BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots appear to be set at the wide receiver position for 2017. But based on the surprising names they’ve been linked to in recent days, the team may be in the market for a speedy, big-play wideout.
In one of the more unexpected reports of the offseason so far, a source told the Washington Post that the Patriots are one of three teams that called the Washington Redskins and “inquired” about three-time Pro-Bowl receiver DeSean Jackson. The Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers also reportedly called to ask about Jackson, who is likely to part ways with the Redskins and hit the open market when the free agency signing period begins at 4 p.m. on Thursday.
Despite the Patriots’ apparent interest in Jackson’s services, they are unlikely to be able to meet the receiver’s salary demands. Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole tweeted on Wednesday that Jackson’s average salary is expected to be over $11 million per year. He made about $8 million in cash earnings in each of his three seasons with the Redskins and has made more than $45.7 million in his career, according to Spotrac.
The combined 2017 base salaries of Patriots receivers Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, and Malcolm Mitchell add up to just over $12 million, so Jackson would be extremely unlikely to join the Patriots if he’s not willing to significantly reduce his asking price.
Jackson, 30, made 56 catches for 1,005 yards and four touchdowns in 15 games with the Redskins in 2016. In nine seasons with the Eagles and Redskins, Jackson has averaged 63 catches, 1,111 yards, and six touchdowns per 16 games. Long one of the NFL’s biggest big-play threats, Jackson is the league’s active leader in career yards per reception with 17.7 yards.
The Patriots’ interest in Jackson follows a weekend report that the team offered its 2017 first-round pick (No. 32 overall) to the New Orleans Saints for 23-year-old wideout Brandin Cooks, who has a similar skill set to Jackson. The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted on Tuesday that the Saints are “continuing to talk” with the Patriots (among other teams) about a potential Cooks deal, and that they are asking for “[draft] picks or someone to affect QBs” in return.
No matter who they end up acquiring, the Patriots clearly appear interested in adding breakaway speed and quickness to their receiver corps.
All salaries and financial figures according to Spotrac.