Free agency: Don’t expect SF 49ers to kick tires on DeSean Jackson

Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson #10 of the Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Philadelphia Eagles/Getty Images)
Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson #10 of the Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Philadelphia Eagles/Getty Images) /

The Eagles are releasing speedy veteran DeSean Jackson, but don’t anticipate the SF 49ers being interested in the wide receiver.

A long time ago, the SF 49ers were reportedly in on veteran wide receiver DeSean Jackson.

And by “a long time ago,” we mean back in 2014, at least according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Jackson signed with the Washington Football Team that year and stayed put three seasons before going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, then back to the Philadelphia Eagles where his career started as a speedy second-round pick from the 2008 NFL Draft.

On Friday, however, the Eagles officially released Jackson, making him a free agent:

There are going to be the usual conversations among every team’s fanbase about Jackson joining their squads now. Perhaps even more so with the Niners because of head coach Kyle Shanahan’s preference for speed on offense and with the knowledge of what Jackson did to Washington’s defense when Shanahan was the offensive coordinator there. Being NFC East rivals, Shanahan had no shortage of opportunities watching Jackson threaten secondaries.

True, San Francisco could use receiving depth this offseason. The SF 49ers have their top two wideouts identified, Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel. Behind them, it’s a bit of an open-ended question.

And as far as field-stretching abilities go, there’s still that void on the Niners roster ever since the team traded away wide receiver Marquise Goodwin during the 2020 offseason.

The thing, though, is Jackson is nowhere close to being that deep threat he once was early in his career. At 34 years old, it’s beyond the point where he’s lost a step. And while injuries have cut into his production with Philly the past two seasons, even a fully healthy Jackson wouldn’t offer San Francisco the kind of depth it would need at the position heading into 2021.

Even at a veteran’s minimum contract, which Jackson might have to accept if he chooses to play elsewhere this upcoming year.

Over the last two years combined, Jackson recorded 395 receiving yards on 23 receptions with three touchdowns over a total of eight games played. Even extrapolated over the course of a full 16-game season, those numbers shouldn’t warrant much attention from the SF 49ers’ vantage point.

And with the Niners likely focus more on players with healthier track records in light of the swarm of injuries they dealt with last year, it sure doesn’t seem likely Jackson would be on their radar.

Instead, the more plausible scenario would be for Shanahan and San Francisco’s scouting department to focus either on younger, cheaper wide receivers on the free-agent market or take advantage of what’s supposed to be a deep wideout class in the 2021 NFL Draft. Either one of those routes should be able to provide Shanahan and Co. with options that possess a far greater upside rather than banking on the hope Jackson could resurrect his career with the SF 49ers.

A few years ago, Jackson would have been an ideal fit in Shanahan’s offense, possessing the speed and separation abilities the head coach covets.

Next. 5 cheap players 49ers can target in free agency. dark

At this point in Jackson’s career, though, the Niners would be wiser to pass on his services even if he preferred to play with San Francisco on a bargain-basement deal.