Thursday, March 15, 2012

DJ's Deal, and the Eagles become the Phillies

So the football laundry did the deal with WR DeSean Jackson today, with a thoroughly sensible 5 year deal for $51 million that doesn't tie the club down too badly in event of injury or ineffectiveness, and gets him in under the gun. You can't argue that he's overpaid, given the insane cash thrown at Calvin Johnson, the better money thrown at Vincent Jackson, and the comparable cash to get Pierre Garcon to DC. And while some diehards in the Eagle world were dreaming of upgrading to Dwyane Bowe to have a more consistent physical presence from your ostensible top guy, or the DJ with Better Attytood from Pittsburgh (Mike Wallace), or even the dumb bunny fun of Randy Moss or Plexico Burress, it's hard not to see how this isn't the "right" move. (They could, of course, still sign Plax. He's not likely to be that expensive.)

DJ knows the system, has produced here in the past, and hasn't gotten so much money that the locker room is going to want to follow his 2011 example of being distracting and distractable. In the realm of diva wideouts, his offenses have been mostly minor; 15-yard flags for dubious touchdown celebrations and inconsistent play is more of the rule, rather than the exception, for the position.

Rather, I'm more interested in what the signing means, especially when you combine it with the Trent Cole and Todd Herremans deals. Across the street, the Phillies have had the best era in their history (by a large margin) by locking down nearly all the windows and doors from core performers. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino are all going to grow old and wealthier in the colors, and one suspects that when the window of opportunity closes, it's going to be with a creaky, ordinary or worse offense and a defense that erodes like a cave formation. But the team has also enjoyed wild success, division dominance, incredible attendance and a ring -- all of which, of course, is more than what the Ship 'Em Out Birds have seen, especially in the seven-plus years of Coach For Life Andy being at the slowly sinking helm.

Maybe the Cole and DJ signings are a new day (though Winston Justice, Juqua Parker and, any minute now, Asante Samuel would argue otherwise). Perhaps the front office, stung by the low batting average of last year's free agent shopping spree, is more interested in taking care of its own men of record. And whether or not that's actually a good thing, since it's a reasonable bet to assume that Cole, DJ and Herremans have all played their best ball already, and will provide diminishing returns over the course of their deals and starting playing time. The fact that this is football, and teams can walk away from commitments with speed (Peyton Manning Colts jersey, anyone?), mitigates the stasis claim, but still, telling.

In the final final on this, I can't help but be happy that DJ got paid, and that I'll continue to be able to root for him. Of course, if he plays badly or gets blown up, or if his otherworldly speed and moves regresses to the level of his questionable hands, route-running and effort, it'll be one more nail in the coffin of Coach For Life. But after the first 200, who's counting?

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