Six days ago, the Eagles did what they’d done 24 years earlier, cutting the team’s best receiver and consciously risking the possibility he’ll play even better elsewhere.
In 2014, it was DeSean Jackson, who signed with the Redskins. In 1990, it was Cris Carter, who also would have landed in the NFC East (with the Giants) if the Vikings didn’t have waiver priority. (Carter didn’t instantly become a free agent because he had fewer than four years in the NFL.)
Carter, who went on to become a Hall of Famer with the Vikings, took to Twitter on Wednesday to encourage Jackson. “Praying this is the 2nd biggest mistake Eagles made in their history by cutting their best WR,” Carter said.
And because Twitter is, you know, Twitter, Carter opened himself up to all sorts of criticism from Internet tough guys who called him names like “asshole” and “crackhead” for seemingly reversing course on his prior expressions of gratitude to the team for giving him a wake-up call by cutting. But Carter believes the franchise gave him a wake-up call he didn’t really need.
“[T]ruth is,” he said in a separate tweet, “that when I left Philly I had been clean from Cocaine/alcohol for 6 months. They didn’t believe I would stay clean.”
If that’s the truth, former Eagles coach Buddy Ryan nevertheless deserves credit for offering up an excuse that made him look bad (i.e., “all he does is catch touchdowns”) and not one that made Carter look bad (e.g., “he’s a drunk and a drug addict”). It’s a sharp contrast to the manner in which the Eagles handled Jackson, opting for silence (on the record, at least) in the face of all sorts of vague and irresponsible rumors about Jackson’s off-field connections.
Regardless, the Eagles of 2014 now have to deal with the receiver they cut twice per year, for as long as he’s a member of the Redskins. And if Jackson produces like Carter did, he could be a member of the Redskins for a long time.