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Tom Johnson
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Better Off Without Desean

04/10/2014 5:18pm
last edited:04/18/2014 5:48pm
Replayed from My sport page
Greg Davis

The majority of Philadelphia Eagles fans were not pleased with the franchise's decision to cut Pro Bowl wide receiver and kick/punt returner Desean Jackson. Why would a team release a player that seems to fit perfectly into head coach Chip Kelly's high flying, up-tempo style of offense? Jackson is coming off a career season and is in the midst of his prime which makes that question even harder to answer. I'm here to say, relax Eagles fans, it is going to be alright. 

Team chemistry and locker room behavior are essential to any team striving for success. In the coming days following the release of Jackson, no Eagles player really spoke out against the organization for such a rash decision. It was reported that some players even anonymously approved of the move fully. If one of these anonymous players is an offensive lineman, is that offensive lineman more or less likely to hustle down field to make a block that could open up the field so Jackson could use his blazing speed to reach pay dirt? I'd think less. Sure, you could argue it's more about the team than the individual, but even a split second of doubt caused by dislike toward someone could be the difference between a touchdown and a missed opportunity. After all, football is a game of inches.

The 2014 NFL Draft is a month away and the wide receiver position is easily the deepest of positions early on. This gave the Eagles more incentive to release Jackson as they look for a new young receiver to help bolster a unit made up of Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper. I figure the top options for the Eagles right now sitting in the 22nd spot would be either WR Brandin Cooks (who Kelly loves), WR Mike Evans (barring he slips all the way down to the 20s), or WR Kelvin Benjamin. It's possible the Eagles go defensive back and choose CB Courtney Roby out of Ohio State or something similar to that and draft a receiver in the second round, but Chip is offensive minded and I think he'll go after a top wide out to eliminate the hole that Jackson will leave behind.

The most important move the Eagles made this off-season, beside the signing of Malcolm Jenkins to bolster the safety position, was the signing of Darren Sproles. Obviously Sproles, who is more of a running back than anything, is not a number 1 receiver to replace Jackson, but he is incredibly versatile and can line up all over the field, including split out wide. He also replaces Jackson as a return threat for special teams. I have no doubt Kelly will utilize him anyway he can. 

There's no denying Jackson's talent. It stings as a hardcore Eagles fan to think that Jackson was released without the Eagles receiving any compensation whatsoever. In fact, Jackson counts more against the Eagles cap than he does against his new team, the rival Washington Redskins, this coming season. It will be a terrible thing to see Jackson line up against the Eagles twice a year for the next couple of seasons. But Eagles fans,  just remember, while the Redskins recently began off-season workouts, Desean is out on a pre-planned vacation instagramming pictures on the beach instead of joining his new team members to show his dedication. Don't worry Redskins fans, he told the Redskins about the vacation before signing his contract so that makes it all okay. His new teammates won't mind. Enjoy your new selfish, diva wide receiver Washington, the Eagles are moving on and with good reason.

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