“The Bucs have never had a playmaker like DeSean Jackson.”

“I’ll tell you one thing, Jameis Winston won’t be able to overthrow a guy like him.”

“Just think of how much his presence will help someone like Mike Evans.”

Those were some of the quotes I heard many times back in February of 2017. On the eve of the league’s new year, there were all kinds of reports that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were looking to make a big splash in terms of player acquisition via free agency. Their hope was that adding a few key players to the 9-7 team they fielded before with first-year head coach Dirk Koetter would turn them into a playoff favorite for the following season.

The kingpin, if you will, of those hopeful acquisitions was wide receiver DeSean Jackson.

In the end, Bucs general manager Jason Licht got his man and inked Jackson to a three-year, $33.5-million deal on March 9th of 2017. From that moment on, you could feel Jackson’s presence in the Buccaneers fan base. It’s no secret that this franchise has been devoid of offensive talent for most of its existence. Their most memorable years involve defensive-centric football teams, and even at their best, offensively, their household names have only come in handfuls.

But, Jackson felt different.

In an age of football that has since been shaped by things like the Madden video game franchises and fantasy football, Jackson’s name was known not just by Eagles or Redskins fans when he was a player there. Jackson was known and has been known throughout his entire career around the league as a rare player to have.

Those types of players just don’t end up in Tampa Bay.

Bucs WR DeSean Jackson - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Bucs WR DeSean Jackson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Jackson did, and that’s why the buzz for him was felt as quickly as the ink could dry. Soon after that we saw Photoshop edits with pictures of Jackson already wearing a Bucs jersey. There were video game simulations of Winston throwing him deep passes for touchdowns. This felt like a dream; one that was too good to be true; one Bucs fans never get to have.

Fast forward to the end of Jackson’s first year as a Buc and the dream-like elements only seem to exist in the fact that they aren’t reality the way people thought they would be. Jackson currently has 50 catches for 668 yards and three touchdowns. The often-bragged about yards-per-catch stat that Jackson has held so high throughout his career is going to finish at its lowest average (13.3 avg.) since he came into the league in 2008. If he isn’t able to go in this final week, he’ll finish with his lowest touchdown total since 2012, and it will be the lowest total in a season in which he’s played from than 11 games.

Jackson has also had his name in the news for things outside the white lines of the game as well. He, along with fellow wide receiver Mike Evans, were the two Bucs players who opted to kneel for the national anthem as an individual part of Colin Kaepernick’s initiative to raise awareness for social injustice.

There have also been rumors around that Jackson’s lack of production with Winston gave way to friction between the two.

And finally we now have the most recent report of a vehicle in his name being involved in a one-car crash with bullets and marijuana inside.

All of this naturally raises the question: Was signing DeSean Jackson a mistake?

Let’s dive into this and debunk some narratives piece by piece.

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]
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Guy Kidsworth
Guy Kidsworth
4 years ago

Unfortunately, you cannot teach throwing the long ball. You either have it or you don’t. Koetter had Matt Ryan and Julio Jones when he was OC Atlanta. Winston reminds me of Trent Dilfer. In a game, can you remember any long pass where Winston connected in stride on a long ball (except for a couple wide open connections to Howard)? “Explosives” is a joke word when it comes to this team. How can the arguably fastest receiver in the NFL go down in receiving stats when supposedly we had the most offensive weapons of any NFL franchise?

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  Guy Kidsworth
4 years ago

Strange how Jameis hasn’t had any deep ball problems since coming back from his injury. Guess you can teach it.

Jlog
Jlog
4 years ago

Jackson is not the problem between Koetter and Winston is the reason he didn’t put up good numbers. Fitz has some success with him mainly because Fitz is better at surveying the field than lock and fire Winston. Plus Winston make throws with no regard for his receivers at all and Jon Gruden pointed out on the Monday night game.

Horse
Horse
4 years ago

Tr

CrustyClam
CrustyClam
4 years ago

Prima Donna, not worth the money/ per performance. Never seen him be incredible compared to the willingness of our second and third string boys. See ya…..

surferdudes
4 years ago

Hind sight is 20 20. Better pass rush, better pass protection wins games. Resigning Gholston, Baker, keeping Martin at full price. The scales are tipping against Licht. As for Koetter, did every throw to Jax have to be a home run? Big bodied Godwin, and Evans on the outside with Jax in the slot, did we see any of that? I know I saw more quick screens to Humphries then Jax, could he have been used better? Questions we can debate, plenty of blame to go around. The Glazer’s will ultimately decide if their money was spent well, if Licht… Read more »

Horse
Horse
4 years ago

No, Jackson was not a mistake in signing him because there was plenty of money, and we needed another receiver who could compliment Evans. Winston has proven he can throw the deep pass as accurate as most quarterbacks when he’s healthy. Play calling hasn’t helped at times. My focus still is on fixing the defense which I believe is more important. There’s more work needing to be done and will require focusing more on the defense in the draft.

buc run
buc run
4 years ago

Agree with this article. Looking forward to Gruden coming in and using our many offensive weapons correctly.

