When it comes to the Eagles’ decision to dump receiver DeSean Jackson, no members of the team have publicly supported their former teammate.
One very important member of the team has bucked the trend.
“It’s a surprise for sure,” running back LeSean McCoy said Saturday, via Sheil Kapadia of PhillyMag.com. “I think anybody that tells you that they’re happy about it, I don’t know how honest that would be. It was a surprise. You heard so much, you didn’t really know. Not playing with him this year is gonna definitely be different. And playing against him is really gonna be different. I just imagine all the times we used to . . . knowing defensive teams are gonna try to defend us and different things like that, and now we’ve gotta defend against him, so it’s gonna be a little different.”
McCoy also undermined reports of friction between Jackson and coach Chip Kelly.
“I’ve never seen that,” McCoy said. “I’ve never seen them two really get into it. Coach Kelly, the good thing I will say about him is he’s understanding. So if there’s ever an issue or problem, he seems to always work it out.”
And McCoy disputed the idea that Jackson didn’t connect with teammates.
“I’m his teammate, or I was his teammate, and we connected very well off the field,” McCoy said. “I think this game, everybody’s professionals. There’s guys that have kids, there’s guys that are a little older. DeSean doesn’t have any kids so small things on a team that you really notice. And off the field, I’ve bonded with DeSean.”
McCoy nevertheless has adjusted to the move, and he assumes Jackson has, too.
“We gotta live on, we gotta play them guys,” McCoy said. “As much as I’m a friend, I can’t wait to go out there and beat on the Redskins, so it’s a mutual feeling. And I’m sure when he comes up to Philly, he wants to have a great game. So we’ll still be friends. We’ll still text and talk all the time — after the game, probably not before the game. But we’ll still be friends. Plus he got $16 million guaranteed. He’s not happy?”
McCoy seems to be happy with the Eagles, and the Eagles seem to be happy with him. But Jackson’s experience shows everyone in the locker room that things can change.
“You know that nobody’s safe in this game as far as being here forever,” McCoy said. “But then you feel like alright well I’ve established myself so much, I did so much. [But] anybody can go. So I think it just makes you straighten up a little bit more. Maybe things that you think that you can get away with, you can’t. And that’s how it is.”
Here’s how it is for McCoy. He plays running back, a position that continues to have less and less value to NFL teams, with each passing year. He’s due to earn a base salary of $7.65 million in 2014. It spikes to $9.75 million, with a cap number of $11.95 million, in 2015.
For a running back. Where the top of the veteran market generated $3.5 million per year in 2014. Where Chris Johnson struggles to get half of the $8 million he was due to earn in Tennessee this season.
In other words, LeSean could be next year’s DeSean.