DeSean Jackson Will Ask Eagles for New Contract

Written By Bob Cunningham On Thursday, January 28, 2010

Don't worry Philly, he's not T.O. Well, we hope not.

Everyone expected this day would come sooner rather than later, and as expected, here we are.

According to CSN Philly's Derrick Gunn, DeSean Jackson will ask the Eagles and a newly-forming front office to either rework or simply extend his rookie contract. He feels, as most do, that he has outplayed his rookie contract and deserves to get paid like one of the top players in the league.

Over the next two years, between base salary and bonuses, Jackson is scheduled to make about $1.8 million -- obviously far below what a No. 1 receiver is making, much less a guy who is also arguably the leagues best punt returner.

If you'll recall, he hired Drew Rosenhaus a few months ago in anticipation of asking the Eagles for a new contract, and it looks like he's picking this offseason too see how much he really means to the Birds.

Right now, top-flight No. 1 receivers like Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald are making between $8-10 million per season, so Rosenhaus will probably start there. He will most likely argue that DeSean's presence on the field completely reshapes this team, and that as McNabb's No. 1 target, he deserves to get paid like a No. 1 receiver.

The Eagles will then most likely argue that DeSean has only put in two years, and only one as the team's No. 1 receiver. However, his extra value as a punt returner does hike up the per-season cost of having him on the team.

Jackson is asking for a four or five year extension, which the Eagles would probably like to make five years with a reasonable signing bonus and a lot of incentives and other loopholes for later in the contract.

My guess is that a contract will get done before the 2010 season opens up, as the Eagles are aware that Jackson will most likely best his 2009 numbers, and would in turn want even more money.

However, the Eagles could hold out and see what happens with the CBA negotiations. If the league plays without a CBA, Jackson will not become an unrestricted free agent once his four-year rookie deal is up.

He will become a restricted free agent since, without a CBA, players must put in six years, rather than four, to become an unrestricted free agent, giving the Eagles a lot of options.

It's a real gamble if they go that route, but they could use it in the negotiations to get Jackson to accept a deal slightly below market value in return for peace of mind on his end.

My guess is that he will receive something like a five or six year deal worth somewhere in the area of $35-40 million, which could include some fluff to make it look better in the papers. It could turn out to be more of a four-year $20 million deal.

Perhaps I'm underestimating how much the Eagles value Jackson. Maybe they will be okay with simply paying him what he is worth and moving on, but something tells me that he will receive a mid-range deal like this and a signing bonus nearing eight figures.

It's just how the Eagles do business, and more importantly, it's how they do business with their young, up-and-coming players. They don't want to get burnt if something were to happen to Jackson, and use the player's youth as a reason to lock them up long-term below market value.

They've seen it work to perfection (Shawn Andrews), and they've been burnt by their own ways (Reggie Brown), but more often than not they will wind up with a guy like Sheldon Brown who is being paid well below market value, but with three years still left on his deal doesn't really have a leg to stand on.

Nothing would surprise me concerning the upcoming negotiations, but there's no need to worry as long as this stays mostly in-house and doesn't get nasty like the T.O. negotiations.

Jackson is happy in Philly, and Philly is happy to have him. I believe that we will see No. 10 locked up as an Eagle in the coming weeks.

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