the Eagles six years ago, never actually held out. It could all be changing now, as Rosenhaus tries to get Jackson a long-term deal without forcing the undersized player to make it through another NFL season.
And even if Jackson shows up for camp, don’t assume he will be a happy camper. Last year, he reportedly was preoccupied with his contract to the point that it became a distraction for him.
If it becomes a distraction for the team, it could feel like 2005 all over again.