DeSean Jackson’s second stint with the Eagles has come to an end.
The team announced its decision to release the 34-year-old wide receiver Friday, a move that was widely expected because of the Eagles’ salary-cap conundrum combined with Jackson’s decline.
Jackson broke the news of his release on an Instagram post a few hours before the official release. The post read, “Looking forward to my next chapter,” and he followed up with a post that said, “the best deep threat in NFL history! Coming to a city near you!”
Even if Jackson’s career ends elsewhere, he will go down as one of the best receivers in Eagles history. The Los Angeles native has spent eight years with the team, and he’s currently third all-time in Eagles history in career receiving yards with 6,512, behind only Harold Carmichael and Pete Retzlaff.
He spent the first six seasons of his career with the Eagles before getting cut after the 2013 season because of a clash with former coach Chip Kelly. He returned in 2018 via trade from Tampa Bay and promptly signed a three-year, $27 million contract extension, but injuries marred his reunion tour with the Birds. He missed 14 games in 2019 with an abdomen injury that he aggravated and needed to have surgically repaired. Last season, he played just five games because of a couple of lower-body injuries. In total, Jackson missed 25 of 33 possible games in the last two years.
When he did play, Jackson proved to still demand the respect of opposing defenses. In his first game back with the team in 2019, he had eight catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns against Washington. Against Dallas in Week 16 of the 2020 season, he had an 81-yard touchdown catch in what likely was his last game as an Eagle.
According to overthecap.com, the Eagles will save about $4.8 million against the cap by releasing Jackson, but will also add to their already absurd dead cap total by $5.8 million. This comes one day after the team incurred a record-setting $33.8 million in dead cap charge by trading Carson Wentz. There are still releases coming, though, as the team is still about $42 million over the $180 million salary cap after Jackson’s departure.
Genard Avery training for position switch
Jackson’s release wasn’t the only news to break on social media Friday. According to Eagles edge defender Genard Avery’s personal trainer, Rischad Whitfield, the 25-year-old is expecting to switch to linebacker.
Avery has spent the last two seasons mostly as a reserve edge rusher since the Eagles sent a 2021 fourth-round pick to Cleveland for him at the trade deadline. He had 1.5 sacks last season and played just 11% of the team’s defensive snaps. Avery got some experience at linebacker during his time in Cleveland, but that was a 3-4 scheme that mostly asked him to rush the passer.
It’s hard to imagine Avery in coverage, but he’s likely capable of being an early-down linebacker or a pass rusher on later downs. This is one of the first changes expected from new defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon.