DeSean Jackson’s most recent public statements about his pending free agency did a fine job summing up the Redskins‘ offseason dilemma.
* He said Washington’s offense, as presently constituted, has great camaraderie and a significant upside, which seems accurate.
* He said he wants to remain in Washington, which is at least the politic thing to say.
* He said his recent production speaks for itself, and that this next contract will be big for his life, which makes sense for a 30-year-old speedster.
Which led to this equally fine observation from the free agent wide receiver.
“We’ve built the camaraderie, we’re very close to being a championship-winning team,” Jackson told Larry Michael on the team’s Redskins Nation program. “So as long as we’re able to keep the [pieces] to the puzzle together. … They’ve got a huge task in front of them, speaking on the front office here. But some how, some way, if they can make it happen, I think this team and this group of guys we have together could be very special down the road.”
That’s a pretty big if. A grand if. A monumental if.
The pieces he was referring to were himself and fellow free agent wideout Pierre Garcon, along with quarterback Kirk Cousins, whose future also remains unclear. You won’t find many predictions that all three of those men will be back in Ashburn, at least outside of Redskins Nation. At this point, it’s unclear whether even two of them will return. Garcon has said repeatedly that he’d like to stay in Washington, and Jackson said the same on Thursday.
“Biggest thing I can say, I think my numbers and my production on the field speaks for itself,” he told Michael. “So obviously I do want to still be here: family, my house, I have everything here. I don’t want to be in a transaction, moving and getting all that stuff together. So I’ll say first things first, I do want to be here, and hopefully we can make it work. But once again, this is a business. It’s the NFL. Things happen.
“But I’m just really excited about the opportunity I have to sit back, and now the ball’s kind of in my court a little bit,” he went on. “I can sit back and say huh, let’s maybe see what we can do, a two-year, three-year, four-year deal — maybe a 10. But I’m just excited. I’m gonna let my agent take care of all that, and really just sit back and whenever the offers come in, take the best offer. But obviously like I said, I do want to be here.”
Jackson said Washington Coach Jay Gruden has been texting him about his increased play-calling responsibilities, trying to “pull me back in.” He said he has “a great relationship with the coach, that the Redskins have “kind of built something here,” and that the team’s receiving corps has “a lot of upside.”
“So just really hoping we can keep that together and build on that, keep building,” he said.
Michael, allowing himself to dream, brought up the importance of bringing back Cousins with his receivers.
“I think that combination is awesome,” Jackson said. “It’s deadly. Definitely a lot of defensive coordinators don’t like seeing it. Kirk, obviously the past two years, he’s head over heels. He’s done some great things, obviously stats-wise, and it’s still a lot out there that we left, that we all feel as professionals we could be so much better. I don’t think no one’s content — if you asked him, if you asked Pierre, myself. There’s just so much more out there that we feel we can accomplish.”
Jackson also suggested that he’s proved his critics in Philadelphia were off-base.
“Coming from Philadelphia, the image they put out on me, I think I had three years to go out there and prove to everybody that no, he’s not that type of guy,” Jackson said. “He’s a team guy, he loves to obviously get the ball — what receiver do you know or do you want on your team that don’t want to get the ball? As far as how I am around the locker room, with my teammates, all the guys and the coaches, I think I proved and showed everybody: I haven’t gotten in trouble off the field, I’ve done everything, I’m a family man and just a man about business who wants to go out there and keep producing.”
“You’ve heard me talk about DeSean Jackson on this show many times,” Michael said after the interview. “I sure hope he remains a Washington Redskin. Sounds like he wants to. We’re gonna find out soon enough.”