Now that DeSean Jackson is a free agent after the Philadelphia Eagles cut ties with the California product, every team—including the Cincinnati Bengals—will be linked to him in some fashion until he finds a new home.
It’s easy—and perhaps lazy—to throw out the “Marvin Lewis loves a rehab project” narrative any time a troubled player hits the open market, but it’s a bit different with Jackson.
Often times there is not a personal connection between the troubled player and Lewis, so the pursuit makes zero sense.
This time is different. Joe Reedy, formerly of the Cincinnati Enquirer, has the details:
Marvin Lewis’ comments about DeSean Jackson from November of 2009, when everyone was still saying the organization was out of its mind for taking Jerome Simpson over Jackson (and for that you can blame a certain former offensive coordinator).
Said Lewis: “No. DeSean’s a great player. I grew up with DeSean’s mom. DeSean’s grandfather was my minister as a young kid growing up. He went to Long Beach Poly, and I coached at Long Beach State, so I know everybody there.”
Reedy goes on to say that none of this means Jackson will wind up in Cincinnati, but it’s a good enough reason to not 100 percent rule out the possibility, either.
The fit makes sense. Cincinnati just lost Andrew Hawkins, but A.J. Green, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu still round out the receiving corps at the moment. But Jackson would obviously come in and start, likely eating up most of Sanu’s playing time — and the idea of Jackson and Green on the same field has to give some defenses nightmares.
What may override the pursuit of Jackson entirely has nothing to do with fit, but the almighty dollar. According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, Jackson’s next deal will either be massive, or of the one-year prove it variety:
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, it’s very possible that one team that views Jackson as the last piece of the puzzle will make a significant offer that covers more than one season — and that possibly pays Jackson (between bonus and salary) as much or more than he was due to earn in Philly for 2014.
If it’s a one-year deal, look for it to possibly be in the range of $6 million or $7 million.
Say no team comes calling with a huge offer and Jackson has to settle for a one-year deal with reasonable number. What’s to say the Bengals would not have an interest? What’s to say Jackson would not want to go somewhere known for rehabbing player’s images — and have a chance for a ring to boot?
It’s probably all too good to be true, especially with Cincinnati more concerned with extending its own guys (as it should be). But as Reedy notes, let’s not be so quick to rule out the possibility.