DeSean Jackson Trade Rumors: Could the Chargers or Titans be in play?

With DeSean Jackson on the trade market, what is his contract situation, and what are his potential landing spots before the deadline?

On Friday, it was revealed that DeSean Jackson and the Los Angeles Rams were looking to trade the deep threat WR. However, with Jackson having provided limited value in the past three years, a slow trade market is possible. Ahead of the 2021 NFL trade deadline, what are the latest rumors regarding Jackson?

A DeSean Jackson trade could be tricky to make

The problem with trading Jackson is that his contract carries a reasonable cap number. Jackson’s would cost the acquiring team $2.75 million in cap space because there was no signing bonus as part of the deal. Additionally, his base salary owed to him is fully guaranteed. Therefore, if a team trades for him, they are somewhat stuck in terms of their options.

Jackson’s contract does contain a further $1.75 million in per-game roster bonuses. However, seven of those have already been covered by the Rams this season, including the five that were considered “likely to be earned.” Therefore, if the acquiring team decides to make Jackson inactive, they can save cash in 2021 and cap space in 2022.

What would potential trade compensation look like?

In terms of Jackson’s trade cost, that should not be prohibitive. Mike Garafolo reported that if a trade partner is not found, Jackson will likely be released. Therefore, the Rams would presumably be asking for little in return and may actually be open to a pick swap to make the deal work.

For any team considering acquiring Jackson, there may be the temptation to wait and then attempt to sign him. By trading for Jackson, they would be committing to paying at least $1.5 million in salary, plus the per-game bonuses. While there might be a small bidding war when he is on the open market, it would be a surprise if he is signed for more than his current contract is worth following a release.

Jackson’s potential landing spots

Trying to pinpoint a spot in the NFL for Jackson is tricky. He is certainly a dynamic playmaker, but he is limited in terms of his overall value. Jackson has played less than a quarter of the Rams’ snaps and has seen just 15 targets this season. The value on those targets has been good, with 221 yards at 14.7 yards per target. Yet, for a team looking for an all-around playmaker at receiver, Jackson is not that.

Let’s take a look at some of the potential landing spots that Jackson could find himself in ahead of the trade deadline.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns’ wide receiver situation has not returned the value that we expected. Adding Jackson could help them stretch the field and allow the likes of Jarvis Landy and Odell Beckham Jr. to work underneath. With Jackson on the field, teams would have to keep their safety deep to cover any potential deep route he may run.

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That will open the field not just for the receiving game but for the running game as well. Teams will not be able to load the box against Nick Chubb because they will need to keep the safety deep to help the corner with Jackson’s speed.

Green Bay Packers

For the Packers to push for the Super Bowl, they need to add more to their receiving corps. In Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Equanimeous St. Brown, they have intriguing pieces, but all of them are inconsistent.

Adding Jackson would give the Packers that proven deep threat that could help them further open their offense up. With Davante Adams on one side running routes, and Jackson stretching the defense, Aaron Rodgers would have plenty of options.

Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders love speedy players, and when you combine that with their status as surprise AFC challengers, this could be a fantastic mix. Bryan Edwards has had some costly drops for them as that second wideout on the outside.

Alongside Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller, the Raiders would then have Jackson stretching the defense outside. With Derek Carr providing great value under center this year, that combination could make for a high-octane offensive unit.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers have weapons on their offense, but a proven, speedy deep threat is not one of them. A trio of Jackson, Mike Williams, and Keenan Allen would have the Chargers’ offense able to cover every option: Jackson as the field stretcher, Williams as the jump ball and red-zone specialist, and Allen can work underneath.

Tennessee Titans

The Titans’ WR group has underwhelmed following the acquisition of Jones. Throwing another injury-prone veteran into the mix would be a risk, but with the loss of Derrick Henry, their offensive philosophy may need to shift.

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Imagine being a defensive coordinator needing to work out how to scheme for Jackson, Jones, and A.J. Brown on any given play. Opposing teams would simply have to pick their poison and hope that Ryan Tannehill doesn’t keep finding the man in one-on-one coverage with every passing play.

Ben Rolfe is a Senior Managing Editor at Pro Football Network and is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can find him on Twitter @BenRolfePFN