DeSean Jackson

DeSean Jackson Non-Committal On Bucs

DeSean Jackson isn’t saying that he wants to play for new Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians. But, he isn’t closing the door on that possibility, either. 

That’s what I got an agent for, bro. I don’t know,” Jackson told TMZ.”I just go play, bro. That’s all I worry about.”

His open-ended bro-filled answer while walking through the Los Angeles airport doesn’t tell us a ton, but it is a softened stance from where DJax stood just a few weeks ago. Jackson reportedly swore off the possibility of returning to Tampa and that came after an October kerfuffle in which he requested a pre-deadline trade.

Sometimes, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the Bucs’ new regime could aid in a reconciliation. Arians loves the deep ball in his offense and Jackson could conceivably thrive under the team’s new direction.

Jackson is under contract for one more season at a $10MM cap number, but that sum is completely non-guaranteed. At the moment, the Bucs have roughly $16MM in cap space, so they’ll may ask Jackson to take a pay cut in order to stay on board.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers Hoping To Keep DeSean Jackson

DeSean Jackson‘s two Buccaneers seasons did not go as well as the parties involved hoped, but Bruce Arians entering the equation provides a previously unforeseen path for a third Jackson year in Tampa.

The new Bucs head coach (and known deep-ball enthusiast) wants to keep Jackson in the fold, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets (video link). A report in December pointed to Jackson wanting to leave Tampa Bay.

One of Arians’ first acts as Buccaneers coach was to acquire Jackson’s contact information, though no such call has been placed yet, per Rapoport. But Arians wants to “re-recruit” Jackson. While he is under contract for a third season — $10MM — Jackson was previously expected to be a cap casualty. No guaranteed money remains on the 32-year-old wideout’s contract.

This was expected to be a way the Bucs could gain $10MM in cap space. As it stands now, they stand to hold just $16MM-plus. They also want to re-sign Adam Humphries. If Jackson stays, Tampa Bay would have to readjust its roster elsewhere if cap space is to be created.

Jackson asked for a trade midseason and has struggled to stay on the same page as Jameis Winston. Although his 774 receiving yards this season represented an uptick from a disappointing 2017 showing, his best games came when Ryan Fitzpatrick was throwing. The Bucs are committed to Winston for 2019, which will be Jackson’s 12th NFL season.

DeSean Jackson Wants To Leave Bucs

Wide receiver DeSean Jackson has expressed a preference to move on from the Buccaneers after this season, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets. This is consistent with what we’ve heard over the last couple of months even though the team has denied the existence of a rift.

Jackson made waves in October when he requested a pre-deadline trade. Since then, he’s publicly walked back his stance, but things haven’t changed much.

Anderson hears that issues started to “fester” after an argument between the veteran and head coach Dirk Koetter when he sat out of practice due to a thumb injury. He ultimately played in that game, but other maladies, including his recent Achilles issue, have eaten up chunks of his season.

Jackson clicked with Ryan Fitzpatrick, but he has been less successful on the other end of Jameis Winston‘s throws. In any event, Jackson thinks he’ll do better if he’s playing elsewhere.

The Bucs have Jackson signed through next year at a cap number of $10MM, but there is no guaranteed cash remaining on his deal. With a league-leading 18.9 yards per reception, Jackson will certainly have suitors after him in March.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Crawford, Gurley, Foles

Cowboys defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford was carted off the field today following a scary collision with Buccaneers offensive lineman Ryan Jensen. Fortunately, it sounds like the veteran will be alright. Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com writes that a scan and MRI of Crawford’s neck came back as negative, and the lineman has been released from the hospital.

“Everything checks out very good,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “I’m really pleased with the initial MRIs, all the examinations. He went on to the hospital and had those examinations. . . .He doesn’t seem to have structural issues at all.”

Crawford is having another productive season in 2018, compiling 34 tackles and a career-high 5.5 sacks. Pro Football Focus currently ranks Crawford 36th among 116 eligible interior defenders. If the lineman is forced to miss any time, the Cowboys could turn to former first-rounder Taco Charlton to fill in.

