DeSean Jackson To Patriots? Why Signing Receiver Wouldn’t Make Sense

Jackson was released by the Rams on Tuesday


This year’s NFL trade deadline was such a dud that DeSean Jackson — and his release — was a point of conversation. And unsurprisingly, Patriots fans reacted to the receiver’s Los Angeles exit by calling on New England to make a play for the 34-year-old.

But, for multiple reasons, Jackson and the Patriots would not be a good match.

Trade rumors surrounded Jackson ahead of Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline, with the veteran wideout reportedly wanting a fresh start with a team willing to give him more playing time. No trade happened, but the Rams granted Jackson his release shortly after the 4 p.m. ET deadline arrived.

Los Angeles technically waived Jackson, giving teams 24 hours to enter claims for the speedy receiver. If Jackson goes unclaimed, he would become an unrestricted free agent. As of Tuesday night, there were no reports indicating any interest from the Patriots, who didn’t make any trades on deadline day.

New England probably will do its due diligence on Jackson, but it would be a surprise if Bill Belichick and Co. make an actual run at him. It’s just not a good fit.

At this point, Jackson is little more than an occasional deep threat, capable of running go routes and catching long balls every once in a while. That sounds great, but it’s not exactly a hallmark of the post-Tom Brady, Mac Jones-led offense. The Patriots would need Jackson to do what all Patriot receivers must do: master the playbook, develop timing and chemistry with Jones and run precise routes.

Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers all are further along in those areas than Jackson could dream of being at any point this season. You also could make a case that all three right now are better players than Jackson, who has just 31 catches for 616 yards and four touchdowns since the start of the 2019 season.

Here’s the other thing: The Patriots could’ve signed Jackson during the offseason but opted to spend big money on Agholor, who’s a perfectly capable deep threat when he’s on his game. Adding Jackson to the current receiver depth chart would create redundancy with Agholor, while also changing the roles of Bourne and Meyers. Is Jackson, at 34 years old, worth that?

It would be one thing if Jackson was willing to accept N’Keal Harry-level playing time, but we know he’s not. His desire for more targets fueled his asking the Rams for a trade.

Which brings us to our final point.

It’s somewhat concerning that Jackson, a player who never has won a championship and is at the end of his career, wanted to leave arguably the best team in football. Shouldn’t he have wanted to stay in Los Angeles and potentially play for a Lombardi Trophy?

Ultimately, it’s fair to question just how important winning is to Jackson. That doesn’t make him a bad person or a bad receiver, but it does make him the antithesis of the kind of player Belichick usually wants on his teams.

When you consider all the factors, it’s hard to envision Jackson landing with the Patriots, who simply don’t need him.

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