Wednesday, March 14, 2012

DJax and professionalism

Until DeSean Jackson agreed to terms Wednesday on a five-year extension, the last Eagle to get a monster contract after playing chicken with the front office was Brian Westbrook.
Reward for professionalism: $51 million.

The media relations staff cringed when the Villanova University running back reluctantly signed a restricted free agent tender, stepped up to the podium and unloaded on the organization,  saying among other things, he no longer would play for "chump change."

Westbrook got paid. And sure, it helped that the Eagles were so angry with Terrell Owens, who they eventually kicked off the team, that Westbrook got his deal in 2005.

So, the idea that professionalism gets Eagles players rewarded sooner, rather than later, is overrated. If the Eagles think a player can help, they pay him.

In the case of Jackson, they let some fairly significant issues slide. Like Jackson's 12-day holdout from training camp. His one-game suspension for missing a team meeting. The unenthusiastic effort against the Patriots that got him benched. 

In the end Jackson wanted to be with the Eagles, the Eagles believed he could help, and they paid for it. 

And it looks like Jackson took a bit of a hometown discount compared to what Pierre Garcon got from the Redskins, although the latter switched teams.

Among other questions, you have to wonder if Jackson will be able to turn it on as easily as it seemed he turned it off last year. You have to wonder if the slightly built receiver who weighs about 165 pounds can hold up if called to go across the middle. (The rules changes penalizing contact on defenseless players should help.)

And remember, professionalism is in the eye of the beholder.

Follow Bob Grotz on Twitter.


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