Let’s check out some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • Rams running back Todd Gurley was forced to miss today’s win against the Cardinals, but it doesn’t sound like the Pro Bowler will be out for an extended amount of time. Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com reports that the injury is “really a day-to-day thing,” and the team will continue to evaluate the ailment. While Gurley’s status for next weekend is still up in the air, it sounds like the running back will be good to go come playoff time. Fortunately for the Rams, the team’s running game didn’t seem to miss a beat without Gurley, as recently-signed veteran C.J. Anderson finished today’s contest with 167 rushing yards and one touchdown on 20 carries.
  • Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was briefly knocked out of today’s win over the Texans after suffering a hit from Jadeveon Clowney. While backup Nate Sudfeld made a brief appearance, Foles was able to return to the game and lead Philly to a much-needed victory. It also sounds like the veteran’s status for next week isn’t in doubt, as Foles told reporters that he is doing “great” (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). The signal-caller did acknowledge that he had X-rays taken after the game.
  • DeSean Jackson played today despite being list as questionable with a thumb injury, but the Buccaneers wideout was knocked out of the second half of his team’s game against the Cowboys with a foot injury. As Williams points out, the veteran lost his shoe on his only reception of the game, and he subsequently limped to the sideline before “collapsing in pain.” It sounds like Jackson doesn’t have much of a future in Tampa Bay, and today may have marked his final game with the organization. If the receiver doesn’t play next week, he’ll have finished the season with 41 receptions for 774 yards and four touchdowns.
  • Vontaze Burfict‘s return from a concussion didn’t last very long. The Bengals linebacker was knocked out of today’s game against the Browns with a concussion (via Darin Gantt of ProFootballTalk.com). The veteran had just returned from a two-game absence, and he showed his dissatisfaction with today’s concussion by “angrily snatch[ing] his arm away from a member of the team’s athletic training staff.” This would mark the 28-year-old’s seventh reported concussion since he entered the NFL in 2012.
  • A pair of 49ers wideouts suffered injuries today, but they don’t sound as bad as they may have looked. Matt Barrows of The Athletic tweets that rookie receiver Dante Pettis suffered an MCL injury, which is much better than the ACL injury that some were expecting. The second-round rookie has been productive in recent weeks, and he’s hauled in 24 receptions for 446 yards and five scores this season. Meanwhile, teammate Marquise Goodwin suffered an Achilles injury, but Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets that the injury isn’t serious. After a breakout season in 2017, Goodwin has struggled this year, compiling 20 receptions for 366 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games.

Injury Updates: Allen, Beckham, Jackson, Osemele

The Chargers picked up their biggest win of the season last night against the Chiefs, but they didn’t escape Kansas City unscathed. Already dealing with injuries to running backs Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon, they suffered another blow when star receiver Keenan Allen went down in the first half. Allen never returned to the game, and now we have an update on his status. Allen has been diagnosed with a hip pointer, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). While it is a somewhat significant injury, Rapoport notes there is no structural damage to his hip. He writes that it isn’t a longterm injury, and although he says he could “miss some time” it sounds like Allen will be back in time for the playoffs at the absolute latest.

Here are more injury updates from around the league:

  • Odell Beckham Jr. will miss a second straight game this week, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur announced today (Twitter link). Beckham is dealing with a quad injury, but the details are murky. He apparently suffered the injury a few weeks ago, and was initially able to play through it, but seemingly it’s taken a turn for the worse. The team has been very tightlipped about what exactly happened, but more details should leak out eventually.
  • The Buccaneers are still somewhat alive in the playoff race, but they’ll be playing the Ravens this week without receiver DeSean Jackson. Jackson will be missing his third straight game with a thumb injury. While the Bucs would surely love to have Jackson out there against a stingy Baltimore defense, Chris Godwin has filled in just fine in his place across from Mike Evans. All signs continue to point toward Jackson and Tampa Bay separating at the end of the year.
  • The Raiders have suddenly come alive and played some good games the past few weeks, upsetting the Steelers as massive underdogs last week. But they’ll be facing a tough Bengals defensive line without at least one starter on their offensive line. Left guard Kelechi Osemele has been ruled out for the game, and right guard Gabe Jackson is questionable after not practicing all week. If Jackson can’t play either it would be a disaster scenario for the Raiders, as their top reserve guard was just placed on injured reserve.

South Notes: Colts, Bucs, Falcons, Newton

Although Matt Eberflus was tied to Josh McDaniels when he accepted the offer to become the Colts‘ defensive coordinator, Stephen Holder of The Athletic notes (subscription required) Chris Ballard was the driving force behind the then-Cowboys linebackers coach moving to Indianapolis. The second-year Colts GM held Ebeflus in such high regard that he may have been the DC choice without McDaniels’ involvement, though likely not had the Colts hired a defensively geared coach. But in nearly all of the interviews the Colts conducted, Holder reports Eberflus’ name was broached. Despite a host of young players for a unit not expected to be particularly strong, the first-year DC has the Colts holding the No. 11 DVOA defense going into Week 15. The 2017 Colts produced the No. 27 DVOA defense.

The latest from some South teams, continuing to Tampa.

