2012 Philadelphia Eagles Predictions: 5 Wideouts Who Can Replace DeSean Jackson
With this said, it's reasonable to say he's undoubtedly deserving of a new deal to replace his rookie contract that's running on fumes.
Every team in the National Football League doesn't say "no" to a deep-ball/special teams threat of his caliber. If Jackson were to depart from Michael Vick and company, these are 5 potential wideouts that could fill his void.
The Best (and Most Unlikely) Scenario: Mike Wallace (PIT)
#17 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is the ideal replacement for DeSean Jackson. Both provide that deep threat that Michael Vick thrives on. Mike burns safeties league-wide with an absurd 4.28 40 yd. dash time, and also has two inches on DeSean Jackson.
Wallace doesn't lack the swag that D-Jack charmed Philadelphia with throughout his four-season tenure, and he also doesn't have the diva-esque attributes that Jackson displayed in segments of his Philadelphia career.
Plus, Wallace doubled the TD output of DeSean Jackson this season, and caught for just under 1,200 yards this season. At only 25 years of age, he has a huge upside to become a top-notch wide receiver in the league for years to come.
Unfortunately, Mike Wallace is a Restricted Free Agent, and there have been no signs in recent time that he would depart from his guys of Heinz Field.
Wrong Places, Wrong Times: Brandon Lloyd (STL)
Lloyd has arguably one of the most underrated pair of hands in the NFL right now. He's played for a bad string of teams in San Francisco, Washington, Denver and most recently, the St. Louis Rams. All of them weren't overwhelmingly successful franchises at the times he played there.
Lloyd has had a dependable pair of hands no matter the location he's played or the success that those teams have had. He's made ESPN Top Ten Nominee level plays (hello, Youtube). Unfortunately, he doesn't have any team victories or standout physically gifted attributes. Even though he caught more passes (70 to 58), and had more TDs (five to four) than DeSean Jackson, Lloyd doesn't have the raw talent that Jackson provides. Lloyd isn't a speedster, a vertically gifted red-zone target and is definitely not a bulky receiver.
It doesn't help that he is 30 years old, either.
Risk and Be Rewarded: Reggie Wayne (IND)
Does the man even need the description?
Well, here goes nothing. Wayne has accounted for 73 TDs in 11 seasons in the NFL, has 862 career receptions, averages over 1,000 yards receiving per season (11,708 throughout his longevity) and by the way, he has a ring.
Heck, during this abysmal 2011-2012 season the Colts manifested, he managed to snag 75 balls for 960 yards and score 4 TDs. With Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky under center. The man has done it all.
The downside: He's played a long time in order to have done it all. He doesn't play like he has in the past, before he was 33 years old, and before he racked up 11 seasons total. Plus, the man caught balls thrown from (arguably) the greatest quarterback of the past decade: Peyton Manning. Michael Vick is not, and will never be, Peyton Manning. Sorry Philly.
The Anti-DeSean: Wes Welker (NE)
If Wes surprisingly departs a top-notch sports market in Boston, Foxborough's Gillette Stadium, the best coach of the past decade (Bill Belichick) and a multi-super bowl winning QB (Tom Brady), and on the off-hand chance decides to take his talents to the Linc, Philadelphia would play differently.
Disregarding his size, Wes Welker is the Anti-DeSean. Sure, Wes Welker is a mere 5'9'' and weighs under 190 pounds. Yes, Jackson is actually taller than him. But, Wes Welker is a mini-monster. Wes doesn't play as a deep-ball threat, but is the master of route running and always finds the gaps underneath in a zone defense. The play never concludes once he catches the ball—he manages to gain 6.2 YAC on average. That's something that made Tom Brady smile, and could make Michael Vick do so as well.
Mentally and emotionally, adding Wes Welker would alter the chemistry in the locker room entirely—but not in a bad way. Welker has experienced the taste of that humble-pie brought to him by Tom & Bill. He isn't a WR-diva that the Eagles' front office has employed in the past. He has no 'swag' (He's a 5'9 white man for god's sake). This man solely brings class, effort and a desire to win on a week-to-week basis.
A Great (and Potential) Replacement: Vincent Jackson (SD)
No, no relation.
But yes, yes, a perfect replacement.
The 6'5", 230-pound beast of the West Coast is an unrestricted Free Agent. The man tacked over 1,100 yards receiving and 9 TDs this 2011 season. Philadelphia might be a bit unfamiliar with Vincent's game because he plays on the West Coast more than half of the season; those games generally aren't televised on CBS or Fox in Philadelphia. He averaged more yards per catch than DeSean this season (18.4 YPC to 16.6 YPC), and had more than double the amount of TDs D-Jack had in 2011.
Did I mention his build? Oh wait, sorry, I couldn't get over it. He has an inch on Eagles TE Brent Celek, and has a 39-inch vertical leap.
This certainly helps out a mediocre 15th best Red-Zone offense in the league (they score a TD 51.5 percent of the time they are in the Red Zone) when you can throw over nine-and-a-half feet high, and the man can still come down with the ball.
Different Isn't Necessarily Bad: The Eagles Minus DeSean
If Jackson decides to take his tremendous talents elsewhere, it will absolutely rearrange the image we see as the Philadelphia Eagles offense.
Philadelphia's offense will no longer live and die off of the deep ball. A new receiver will have the opportunity to build drives along with Jason Avant, Steve Smith and Jeremy Maclin. And to reiterate, the offense will no longer be reliant on the deep-ball. This team will finally have the opportunity to become a traditional West Coast offense by throwing often and creating even more production after the catch. A dream come true for both Andy Reid, and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.
An offense without the blooming Californian distraction would not be a bad thing for a team that's coming off of an unprecedented disappointment of a season. Putting a fresh catalyst into the cauldron that is the Eagles offense might spark an energy Philadelphia Fans didn't see in 2011.