When players sign with new teams as free agents, there is often a moment when they are asked why they opted to join up with the club.
The reasons cited can run the gamut from teammates to coaches to scheme, but those decisions usually have money as a motivating factor. Football players have a limited window to earn big money and free agency at a prime age is a good way to maximize those earnings, something wide receiver DeSean Jackson learned this offseason.
Jackson signed a three-year deal with the Buccaneers worth up to $33.5 million, which offensive coordinator Todd Monken says is the reason why Jackson is in Tampa. And he says he’s made it clear to Jackson what the team expects for their money.
“I’ve told him that we have paid you a hell of a lot of money to be a damn good player,” Monken said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “We’re not paying you a lot of money, this is a contract where we’re paying you for what you’ve done for us . . . we’re not paying like [Derek] Jeter the last three years . . . we don’t have any old street cred that we’re paying you. No. We need you to be a great player now. Okay? That’s why we gave you the money. You came here because of the money. Don’t give me all that bull about you came here because of the weather and Jameis. No. You came here because we paid you the most. You need to play like that. He gets that. He’s smart enough to understand that.”
On paper, pairing Jackson with Mike Evans was a major upgrade even before the Bucs added tight end O.J. Howard in the first round of the draft. The abilities of the three men and the different ways they manifest on the field look like a recipe for offensive success. That comes at a price, but it’s one the team will be happy to pay if the results are as expected.