  • It is possible DeSean Jackson has played his final game with the Buccaneers. Playing on a contract that includes no additional guaranteed money, the 32-year-old wide receiver had his injured thumb immobilized, Greg Auman of The Athletic tweets. Jackson has been unable to grip footballs with his injured hand, forcing him to miss the past two Bucs games. He had previously played through this malady, per Auman (on Twitter). Tampa Bay’s top deep threat hopes to play again this season, but that’s not a lock. And with a nonguaranteed $10MM base salary on the Bucs’ books next year, Jackson is a prime release candidate in 2019.
  • Most believe Buccaneers GM Jason Licht has a better chance of returning in 2019 than Dirk Koetter does, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com writes. Despite the Bucs still staring at what will likely soon become an 11-season playoff drought, Licht’s ability to draft and extend the likes of Mike Evans and Cameron Brate has pleased ownership, Laine adds. Licht signed an extension that takes him through the 2019 season, but it remains possible the Glazers move on from he, Koetter and Jameis Winston and start fresh next year.
  • Arthur Blank said he has not lost faith in Thomas Dimitroff or Dan Quinn, but the Falcons have since endured another one-sided defeat and now sit 4-9. They already made other moves, like replacing highly paid right tackle Ryan Schraeder with Ty Sambrailo, for the future. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes more losses will continue to cause suspicion as to whether Blank will change his mind and pivot to a new power structure.
  • Derek Newton‘s Saints contract is a two-year pact, according to his agency (Twitter link). It appears the Saints will use their upcoming practices to gauge whether the former longtime Texans right tackle is fit enough to the point he could be more than an injury fill-in.

Latest On DeSean Jackson’s Future With Buccaneers

DeSean Jackson may have already played his last down for the Buccaneers. Jackson is sidelined for Tampa Bay’s matchup against the Panthers today due to a thumb injury, and his displeasure with the team has been evident for some time. Between that and the fact that Tampa Bay can cut Jackson after the season and completely clear his 2019 $10MM salary off the books with no dead money penalty, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times believes that Jackson’s tenure with the club is just about over.

Jackson has always been mercurial, but he has reason to be upset with the way things have gone in Tampa since he signed a three-year, $33.5MM contract with the club in 2017. As Stroud observes — and as has been painfully evident to anyone watching Buccaneers games over the last two seasons — Jackson and quarterback Jameis Winston have never gotten on the same page, with Winston’s frequent misses of a wide-open Jackson having become something of a running joke. Jackson has seen much more success with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, but Fitzpatrick is not exactly the Bucs’ quarterback of the future.

Plus, the Bucs are 4-7 and may be headed for a last-place finish in the NFC South for the second year in a row, which will only add to Jackson’s frustrations. The 32-year-old speedster may not have much time left in the league, and he surely wants to give himself a shot at a ring before his career is over. It does not seem likely that the 2019 Buccaneers will give him a great opportunity to achieve that goal.

Jackson requested a trade back in October, and Stroud wonders whether he will ask the club to put him on IR now so that he can preserve himself for his expected foray back into free agency next offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Notes: Vikings, Packers, Colts, Bucs, Falcons

The Vikings received some excellent news on Monday when an MRI revealed cornerback Xavier Rhodes suffered a “very, very mild” hamstring injury, head coach Mike Zimmer told reporters, including Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Twitter link). While Minnesota does have depth in its secondary (Mackensie Alexander, Holton Hill), the club had already lost rookie first-round corner Mike Hughes for the season. And missing Rhodes, who was named All-Pro in 2017, for any amount of time would have been devastating. After beating the Packers on Sunday night, the Vikings now have a 63% chance of earning a postseason berth, per FiveThirtyEight.com.

Let’s take a look at more injury news from around the NFL:

  • Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari suffered two knee injuries and an ankle injury against the Vikings last night, but there is still hope he’ll be able to play against the Cardinals in Week 13, as Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com writes. After being defeated by Minnesota, Green Bay will almost surely need to win out to have any chance at making the playoffs, and losing Bakhtiari certainly wouldn’t help matters. Arguably the league’s best pass-blocking tackle, Bakhtiari missed six games over his first five seasons in the NFL. If Bakhtiari’s not able to play against Arizona, former second-round pick Jason Spriggs would take over on Aaron Rodgers‘ blindside.
  • After going down with a concussion against the Dolphins, Colts running back Marlon Mack is “iffy” for Week 13, tweets Mike Chappell of Fox59. Mack missed three games with a hamstring injury earlier this year, but has averaged 16.5 carries per game since as Indianapolis’ lead back. The 6-5 Colts face a winnable game against the Jaguars next Sunday as they fight for a playoff spot, and would turn to Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines to play more snaps if Mack can’t go.
  • Buccaneers receiver DeSean Jackson is headed to New York to get a second opinion on his thumb injury, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Jackson was originally injured in Week 11, and while he played against the 49ers in Week 12, it still sounds as though the issue is bothering him. Elsewhere in Tampa Bay, tight end O.J. Howard — who is already on injured reserve — is facing a four-to-six week recovery timeline for his ankle ailment, tweets Laine. Given that the Bucs are already out of postseason contention, Howard isn’t a candidate to return this year.
  • Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said linebacker Deion Jones looks excellent but stopped short of saying Jones will be ready for Week 13, reports Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Jones was activated off injured reserve in advance of Week 11, but he still has yet to see the field. After originally suffering a foot injury in Week 1, Jones hasn’t played since, and his — and other key defenders’ — absences have contributed to Atlanta’s disappointing 4-7 record.

