When it comes to veteran receivers changing teams, the ability of the player to make a big impact in his first year with a new team depends on a lot of factors. From scheme to quarterback to the presence of other weapons, many variables will influence whether the player does better or worse with his new team.
The Redskins, by signing DeSean Jackson five days after he was cut by the Eagles, surely are hoping that the player will duplicate or build upon a career-best season of 1,332 receiving yards in 2013. Overlooked in that assessment is the fact that Pierre Garςon did even better in 2013, with 1,346 receiving yards. That gives the Redskins a potent one-two punch — assuming they can distribute the ball to both players on a sufficient basis.
If Jackson has a strong first season in Washington, he’ll be joining a fairly short list of big-name wideouts who changed teams and made a big impact right away.
It happened nine years ago in Washington, when Santana Moss arrived via the trade that sent Laveranues Coles back to the Jets. Moss gained 1,483 receiving yards in 2005.
It also happened exactly 20 years ago in Washington, when Henry Ellard joined the Redskins after a strong career with the Rams. Ellard generated 1,397 in 1994, his first season with the Redskins after 11 with the Rams.
The player to generate the most receiving yardage after changing teams was Brandon Marshall. In 2012, his first year after being traded from Miami to Chicago, Marshall accounted for 1,508 receiving yards with the Bears.
Other receivers to make a big impact in the first season with a new team include Randy Moss (1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns with the Patriots in 2007), Vincent Jackson (1,384 yards with Tampa in 2012), Anquan Boldin (1,179 yards with the 49ers in 2013), Terrell Owens (1,200 in 2004 with the Eagles and 1,180 in 2006 with the Cowboys), Plaxico Burress (1,214 yards with the Giants in 2005), Wes Welker (1,175 yards with the Patriots in 2007), and Jerry Rice (1,139 yards with the Raiders at age 39).
For Jackson, the value will come not only from his stats but also from his ability to stretch the field and draw safeties deep, opening running lanes for Alfred Morris and Robert Griffin III and underneath routes for Garςon and Andre Roberts.
Regardless of how it turns out for Washington, their latest former Eagles arrives for no draft-pick compensation, already making the move much better than the failed trade for Donovan McNabb from four years ago.