The Los Angeles Rams have had a busy week leading up to the NFL trade deadline. On Monday, they finalized a trade to snag Von Miller away from the Denver Broncos. The Rams had also been seeking a trade partner for the services of DeSean Jackson. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, if the Rams can’t find a trade for Jackson, they’ll likely release him anyway. So if I’m a general manager interested in Jackson, why would I trade for him in the first place? I already know you’re going to move on from him, whether it’s via trade or not.
We see this scenario every year in both the NFL and NBA. In the NBA, this type of transaction usually centers around the buyout market later in the season. In the NFL, players can be cut, and contracts voided at any time, so there is no buyout market in football. But this whole notion of “if we can’t trade the player, we’ll just cut him anyway” rarely works out for the team with said player. The word almost always gets out that a player is going to be released if trade attempts fall through, so other teams just wait and see.
Jackson was supposed to be the Rams’ consistent deep threat in the passing attack with Matthew Stafford this year. Things haven’t exactly worked out that way through the first half of the season, and so Jackson recently asked the team to let him walk. The Rams sought to trade Jackson and had no luck. So here we are, after the trade deadline, and Jackson is still a Ram. This means Jackson will get his wish and should be released by week’s end, if not sooner.
The veteran receiver will be 35 in December. In seven games this season, Jackson has eight catches for 221 yards and a touchdown. I’m almost certain the Rams knew there wouldn’t be much interest in Jackson on the trade market, especially after teams found out they plan to let him walk either way. I know there are waiver wires and all this other nonsense involved, but I don’t think you need to let the world know you’re so eager to let a player go. The Rams, like most teams, thought maybe they’d be able to bamboozle another franchise into giving up assets and no one bit. Having a hot commodity is one thing, but Jackson’s played just 100 snaps this year, less than two games’ worth of offensive snaps.
Now, there should be some interest in Jackson around the league. He’s still as good of a deep threat as any in football. Jackson can still run past and get behind most secondaries with ease. I’ve heard a reunion with former coach Andy Reid in Kansas City as a possibility for Jackson. He’d be a good fit, but the Chiefs need help on defense. Their offense is struggling, but I don’t think another speedy wide receiver will solve all the Chiefs’ problems. Maybe Tom Brady makes a call, and the Buccaneers take a look at Jackson, as it seems Antonio Brown will be out a while longer. Brady played with so little talent around him for so long in New England that he’s been snatching every castoff he can get his mitts on in Tampa Bay. Absolutely no one would be shocked if this happens. It’s sort of becoming Brady’s M.O.