One month into this NFL season, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson was on pace for a career year. As the year ends, the 32-year-old reportedly has his eyes on the eject button from Tampa Bay.
Jackson is seeking a fresh start with a new team next season after a “verbal exchange” with Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter over the receiver’s lack of practice in Week 12 due to a hand injury, according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson and Jenna Laine.
The squabble reportedly occurred during a meeting between the two and Jameis Winston in an attempt to find common ground. Koetter was apparently frustrated by a perceived “lack of effort” from Jackson, who was a limited participant in practice that week.
Even without the Koetter confrontation, Jackson would be considered a probable departure for the Bucs this offseason. He’s owed a $10 million salary for next season, none of which is guaranteed, and a clean break is something both parties likely prefer.
DeSean Jackson’s up-and-down year
If there was a player who benefited from Ryan Fitzpatrick’s preposterous start to the season, it was Jackson. Playing in his 11th NFL season, Jackson reeled off 275 receiving yards and three touchdowns in the Bucs’ two first games, and had 424 yards after four games.
Since that hot start, Jackson has averaged just 43.8 receiving yards per game and grown frustrated over his use in Koetter’s offense and his chemistry with Jameis Winston, according to Anderson. Per ESPN, Winston is just 14-of-34 when throwing to Jackson.
Jackson has now posted his two lowest receiving totals of the season in the last two weeks, and probably isn’t likely to play this week after missing two days of practice with an Achilles injury. Even if the Bucs move on from both Koetter and Winston this offseason, it isn’t hard to see why the veteran might want a clean slate with a new organization.
What the Buccaneers could do without Jackson
Jackson was widely considered a candidate for release due to a strong pair of receivers already under contract in Tampa Bay.
Mike Evans is still entrenched as the team’s top receiver and sophomore Chris Godwin has displayed immense talent this year. Both players are major building blocks for the Bucs as the team seems likely headed for a rebuild after a turbulent 5-10 season.
Jackson’s talent as one of the league’s most well-known deep threats doesn’t completely overlap with Evans and Godwin, but paying $10 million for a third receiver when you probably won’t be contending is a luxury that the Bucs probably won’t need. Especially if that player is disgruntled with the organization.
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