One of the great deep threats in modern NFL history, DeSean Jackson is not planning to play a 16th season. The veteran wide receiver instead intends to announce his retirement as a member of the Eagles, according to the team.
Jackson, who had joined the Raiders and Ravens as an in-season addition over the past two years, played 15 seasons for six teams. While the 2008 second-round pick will primarily be remembered for his contributions in Philadelphia, he made an impact in a few cities. Jackson started 159 games and is one of just 40 players to surpass 11,000 receiving yards for his career.
“DeSean Jackson was a dynamic playmaker who captivated Eagles fans with his game-breaking speed, unique skill set, and explosive play,” Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie said in a statement. “What made DeSean truly stand out during his accomplished 15-year career was his ability to make miraculous plays look routine.”
The Cal product spent time in Philly, Washington, Tampa, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Baltimore during his NFL run. He led the NFL in yards per reception in four seasons, most recently in 2018 with the Buccaneers, and remained a coveted player into his mid-30s. Jackson will turn 37 on Friday, choosing that notable date to retire with the team that drafted him.
While no wide receivers went off the board in the 2008 first round, the second produced quality performers. Jordy Nelson and Eddie Royal also became Round 2 picks 15 years ago. Jackson made a quick impact, becoming an immediate long-range threat for Donovan McNabb on an Eagles team that voyaged to the 2008 NFC championship game. Jackson became the fifth player to reach 900 receiving yards in each of his first four seasons; he eclipsed 1,000 in two of those slates. Over the course of his career, Jackson produced five 1,000-yard seasons; the most recent came with Washington in 2016.
Jackson scored 66 touchdowns over the course of his career; one will probably stand out as his most memorable. Used regularly as a punt returner early in his career, Jackson finished off a 24-point Eagles rally to stun the Giants in Week 15 of the 2010 season, completing a walk-off 65-yard punt return. This came a week after he accumulated a career-high 210 yards against the Cowboys, helping the Eagles to the NFC East title in Michael Vick‘s first season as the team’s starter.
Although the deep passing game was more prominent in prior eras, Jackson stood out on that front in this one. Only Devery Henderson produced a higher yards-per-catch average in a season than Jackson’s 22.5 (2010) during the 21st century. Despite Jackson’s deep-ball brilliance, he wore out his welcome in Philly in 2014. Deemed a poor fit during Chip Kelly‘s second offseason in charge, Jackson wound up in Washington on a four-year, $24MM contract. This came after the Eagles had given the 5-foot-10 weapon a five-year, $47MM extension in 2012, Andy Reid‘s final year at the helm.
Washington’s Jackson and Pierre Garcon additions ignited Kirk Cousins, who set single-season franchise records for touchdown passes and passing yards while targeting the two free agency pickups in the mid-2010s. Jackson topped 1,000 yards in 2014 and ’16, but Washington let both veterans walk in 2017 — a year before losing Cousins. While Jackson’s post-Washington years did not generate the same kind of production he offered during his initial run in the NFC East, Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s 9.6 yards per attempt in 2018 came with significant Jackson contributions. The then-Mike Evans sidekick finished that season with a 18.9 yards per reception.
The Eagles reacquired Jackson via trade in 2019, sending a fifth-round pick to the Bucs. But injuries marred Jackson’s second Philly stint. In two seasons back with the Eagles, Jackson suited up for just eight games. The team cut him once again in 2021.
After the Rams released Jackson during the 2021 season, the veteran pass catcher was linked to a few teams. He ended up helping the Raiders to a surprising playoff run, which came after the exits of Jon Gruden and Henry Ruggs. A Ravens team that lost Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay to season-ending injuries sporadically used Jackson while limping into the playoffs last season. Jackson did not play in Baltimore’s wild-card game, however. He operated as the NFL’s oldest receiver in 2022.
Jackson made three Pro Bowls and earned more than $91MM over the course of his career. While Jackson ranks 39th in both career receiving yards and yards per catch, his 17.6 yards per grab rank second among 21st-century wideouts.