When Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson arrived in Philly on Sunday night, it wasn’t because he had a craving for a cheesesteak.
As expected, Jackson has ended his holdout. (We’ve confirmed the numerous reports that Jackson has indeed reported for work.)
Jackson had no choice, if he wants to become an unrestricted free agent in March 2012, or if he wants the leverage in long-term contract talks that comes from being poised to hit the open market. If he failed to show by Tuesday, he would not have earned a fourth year of service, and at best he would have been a restricted free agent next year.
He arrives at a time when starting receiver Jeremy Maclin remains out with a mysterious illness.
Jackson, who is in the final year of a slotted rookie deal that will pay him a base salary of $600,000, wants a long-term contract due in part to the fact that his size and concussion history increase the risk of trying to get through one more season unscathed. His situation is far different from the T.O. saga of 2005, given that Owens wanted to rip up a veteran deal only one year after signing it.
Jackson is a victim of a system that pays young players based on when they are drafted, with no adjustment for what they achieve on the field, unless and until the team that drafted them decides to give them a new deal. He wants to fix that before he potentially becomes the victim of the consequences of multiple blows to the head.