The Rams and DeSean Jackson have agreed to part ways just seven games into his tenure with the franchise.
Was Desean Jackson’s sudden fall from grace a lack of enough football’s to go around in the offense or simply a case of divas being divas? Just two days the NFL trade deadline, the Los Angeles Rams have decided to move on from the talented but controversial player.
What are the two sides of Jackson, now as the Rams know it?
Side #1 of DeSean Jackson: Who he is on the field
Jackson has been an explosive weapon since his days at the University of California. His speed and ability to make cuts at speed led him to average almost 18 yard per catch for 14 seasons and even though his last three seasons have been injury-filled, he has 11,000 total receiving yards. In his prime he was a punt return threat as well as, arguably, the best deep receiver in the NFL.
Side #2 of DeSean Jackson - Off the field
His personality and actions have been just as flammable. Over the years, he has been accused/guilty of over-sized ego, a bad attitude, poor work ethic and even regrettable online rants. Andy Reid sat him, Chip Kelly cut him, and now, Sean McVay has deactivated him pending a trade.
McVay was visibly uncomfortable at his Friday press conference. He did confirm the Friday morning meeting with Jackson and said that the situation was, “... all very quickly developing.”
“We are allowing him”, the LA head coach said, “to be able to look into some options for himself. Because of that, he will not play Sunday.” Los Angeles ran over the Houston Texans without Jackson, 38-22.
What he didn’t say was whether or not the trade decision was made by the Rams, Jackson himself or was mutually agreed upon. Nor did he have an answer when asked if Jackson would be welcome to stay in Los Angeles if a trade agreement is not reached. He hedged by saying that he would have more information, “...if it came to that”.
Who he was during his time with the Rams
The mercurial wide receiver has played less than 30 percent of offensive snaps, garnering 8 catches on 15 targets for 221 yards and a lone touchdown. An average of 27.6 yards per catch.
DJax has never been shy to complain about not getting enough passes thrown his way. Before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game in Week 3, he reportedly took this view to his coach. According to Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times,“...the frustrated receiver met with McVay because he barely played in the previous game against the Indianapolis Colts.”
Against the Bucs, Jackson had a season high of five targets, three catches, 120 total yards and one TD.
Who he is next?
The dispassionate truth is the Rams have been able generate deep plays without Jackson. Yes, he has been running wide-open a few times, but the McVay passing scheme and Matthew Stafford do not need a specialty deep receiver. They already have three wide receivers capable of getting vertical in Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Van Jefferson. Also, in theory, Tutu Atwell was drafted for the deep-threat role
DeSean Jackson was luxury that the team obviously decided, was not needed. The Rams probably won’t get much, if anything, for him, but his big play potential is still of value and in-demand.
The question is: Which NFL teams will still believe that, as the Rams did, now that the Rams don’t want him anymore?