Philadelphia Eagles: 7 Quality Possible Replacements for DeSean Jackson
Of all the problems the Philadelphia Eagles need answers to, the conundrum that is receiver DeSean Jackson may be the biggest.
Jackson's rookie contract expires this season, leaving his future with the team in doubt. It will be up to head coach Andy Reid and the rest of the front office to determine whether the speedy receiver is worth the money he is asking for.
In the likely event that No. 10 does leave for "greener" pastures, the Eagles will have yet another problem on their hands: replacing the league's most potent deep threat.
Fortunately, there are a number of players via free agency and the draft that have the talent to fill Jackson's space in the locker room.
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
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The Kansas City Chiefs may not be willing to give up their top wide receiver without getting into a bidding war, but Dwayne Bowe would make an excellent addition to the Philadelphia Eagles' offense.
Granted, Bowe does not have the speed that makes DJax so deadly. But Bowe has a four-inch, 46 pound size advantage over the diminutive Jackson. His size makes him an ideal red zone threat, a place the Eagles have struggled in over the past few years.
The coming of Bowe would also likely push receiver Jeremy Maclin into the No. 2 position—a role in which he would thrive in against single coverage.
The fact of the matter is Bowe just may be an upgrade over Jackson, and the team would be smart to try and land the big receiver.
Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills
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Another big receiver who will be difficult to pry from the hands of his current team, Steve Johnson would be more than an adequate replacement for DeSean Jackson.
After breaking out in a big way during the 2010 season, Johnson solidified his status as a low-end No. 1 wide receiver by posting 1,004 yards and seven touchdowns this season. What may land him the big-time money this offseason, however, was his ability to make all-world cornerback Darrelle Revis look human. (He combined for 159 yards and a touchdown the two times their teams met this season.)
Johnson would give quarterback Michael Vick a big target to throw to, and his presence would force teams to play honestly and not stack eight men in the box to stop running back LeSean McCoy.
Robert Meachem, New Orleans Saints
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Just ask Drew Brees, who has had the luxury of lobbing passes to Meachem for numerous seasons.
Meachem could not come in and be a bona fide No. 1 receiver, but like Jackson, his ability to take the top off a defense will force favorable coverage onto the Eagles' other skill players.
Better yet is the fact that Meachem's price should remain relatively low.
Alson Jeffery, South Carolina (rookie)
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If DeSean Jackson remains with the team, the hope is that the Philadelphia Eagles will use the 15th pick in the draft to bring in a stud linebacker. If he leaves however, most fans would have no problem watching the Eagles select a promising wide receiver.
Justin Blackmon will likely be off the board by the time they pick, but the Eagles have a realistic shot at landing Alshon Jeffery.
While his numbers dipped considerably from last year, Jeffery still showed big-play ability and toughness despite inconsistency at the quarterback position.
Many analysts see Jeffery as a future No. 1 receiver whose lackluster numbers this season will force his stock to drop slightly. And if it does, the Eagles would be wise to grab him.
Michael Floyd, Notre Dame (rookie)
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Another wide receiver draft prospect, Michael Floyd might be even more likely to fall into the laps of the Eagles than Alshon Jeffery.
Floyd finished the season as Notre Dame's top receiver with 1,106 yards and eight touchdowns. He has all the physical tools to excel at the next level and has the looks of a No. 1 wide receiver.
But what has many analysts concerned is off-the-field issues. Floyd has had numerous run-ins with the law, causing his value to plummet.
However, the Eagles have shown they are not scared to draft a talented prospect with character flaws (see Jackson, DeSean).
Mario Manningham, New York Giants
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The New York Giants were less than happy when the Eagles snatched away wide receiver Steve Smith last offseason. Imagine how they will react if they stole yet another receiver?
The Eagles have that opportunity, as Mario Manningham is set to hit free agency.
Manningham saw his targets decrease after Victor Cruz broke out in a big way this season, so No. 82 may be looking for a change in scenery. If he came to Philadelphia, not only would he likely see an uptick in playing time, but he would also fill the role of deep threat left vacant by DeSean Jackson.
Talk about win-win.
Brandon Lloyd, St. Louis Rams
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Brandon Lloyd (30) may not be as appealing as the others given his age, but he still has plenty of play-making ability left in the tank.
He is not the deep threat that DeSean Jackson is, but his off-the-charts catch radius is perhaps best in the league. Surely quarterback Michael Vick would be happy with that.
An NFL journeyman, Lloyd would provide sufficient talent for the next one or two seasons as the Eagles look to find younger talent to groom.