Plank
Plank
4 years ago

I think we can roll with Godwin .. I don’t think it was a mistake for what we wanted to be or do, but the results certainly didn’t turn out the way we wanted. I say let him go and use that money for some EDGE rushers.

76Buc
76Buc
4 years ago

So what was the protest and what was the problem? Most of the NFL
protestors were cop hating, country hating, rich and spoiled. What was his issue?

seat26
seat26
4 years ago

Jackson is fine. We need offensive line help and a running game. We need to come out of the next free agency grab with some help on both lines and to hit it hard in the Draft with an edge rusher and corner.

skipper
skipper
4 years ago

Plank, did you read the article? Jackson’s contract is front loaded.
76 Buc, are you really that dense?

e
e
4 years ago

I still feel like there hasn’t been an adequate explanation as to why the Bucs went from the last five games last year to this entire season… I’m sure that it’s a combination of things, including a disruption the chemistry of last years young, but improving team. Is that Jackson? Is that Baker (who I thought would be great)? Is it that they are in a killer division this year? Are the Bucs better off “slotting” themselves for success down the road by building through the draft and not signing big FAs? That way, as the Brees eventually retires and… Read more »

Freeman Strickland
Freeman Strickland
4 years ago

Jackson was not the problem. The offensive line should have been the priority in the off season. They did not get Whitworth in free agency, and they did not take Bolles or Ramczyk in the draft. With better blocking, Godwin would have been what they needed at WR, and Jackson would have been icing on the cake. The offensive line must create a credible run game so that the pass protection can hold up long enough to create completions. Winston missed passes when Jackson was open, and Jackson missed some catches. But, too often, it seemed that the defense did… Read more »

scubog
scubog
Reply to  Freeman Strickland
4 years ago

I agree with your assessment Freeman. With absolutely no running threat and seemingly not even much of a token willingness to run the football and typically behind on the scoreboard; opponents did exactly as you said. They went all out defending the pass, often putting immediate pressure in Winston’s face. Too late to search for Jackson downfield and even when seen and semi-open, unable to use good mechanics due to the pressure. I could just hear the opponent’s Defensive Coordinators chuckling over the journeyman Rodgers, the mediocre Barber and the soon to be out of the league, 2.0 yards per… Read more »

GoldsonAges
GoldsonAges
4 years ago

The last couple games without DJax Winston has looked like a Pro Bowler. Everyone knows DJax is a diva WR so this is what we should have accepted. DJax has to go he is going to ruin Winston.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  GoldsonAges
4 years ago

It’s clear as day to me that this offense runs better without Jackson in there. Why, I am not sure, but even the last couple of deep balls to Jackson, he didn’t even make an effort for. The last two games I haven’t seen Jameis have any troubles completing the deep ball. Now maybe it was Jameis being injured and then desean getting inured, or maybe the two just need more time for chemistry issues since Jackson didn’t come to all the OTA’s. But it’s clear this offense runs better without him.

Pete Wood
Pete Wood
4 years ago

Signing Jackson was not a mistake. He’s not Vincent Jackson, but I’ll take him. Bad play calling and an injured QB led to the Bucs not taking full advantage of his talents. I wonder if he and O J Howard go out for a beer after the game sometimes and compare notes about how the coach didn’t use them properly. Both were underused. Ultimately the best players come from the draft, not from free agency. I suspect that Chris Godwin is going to replace Jackson as the number two wide receiver next year. Jackson will have a bigger role than… Read more »

Pete Wood
Pete Wood
4 years ago

Signing Jackson was not a mistake. He’s not Vincent Jackson, but I’ll take him. Bad play calling and an injured QB led to the Bucs not taking full advantage of his talents. I wonder if he and O J Howard go out for a beer after the game sometimes and compare notes about how the coach didn’t use them properly. Both were underused. Ultimately the best players come from the draft, not from free agency. I suspect that Chris Godwin is going to replace Jackson as the number two wide receiver next year. Jackson will have a bigger role than… Read more »

Ja'crispy
Ja'crispy
4 years ago

We should definatly keep Jackson. I feel that Winston and Jackson just need a little more time together. Winstons injury didn’t help the on field chemistry between them. I also strongly believe Keotter didn’t call the right plays to really get Jackson going. One more offseason and a new coach to call better plays and we could be a top 10 offense.

Buc-Up
Buc-Up
4 years ago

Winston likes to throw guys open. Koetter didn’t design plays that cleared open space for Jackson to catch it on the run and use his speed to get RAC yardage. Or how about utilizing his speed on comeback routes. Kind of like what Tom Brady does with Brandon Cooks who has similar size and speed. The routes our guys ran always seemed to have them in the same area, so the opponents defense could make plays on the ball.