DeSean Jackson Trade Makes Philadelphia Eagles the NFC East’s Most Explosive Passing Attack
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: DeSean Jackson
- Ian Hartitz breaks down what the reported DeSean Jackson trade means for the wide receiver, the Eagles and Buccaneers from a fantasy football perspective.
Football never sleeps, even in the middle of March. Draft analysis will have to wait, because free agency is finally here!
We have you covered with fantasy analysis on all of the week’s key signings here, but we’ll dig deeper into the impact of bigger moves, including DeSean Jackson’s reported trade to the Philadelphia Eagles.
What follows is a breakdown of the fantasy football impact of D-Jax in Philadelphia, as well as how the Buccaneers will move forward without one of the league’s best vertical threats.
What It Means for Philadelphia
The move makes all the sense in the world for the Eagles.
Their 2017 Super Bowl winning offense was made up of the following pass-game components:
- No. 1 outside receiver: Alshon Jeffery
- Receiving-friendly tight end: Zach Ertz
- Competent receiving running back: Corey Clement
- Shifty slot receiver: Nelson Agholor
- Vertical field stretchers: Torrey Smith and Mack Hollins
This formula helped enable both Carson Wentz and Nick Foles to career years behind one of the league’s best pass-blocking offense lines. However, things weren’t as smooth in 2018 when Smith was released, and then Hollins and newly-signed Mike Wallace missed nearly the entire season due to injuries.
The lack of a vertical threat in the Eagles offense made it tougher for Jeffery and Ertz to operate in the intermediate areas of the field. This concern should be alleviated now that Jackson is in town, as he’s quite literally made every quarterback he’s ever played with more efficient.
QB yards per attempt with vs. without DeSean Jackson #SpeedKills
Donovan McNabb: 7.44 Y/A with vs. 7.02 Y/A without
Mike Vick: 7.79 vs. 6.44
Nick Foles: 8.13 vs. 6.58
Kirk Cousins: 8.42 vs. 7.53
Jameis Winston: 7.81 vs. 7.7
Ryan Fitzpatrick: 7.91 vs. 6.68 pic.twitter.com/1G0kGf6Lbm
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) March 11, 2019
D-Jax has been the NFL’s premier field-stretcher since entering the league. He has 40 catches of 50-plus yards since 2008, which is more than six teams during that span according to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Dave Zangaro.
It remains to be seen how many targets Jackson will command in the Eagles offense. I’d expect Jeffery and Ertz to continue to work as the top two options, but D-Jax could still get plenty of work if the team ultimately decides to release Agholor.
The decision to cut Agholor wouldn’t leave the Eagles with any dead cap. Plus the Eagles’ best bet for success on offense might be more two-tight end sets featuring both Ertz and 2018 second-round pick Dallas Goedert, who has emerged as the most efficient target of Carson Wentz’s young career.
The Eagles suddenly boast the most explosive passing attack in the NFC East.
What It Means for Tampa Bay
Happy Chris Godwin szn everyone!
D-Jax missed six games over the last two seasons. Chris Godwin's lines in those:
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) March 11, 2019
Adam Humphries is reportedly expected to sign with the Titans, so it remains to be seen who will emerge as the Buccaneers’ starting slot receiver. Regardless, Godwin and Mike Evans could see an increase in their overall targets.
Godwin is particularly intriguing considering he’s a 6-foot-1, 209-pound receiver with a SPARQ-x score in the 95th-percentile among all wide receivers. He’s certainly capable of working as Bruce Arians’ new version of Larry Fitzgerald from the inside.
Arians loves to take more downfield shots than just about any other play-caller in the league, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him attempt to land former Cardinals receiver John Brown or former Chargers field-stretcher Tyrell Williams.
Don’t expect the Tampa Bay pass offense to change much despite the absence of D-Jax. As Arians loves to say: No risk it, no biscuit.