After three seasons with the Redskins, wide receiver DeSean Jackson has moved on from Washington, signing the third contract of his career with Tampa Bay.
Wide receiver DeSean Jackson, after weeks of talks concerning his next contract, has signed a new multi-year deal with the Buccaneers, the team announced Thursday.
The subject of speculation since the end of the season, Jackson expressed his desire to stay in Washington last month, citing stability with his young family and home as factors that would keep him with the Redskins.
He also expressed the hope to continue building off what the team's offense had produced the last two seasons, but knew that would be challenging once free agency hit.
"Once again this is a business so things happen," Jackson said, offering both sides of the equation in February. "I'm just really excited about the opportunity I have to sit, and now the ball's in my corner a little bit and [I'll] see what we can do. I'm just excited and I'm going to let my agent care of all that. Ready to just sit back and whatever offers come in but obviously like I said I do want to be here."
The Redskins signed Jackson late in free agency in 2014, after the Eagles unceremoniously released him, which raised some red flags around the league about his background. Jackson was keen on proving his doubters wrong and put together two 1,000-yard seasons in Washington, erasing the stigma around him.
In his three years with the team, Jackson played in 40 games with 142 receptions 2,702 yards receiving and 14 touchdowns to go along with a 19 yards-per-reception average, a stat he nearly led the league in last year (17.9).
Jackson's greatest ability and most coveted skillset is his speed, a trait he uses to take the top off opposing defenses with ease. Even at 30, Jackson proved last season he hasn't slowed down a bit, recording the third fastest speed in the NFL last season during a 59-yard pass against the Cardinals.
Jackson was clocked sprinting 22.6 mph, one of four plays he recorded the fastest time of the week. Next Gen stats also found that Jackson ranked second in the league with 2.89 yards of separation at target.
Those numbers continued a trend from when he entered the league in 2008, as he has 37 receptions of 50-plus yards and 26 total scores of 50 yards or longer.
"Last year was a good year but it wasn't as good," Jackson said of the Redskins. "The past two years being here we have been close you know we've peaked. I felt as a team we kind of built something here, build some camaraderie, and individually as a player. The past two years I got hurt and this year played a full season but missed one game and really just trying to build on that."
Jackson began the year on solid note, recording 102 receiving yards in the team's loss to the Steelers, and collected his first touchdown of the year two games later against the Giants, helping the Redskins to their first victory of the season.
Near the end of the season, the Cal product started stretching the field in his usual way, eclipsing 100 yards in four of the final six games of the year. Arguably the biggest highlight of the season was his 80-yard touchdown grab against the Eagles, in which he played centerfield to track down Kirk Cousins' lofty pass.
Now, the Redskins will look to free agency, the draft and internally to solve his absence as a deep threat and dynamic weapon in the offense.
"Those are going to be hard to replace but the one thing I have to do as a coach is make sure we coach the guys that we have," head coach Jay Gruden said at the NFL Combine. "And free agency - you're never going to be able to sign everybody you want as a coach. Shoot I'd like to have every highest – shoot I'd like to have Alshon Jeffery, Pierre [Garçon] and DeSean [Jackson], what the heck give them all to me. But I know that's not going to happen, but I do feel very, very good about Jamison Crowder, Ryan Grant and Josh Doctson. I love the fact that Mo [Maurice] Harris got a lot of work in; he's going to develop. And we got some other guys, younger guys, Kendal Thompson in the building, that I think they're going to be good players."