The excitement that accompanied receiver DeSean Jackson‘s decision to sign with the Rams has disintegrated into a trade request. Coach Sean McVay confirmed the situation with reporters, while otherwise trying to tiptoe around it.
At one point, McVay was asked whether rookie receiver Tutu Atwell can replace DeSean Jackson in the L.A. offense.
“I think we’ll see,” McVay said. “He hasn’t done anything. DeSean is a potential Hall of Fame player that’s got a resume that speaks for himself. When you look at it, [we] feel really good about the guys that have played a lot of snaps for us. You look at Cooper [Kupp], you look at Robert [Woods], I think Van [Jefferson] is an ascending player, [Tyler] Higbee, our backs. Some other guys might be asked to step up. [I] feel good about that and always want to try and make decisions that I think are in the best interest of our team, and also with consideration to our players. This is one of those. And again, what I would say to you guys is, this is all very quickly developing. So, there’s stuff that we’re recently just kind of working through. And I genuinely do want to be able to let us work through a couple of things over the next couple of days to be able to fully answer your guys’ questions. But what I can say is, as it affects our Houston Texans preparation — which is where my focus and concentration is — [Jackson] will not play in that game.”
Trading Jackson entails significant risk. If Kupp, Woods, and/or Jefferson get injured, the Rams need someone to step up. Jackson could have been that someone.
Jackson presumably wants out because he’s not getting enough opportunities; he has 15 targets and eight catches in seven games. His other option would be to enjoy the ride and wait for the possibility of injuries.
McVay already has a simmering situation with Woods, whose unhappiness with his lack of targets resulted in a spike in touches in Week Five against the Seahawks. Since then, however, the pendulum has swung back to Kupp.
The situation becomes even more pronounced if Jackson goes and the Rams develop a need at the position. Perhaps they’ll balance it out by trading for a tight end, such as Eric Ebron of the Steelers. That would reunite Ebron with quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Either way, it would be better for the Rams if Jackson wanted to stick around. Then again, if he can’t accept his current role with one of the best teams in football, maybe the Rams will be better off if he’s gone.