Bucs Unlikely To Trade DeSean Jackson?

Wide receiver DeSean Jackson wants to be traded, but the Buccaneers don’t sound inclined to fulfill his request. When asked about the possibility of a DJax deal over the weekend, GM Jason Licht indicated that Jackson will be a part of the team beyond Tuesday’s trade deadline. 

“I’ll say this. DeSean Jackson and I have a great relationship,” Licht said on Sunday (via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times). “He’s one of my favorite people on the team, and Dirk [Koetter] has a great relationship with him and he’s obviously a terrific player for us. We’re 3-3, we’re headed into big game today, we’ve got a big stretch of games coming up for us, and we don’t like to talk about these stories. But I can say that my job and our job here is to field the best roster that we can to win games, and DeSean is a huge, huge part of that, not just today, but for the rest of the season. Other than that, I don’t have anything else to add.”

Of course, after yesterday’s 37-34 loss to the Bengals, the Bucs are now 3-4, and their offense is chock full of question marks. Jackson was targeted eight times against Cincinnati, but he wasn’t able to do much with those balls outside of his 60-yard touchdown grab in the second quarter.

Jackson is in Year 2 of a three-year deal, $33.5MM deal he signed with the team in 2017. He has yet to develop a rapport with quarterback Jameis Winston, as evidenced by his disappointing 50/668/3 stat line last season. Licht says he wants to hold on to the veteran, but the soon-to-be 32-year-old would rather join a team that can utilize his deep field skills.

For what it’s worth, the Bucs are considering benching Winston in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick, a move that could benefit Jackson. With Fitzmagic on the field for the first the first two games of the season, Jackson had nine receptions for an eye-popping 275 yards and three scores, good for an average of 30.56 yards per catch.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Trade Rumors: Carr, Raiders, Peterson, Taylor

We learned earlier this morning that Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson has requested a trade, though the team wants to keep him. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that Jackson, on his way to the team bus this morning, declined to comment on the report.

With the trade deadline two days away, let’s round up a few more trade rumors from around the league (Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, who says many GMs expect there to be three to five “impactful” deals over the next 48 hours, offers a helpful primer, which includes a list of some of the most-discussed players on the market):

  • Albert Breer of TheMMQB says that the Raiders may not be done dealing just yet, though he does not expect the team to move Derek Carr (indeed, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported this morning that the Raiders have told Carr that he is the quarterback of the present and future). However, Oakland is open to moving Karl Joseph and Gareon Conley, though the Raiders are driving a “hard bargain” with teams interested in Conley.
  • Breer names a number of other players whose names we have not heard in recent rumblings but who could nonetheless be on the move: the PackersHa Ha Clinton-Dix, the 49ersPierre Garcon and Jimmie Ward, the CardinalsChandler Jones, and the BroncosShane Ray and Brandon Marshall. Breers adds that San Francisco would need to get something “significant” to deal Ward. He also says that, while teams are certainly interested in Denver corners Bradley Roby and Chris Harris, he thinks it would be difficult for the team to trade either.
  • If they had elected to trade Patrick Peterson, La Canfora writes that the Cardinals could have received a bounty for him, and may have even landed multiple first-round picks (in fact, several teams were already prepared to offer a first- and second-rounder). JLC reports that Peterson was considered the “crown jewel” of the deadline, and given his attractive contract status, he may be the subject of renewed trade rumors during the offseason.
  • Breer also writes that the Browns are open to trading Tyrod Taylor, whose contract structure could make a deal feasible. Meanwhile, Tony Grossi of ESPN.com suggests that Cleveland GM John Dorsey may be trying to acquire wide receiver help (Twitter link).
  • The Bills remain unlikely to trade LeSean McCoy, per Schefter.
  • Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has demonstrated a proclivity for making trades, and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com says Maccagnan has been doing his due diligence on everyone, including big-name players. But while there is a sense that New York could swing a deal, the fact that the team is in a no-man’s land between buyer and seller, and the fact that the roster does not have many tradeable pieces, could make a trade difficult to pull off.