So far for the Los Angeles Rams, this NFL Free Agency period has amounted to nothing but crickets and tumbleweeds, as seemingly hordes of beloved former players have found new homes. But the team finally made some noteworthy news, signing veteran receiver DeSean Jackson on Sunday to a one year deal.
Although the signing of the 34-year-old doesn’t come with all the proverbial bells and whistles that it would have in previous years, this is an excellent signing for the Rams. It’s one that could pay huge dividends for the team during the 2021-22 season — assuming Jackson can find a way to stay healthy.
Rams Sign DeSean Jackson in Free Agency
At one point in his career (mainly during his first stint with the Philadelphia Eagles), Jackson was one of the best receivers in the NFL. Over his career, he has made the Pro Bowl three times and is primarily known for his ability to act as a dangerously adept deep-threat machine. With Matthew Stafford’s propensity to throw the ball deep, Jackson (even at his advanced age while entering his 13th season in the league) should make for an exemplary target for Stafford on the sort of downfield opportunities the Rams have not been able to execute in recent years. Throughout his career, Jackson has notched 24 total 60+yard touchdowns — the most for any receiver in NFL history. With a career stat line of 17.4, he currently ranks sixth all-time in yards per reception. For his career, he has hauled in 612 receptions for 10,656 yards and has scored a total of 60 touchdowns.
Looking at the roster after the Jared Goff trade, many fans were worried that the Rams wouldn’t do anything to add a reliable deep-threat receiving option to Stafford’s offensive arsenal. This is not to say that receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods are not formidable receivers in their own right and should undoubtedly see an uptick in overall production (along with tight end Tyler Higbee) once Stafford officially enters the fold under center, but the Rams have not had a reliable deep-threat receiving option since trading away receiver Brandin Cooks. Along with second-year receiver Van Jefferson chomping at the bit to make a name for himself, Jackson could be the sort of blessing in disguise the new-look Rams are pining for with an offense catered to Stafford’s gifts.
Jackson will also be reunited with head coach Sean McVay, who served as the offensive coordinator for the Washington Football Team from 2014-16 during Jackson’s tenure there. However, the most worrisome tidbit about the signing is that Jackson has missed significant bouts of time during the last few seasons due to injuries. If he can stay healthy, and McVay is able to utilize him effectively within the flow of a revamped offense, the Rams’ current receiving corps should give Stafford plenty of options to provide the team a much needed jumpstart.