“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
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.