So DeSean Jackson got a pay raise today. Last year he made $893,250. This year, if he signs his franchise tender, he’ll make $9,400,000. That’s over a 1000% increase in pay. Jason Babin was the first to console his teammate upon this horrific turn of events:
Anyway, this was basically a formality. There was no way in hell the Eagles were just going to let Jackson walk, and so the options are down to three: Jackson will either play under the tag this season and make $9.4 million, he’ll sign a long-term deal, or he’ll be traded. I know what I think will occur, but let’s hear from you. What is DeSean Jackson’s near future?
A quick primer on what exactly the tag means at this point to the Eagles and DeSean after the jump, courtesy of the great Sam Lynch of IgglesBlitz:
- What he franchise tag really physically is often gets confused. A franchise tag means that the Eagles will essentially send DeSean Jackson a contract (a “tender offer”) for his signature with $9.5 million guaranteed. If Jackson chooses to sign with another team instead, the Eagles get a high level of draft pick compensation, two first round picks, from the team he signs with. Jackson’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, is allowed to talk to other teams about DeSean once free agency begins.DeSean Jackson does not have to sign this tender offer. And until he does, he is a free agent and not under contract to any team. That means not only does he not have to attend minicamp or training camp until he signs the tender, he isn’t ALLOWED to attend those because he isn’t actually on the team.
- Another consequence of not actually being on the team is that he can’t be traded until he signs a contract either. Thus, the Eagles can’t trade him without his consent until he signs that offer. This gives him leverage in a trade because no deal can be made unless the acquiring team is going to give him a contract he’s happy with. The Eagles had a deal to trade Corey Simon to Baltimore in 2005, but it didn’t go through because Simon couldn’t reach a deal with the Ravens. Additionally, teams will be willing to offer less to the Eagles in a trade as their cost of signing Jackson increases.
- The $9.5 million will be paid in 1/17th installments in each week of the regular season. He gets $0 when he signs. He only gets cash in week 1. Thus, there is no financial incentive to DeSean to sign the tender offer early, because there is no bonus up-front.
- The $9.5 million is only guaranteed once the offer is signed. If the team rescinds the offer before it is signed then DeSean Jackson has no claim on that $9.5 million. We saw this happen with Corey Simon.
- I believe that the absolute deadline to sign his deal without missing the whole year is the week prior to game 11, which would allow him to officially accrue a season of playing time. I haven’t checked the new CBA, but I don’t recall a change to that rule. He will lose 1/17th of his salary for each regular season week he misses, but that is ultimately his choice.
The upshot of all of this is that if Jackson is tagged, and no other deal is worked out, there is almost no chance we will see DeSean in training camp (let alone minicamp). Reporters will cover this breathlessly as a hold out, but in reality it is a non-event. Why would this guy risk his body in minicamp or waste his time when he doesn’t get paid until Week 1 anyway. Further, it isn’t like he needs to learn the offense, and he so far hasn’t been a player who has needed to get into shape anyway.
What will matter is if he starts missing regular season weeks. That will be punishing the team and himself at the same time … but this is a guy with a history of doing just that. Oh, and by the way, once his year under the tag is up, he’s an unrestricted free agent again. The team can keep him for year two with the tag, but then it wouldn’t be able use the tag to keep Shady McCoy or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (if he has one of his Pro Bowl quality years). And Shady’s agent is … Drew Rosenhaus. Yay.