The Eagles cut Jackson because he was owed 10.7 million dollars and they didn’t want to pay him that when they already had 5+ million yearly committed to Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin at the wide receiver position (not because of racism). There are also reports of disrespectful behavior on Jackson’s part and he even confirmed that he was late to some meetings.
Whether or not any potential gang affiliation played a role is unknown, but comments from some people who have known Jackson since his childhood, coupled with the heavy interest Jackson was met with on the open market suggests that any affiliations were blown out of proportion by shoddy journalism. It really seems like, plain and simple, the Eagles didn’t want to pay Jackson 10.7 million dollars and think they can replace his production with a combination of a rookie and a now healthy Jeremy Maclin to go with Riley Cooper.
That makes a lot of sense. Jackson was Pro Football Focus’ 7th ranked wide receiver last year, but that’s not consistent with his history as he was actually about an average to slightly above average wide receiver on Pro Football Focus from 2008-2012. It’s possible that he was just a product of Chip Kelly’s offense last season. Even in his 1000 yard seasons in 2009 and 2010, Jackson was only catching about half of his targets as an inconsistent, one trick pony deep threat. Couple that with the fact that he can cause headaches to coaching staffs from time to time and I think the Eagles’ decision to move on from him makes a lot of sense, regardless of any gang affiliation.
The Redskins are getting him at a cheaper rate than the Eagles would have, giving him a 3-year, 24 million dollar deal with 16 million guaranteed, but they still might be overpaying for a system receiver. On top of that, the Redskins didn’t have a lot of cap space coming into this move, part of why they had to add a 4th “dummy year” to this deal to spread out the cap hit over 4 years instead of 3 years. This will be an expensive deal for the Redskins over the next few years and I don’t know if this is the right area for them to be allocating their cap space. They already have a #1 receiver in Pierre Garcon, but they have a large amount of holes on the defensive side of the balls, an amount that will grow next off-season if this deal makes the Redskins unable to retain Brian Orakpo long-term.
Jackson will make 8 million dollars per year in every season of this deal, including a non-guaranteed 8 million in the third year in 2016. This year, 5 million of that is the signing bonus so his cap hit will actually only be 4.25 million (3 million in salary, 1.25 million in prorated signing bonus). However, he’ll have a cap number of 9.25 million in 2015 and if he’s cut after the 2015 season, he’ll have a cap number of 2.5 million in 2016. If he stays on the roster in 2016, he’ll have a cap number of 9.25 million in 2016 and 1.25 million in 2017, his “dummy year.” It’s a lot to commit to a wide receiver when you already have a #1 receiver.