When the Philadelphia Eagles began shopping DeSean Jackson, it came as a bit of a surprise. After all, he was the team's most dynamic threat at the wide receiver position and had a huge year in Chip Kelly's offense.
What came next was shocking.
On Friday, the Eagles released a short statement signifying the end of Jackson's tenure with the franchise. The statement read, "After careful consideration during this off-season, the Philadelphia Eagles have decided to part ways with DeSean Jackson. The team informed him of his release today."
Just before the team announced Jackson's release, a troubling piece of news regarding the wide receiver surfaced. According to Eliot Shorr-Parks and A.J. Perez of NJ.com, it was made known that Jackson allegedly had ties to gangs in southern California.
Jackson vehemently denied the allegations, according to a statement posted on Facebook by ESPN's Adam Schefter:
First I would like to thank the Eagles organization, the Eagles fans and the city of Philadelphia for my time in Philly. I would also like to thank coach Andy Reid for bringing me in. Secondly, I would like to address the misleading and unfounded reports that my release has anything to do with any affiliation that has been speculated surrounding the company I keep off of the field. I would like to make it very clear that I am not and never have been part of any gang. I am not a gang member and to speculate and assume that I am involved in such activity off the field is reckless and irresponsible. I work very hard on and off the field and I am a good person with good values. I am proud of the accomplishments that I have made both on and off the field. I have worked tirelessly to give back to my community and have a positive impact on those in need. It is unfortunate that I now have to defend myself and my intentions. These reports are irresponsible and just not true. I look forward to working hard for my new team. God Bless.
Even though Jackson continues to strike down the accusations, they still pose a lingering concern for any team interested in the veteran wide receiver.
Jackson needs to right the ship in a big way—whether these rumors are true or false. He must clear his image with impeccable behavior on and off the field.
After all, it appears as though these allegations are not the only reason for Jackson's release, according to a tweet from Pete Prisco of CBS Sports:
Sure sounds like the gang stuff with DeSean Jackson had no bearing on his release. Being late. Missing meetings did. And it should— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) March 29, 2014
The best way to do this is to join a team that has a strong locker room and plenty of veteran leadership. He needs teammates to look after him and attempt to steer him away from any potential bad decisions.
Of the interested teams, only one franchise makes sense for the troubled wideout—and many that don't.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com confirmed the team interested in Jackson with this tweet:
Going to Oakland will not be in Jackson's best interests. Sure, the team could use his on-field services in a big way; however, this is an organization in the midst of rebuilding, and Jackson could be seen as a detriment to that process.
Also, relocating so close to the area of his alleged gang ties could spark more controversy and become a huge distraction.
Both the Redskins and Bills are in dire need of another playmaker on offense; although, both teams are young and lacking in veteran leadership. Each features inexperienced head coaches. This doesn't exactly look like an ideal situation.
Source tells me any Bills interest in DeSean Jackson would be for a predetermined price. Bills won't get into a bidding war.— Tim Graham (@ByTimGraham) March 29, 2014
The Chiefs may make the most sense here. Andy Reid is as familiar with Jackson as anyone, and veteran leaders like Alex Smith, Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali provide a great locker room atmosphere.
Jackson will fit easily into a very familiar system, and his prowess on the field will be reignited immediately. Kansas City gives him the best shot for success on the field and off of it as well.
There may be some more teams that enter the running for the wide receiver in the coming days; however, as it stands right now, Jackson's options are limited. A sound, mature decision by the veteran must be made.