WR Jackson heading back to Eagles, per sources

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have agreed to trade wide receiver DeSean Jackson to the Philadelphia Eagles, sources told ESPN’s Dianna Russini, confirming earlier reports.

For Jackson, it will be his second stint with the Eagles. Philadelphia drafted him in the second round of the 2008 draft. He spent his first six seasons in Philly, where he averaged 59 catches, more than 1,000 yards and five touchdowns per year. He was unceremoniously cut by coach Chip Kelly in March 2014, following a career year in which Jackson posted 1,332 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.

Nevertheless, he has told people close to him that he has interest in returning to Philadelphia.

Last month, new Bucs coach Bruce Arians had a long sit-down with Jackson, a conversation Arians said at the NFL scouting combine “couldn’t have gone better.” But general manager Jason Licht said, “I’d say all options are on the table,” when asked about Jackson, while also praising his speed.

Jackson had a direct conversation with the Buccaneers’ front office over the weekend about his status and trade considerations, a source told ESPN’s Josina Anderson.

Signed as a free agent in 2017, Jackson was brought in to give the Bucs a true vertical speed threat they had been lacking on offense. But Jackson and quarterback Jameis Winston struggled to develop chemistry on the field, and Jackson grew increasingly frustrated by it. It was only magnified when Ryan Fitzpatrick stepped in as starter.

In two seasons with the Bucs, Winston posted a 48.9 completion percentage targeting Jackson, while Fitzpatrick posted a 67.2 completion percentage when targeting Jackson. This, and Fitzpatrick’s 1,230-yard passing performance in the first three games of 2018, led Jackson to publicly campaign for Fitzpatrick to remain the starter when Winston returned from suspension.

Jackson became frustrated when Winston continued to start, leading Jackson to request a trade prior to the October 2018 trade deadline. Winston was benched midway through Tampa Bay’s Week 8 game against the Cincinnati Bengals before regaining his starting job midway through the Week 11 loss to the New York Giants.

Even with his struggles with Winston, Jackson averaged 15.85 yards per reception with the Bucs in 2017 and 2018. His career 17.42 yards-per-catch average is second-most in the NFL since 2008. Jackson’s 34 career receiving touchdowns on plays of 20 or more air yards is also the most of any player in the league since 2008.

In 2018, Jackson caught 41 passes for 774 yards and four touchdowns. He broke Jerry Rice’s record for most touchdown catches of 60-plus yards. He also became the 47th player in NFL history to eclipse 10,000 receiving yards.

Information from ESPN’s Jenna Laine and Tim McManus was used in this report.

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