The New York Jets have lacked a consistent, reliable and balanced offense during head coach Rex Ryan's tenure, and general manager John Idzik has taken steps this offseason to address that side of the ball.
Now that dynamic dual-threat quarterback Michael Vick is in the fold, there is even more of an incentive for the Jets to bring in Philadelphia Eagles star receiver DeSean Jackson in a trade. If Vick indeed wants to give himself the best opportunity to beat out 2013 second-round pick Geno Smith for the starting job under center, he should lobby the front office to acquire Jackson through a trade or if and when he's released.
It seems insane for the Eagles to even consider releasing a player of Jackson's caliber. ESPN's Mike Greenberg is puzzled by the development:
But a source tells Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that Philadelphia will indeed cut him if it can't find a trade partner:
Could Jets be in hunt for DeSean Jackson? Source tells me: "Philly is trading him or cutting him.That's a fact. They don't want him" #nyj— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) March 22, 2014
Jets owner Woody Johnson even came out publicly to declare the franchise's interest in Jackson but implied that a trade may not be in the cards and that he must fit in chemistry-wise, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:
Woody Johnson says of a potential DeSean Jackson trade "we're always interested in talent." But insinuates trade not their best option.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 23, 2014
Woody Johnson mention, of DeSean, interest "at the right price" and "if he fits into the culture of our locker room." Questions persist.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 23, 2014
What should the Jets do in regard to DeSean Jackson?
Jackson just had 82 receptions for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns this past season, and the Eagles don't have much depth beyond him at the wide receiver position. If they're willing to dump him, Idzik and Co. should be right there to snag him.
With the job Ryan has done defensively in keeping the Jets competitive, he deserves a more competent offense than he's had in years past. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg held the same position in Philadelphia and knows how to tailor his system to accommodate the unique skills Vick and Jackson bring to the gridiron.
What skills do they bring, exactly? To sum them up in one word: explosiveness.
If there's an opportunity to get DeSean, I'm pretty sure the New York Jets fans would be in favor of that. But who knows, it takes a lot to make a trade happen (with) all of the intricacies of a contract. It's not for us as players to decide. But hopefully everything will work out for DeSean. If he ends up in New York, we'll be happy, just as happy as he will be. But who knows, you can't say.
Signing free-agent wideout Eric Decker this offseason was big step in the right direction, and a deep pool of skill players should allow New York to acquire another playmaker in the first or second round of the 2014 draft.
However, the opportunity to bring in a deep threat like Jackson—someone who has an innate rapport with Vick—doesn't come along all that often. Due to the aforementioned draft depth, teams should be reluctant to trade a higher draft pick for Jackson as compensation, so it's likely that he'll be cut.
Jackson will command a hefty price tag whether he's traded or if he's released, since he produced like a No. 1 receiver in 2013, but the Jets have to take the plunge.
It takes a while for receivers to adjust in the pros, save for the special talents in recent years such as Cincinnati's A.J. Green. Picking someone in the first round doesn't guarantee to help the Jets win this coming season, so grabbing a proven veteran like Jackson is worth it, especially to take pressure off Decker, who many don't view as a true No. 1 option.
But for the sake of his own future, Vick must find a way to assert his influence within the organization at this very early stage in his stint in the Big Apple and get Jackson to join him. Vick isn't the player he once was, with injuries having piled up and his decision-making resulting in too many turnovers.
Since Ryan prefers to ground-and-pound, set up play-action plays and win with defense, the situation would be ideal for Vick and Jackson to blow the top off of opposing secondaries with Jackson's speed and Vick's arm. It could be a combination that allows Vick to give one last push at a Pro Bowl—and perhaps a Lombardi Trophy—in his career and put the recent struggles in Philadelphia behind him.