2012 NFL Free Agents: How Much Money Does Eagles' DeSean Jackson Really Deserve?

Giorgos Kassakos@@Greek_QBAnalyst IFebruary 29, 2012

DeSean Jackson and the Eagles have not reach an agreement yet.
DeSean Jackson and the Eagles have not reach an agreement yet.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Only five days remain until the deadline for designating a franchise player, and the Philadelphia Eagles have not yet tagged DeSean Jackson.

The worst-case scenario for the Eagles is to lose Jackson without any compensation and that’s going to happen unless they agree on a new contract or they put the franchise tag on him.

The tag will cost the Eagles about $9.4 million, which is a lot of money, but will allow them to keep him for one more year or trade him to another team. But if the Eagles want to keep the Jackson for the long term, what do they have to offer him?

After Jackson held out from the 2011 training camp, it was obvious that he wanted a better contract. No doubt, he deserves more than just $555,000, which was his base salary in 2011. However, there is a widespread fear that he wants a contract similar to those of the highest paid wide receivers of the league.

Does DeSean Jackson deserve that amount of money? If not, how much should the Eagles offer him?

Last year, Jackson had the worst season of his professional career. He finished with 961 yards (22nd overall) and four touchdowns. Additionally, he was benched before the game with the Arizona Cardinals, for missing a team meeting and once more in the fourth quarter of the loss to the New England Patriots.

Do you offer top-five money to a player after performances like that? Definitely, you do not.

However, when this player has been one of the best performers of the team during the last four years and your offense is relying heavily on him, you have to pay him accordingly.

Brandon Marshall is in the top-five of the “highest paid wide receivers” list. He had a base salary of $6.5 million in 2011 and his total 2012 earnings will be over $10 million. Despite that, he scored only six touchdowns and was the tenth overall in receiving yards with 1,214.

The Eagles can’t afford a “Marshall” this time. No matter how much they want to keep Jackson, they‘re not going to pay him this kind of money. If Jackson wants so much, he will have a hard time finding a team.

Personally, I think that a long term (six or seven years long) deal around $40-$45 million would be fair. Jackson will secure his future and the Eagles will keep a player that has proved his worth. If that is not feasible, then DeSean has already played his last game for Philadelphia.