The Eagles and DeSean Jackson are talking. But where will it lead?
With the March 5 deadline for teams to use their franchise tag fast approaching, the two sides have been engaged in ongoing dialogue for several days now. That is a positive development on the surface, but it's unlikely to bear any fruit – at least in the short term.
The Eagles are showing some interest in locking up Jackson to an extension, but at numbers that can be perceived as team-friendly. They may have gotten their man at their price in-season, when Jackson's stock was at an all-time low and his future was cloudy.
The leverage has since shifted.
The worst-case scenario for Jackson at this stage is that he nets $9.5 million on the one-year tender in 2012 – or roughly three times what he has made throughout his NFL career to date. Not bad. Even if he suffers a debilitating injury in Week 2, he's set for life. That kind of security allows for agent Drew Rosenhaus to play some hardball.
The wise move now (at least in theory) is to play coy to the Eagles' advances, make them slap the tag on Jackson and then wait for the free agent market to be set. The thinking is that it will only go up, bringing Jackson's value along with it.
Unless the Eagles blow them away between now and March 5, in other words, there will be no deal. Expect the tag.
Beat writer Tim McManus said on Twitter that "DeSean plans to sign franchise tender ASAP" so it appears that he'll stay in Philadelphia for at least one more season. The franchise tag means that Jackson will be paid like a top 5 WR, which he's not, so it will be interesting to see how the WR market shakes out.