The Eagles have placed the franchise tag on WR DeSean Jackson, the team announced on Thursday. He is the first player to receive the tag this offseason.
"We want DeSean to be an Eagle for the long haul and this is a step in the right direction to accomplish that," said Eagles GM Howie Roseman. "DeSean is a talented player and a proven playmaker in this league and we look forward to him continuing his career in Philadelphia. It's our understanding that he has the same desire. We will continue our efforts on getting a long-term deal done with him."
A second-round pick in 2008, Jackson is a two-time Pro Bowler with 229 catches for 4,085 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also has three rushing scores and four punt-return touchdowns. He is one of five players in NFL history with over 900 yards in each of his first four seasons. He went 58-961-4 receiving in 2011.
Teams have until March 5 to hand out the franchise designation. The Eagles have until July 16 to sign Jackson to a long-term contract or he will play the 2012 season on the franchise contract of one year, $9.4 million.
The way we see it
This is the result we've expected all along. The Eagles have talked up Jackson, praising his improved attitude down the stretch last season, and have said they want him back. Others have speculated he could be part of a sign-and-trade transaction, but those are a bit rare in the NFL. Could it happen? Absolutely — the Eagles need linebacker help and also have been mentioned as one of the teams perhaps willing to move up to select Baylor QB Robert Griffin III. Jackson is a valuable piece in terms of a trade. But he also could remain in Philly. By floating his name in a possible trade, the Eagles might be able to sign Jackson at less than the value he perceives to have on the open market. But franchising him ensures one of three results — he stays on a one-year deal (a holdout could be in the realm of possibilities with this result), he signs an extension or the Eagles peddle him away.