Originally posted on Philly Sports World  |  Last updated 3/5/12

DeSean Jackson, wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles holds his future and possible the future of this Eagles incarnation in his hands this season if he winds up signing and playing out his franchise tender.

So the Philadelphia Eagles have finally made the move that everyone expected, and franchise tagged DeSean Jackson. So the big question is what will the Eagles do with him now?

According to Eagles’ GM Howie Roseman, the Philadelphia Eagles have every intention of signing DeSean Jackson to a long term contract. However, if you actually look at the situation rationally, you’ll realize they have already had a full year to do just that. Ever since the NFL ratified a new collective bargaining agreement, the Eagles could have locked Jackson up and kept him an Eagle for the foreseeable future. But they have not done that.

I am quite sure that part of that is because of agent Drew Rosenhaus’ assertion that Jackson is a top 5 Wide Receiver, while the Eagles believe his value lies somewhere below that. But as I have laid out previously, I also understand the Eagles’ position. It’s hard to commit millions of guaranteed dollars to a player who may be a hit away from the end of his career.

In franchising DeSean Jackson, the Eagles have committed top 5 money to a receiver who did not quite play like a top 5 receiver last year, and though he had a solid year, was a bit of a disappointment. But, there is solace for the Eagles that they did not commit top 5 money beyond this year. Jackson got his due, and the Eagles still have some control in this situation.

That pretty much makes this the put up or shut up year for Jackson. He has all along contended he deserves big money, and now he has it. There are no more excuses. There are no more distractions for him. Jackson must go out and prove on the field that the Eagles should pay for a longer term.

Jackson also needs to prove that he can be a reliable teammate and that he is willing to do the things that are necessary to help his team win.

I will never under value DeSean Jackson’s ability. What Jackson does to opposing defenses is something that unquantifiable. He means far more to the Eagles’ offense than most know and understand. It’s his attitude and the way he has gone about things in the past that make me question what his place is in this organization. Those things can also undo and undermine what Jackson brings to the team.

With all of that all too well chronicled, the difference in this situation seems to be DeSean Jackson’s attitude. Had Jackson reported to camp on time last year and worked hard during camp, he probably would have a multi-year deal in place already. Instead, Jackson held out of camp and took his frustration with his lack of a deal public. He further compounded the situation by his short-arming of passes and diva-like behavior on the field in the regular season.

The Eagles could still wind up attempting to trade Jackson, in hopes that they could net something significant in return.  I don’t really see that happening though since the Eagles have kind of undermined themselves by suspending Jackson and benching him during a game last season.  Those are not things that show that a team are in full support of a player, and other teams would certainly bring that up if there were trade talks to commence.  Ultimately, I believe this will hinge upon which DeSean Jackson takes the field this season.  Will it be the player we saw explode onto the scene in 2008?  Or will it be the disgruntled diva that we got to see last season?  Time will tell on this, but it’s hard to envision the Eagles offense (read Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy) being as prolific without the threat of DeSean Jackson on the field.

Jackson is the one who turned fans and an organization into critics, and now, he’s the only one who can silence them.

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