Saturday, March 29, 2014

With Gang Allegations Rising, Jets Should Move Away from DeSean Jackson

We live in a world of guilt by association most of the time, and it appears that former Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson might fall into that category. 

The Eagles released Jackson this week after they became disturbed by information that he had associated himself with gangs in Los Angeles. 

According to a report from NJ.com Jackson knew a gang member who was associated with the death of a 14-year old boy. While Jackson was never present during this tragedy, he knew the man who was involved quite well according to the report. There have even been photos of Jackson giving out gang signs with a group of men, including the now acquitted suspect. 

In 2012, Jackson was connected as part of another gang related murder investigation, this one taking place outside of a South LA building "leased by a member of Jackson's family." NJ.com said that investigators found documents belonging to Jackson including a "car title and gun permit." 

The report emphasized that Jackson was never a suspect in the crime either, even though police tried to contact him.

With this disturbing information, combined with the fact that Jackson has been linked to poor locker room behavior, including being tardy for meetings, and ruffling the feathers of coach Chip Kelly, the New York Jets, who are linked as possible suitors for Jackson, should move on. 

Yes, while it seems that everyone who scores a touchdown these days throws up gang signs, and granted while Jackson has never been convicted of a crime, it doesn't make things better. 

The Jets over the last five years have been a proverbial circus; a franchise steeped in poor Public Relations skills, and associated with bad timing. 

From Tim Tebow, to Santonio Holmes' meltdown; from Mark Sanchez to Geno Smith;  Rex Ryan foot-gate to Rex Ryan's Mark Sanchez tatoo-gate. Darrelle Revis saga part 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. You can go on and on and on and on. The Jets know how to make news when most teams know better. They don't know how to handle prosperity, i.e. back-to-back AFC title game appearances, and have been worse at handling their image when times get tough. 

In a lot of ways it might even behoove Jackson to sign elsewhere as well. 

Yet, here was Woody Johnson earlier in the week admitting to the entire world that he wants DeSean Jackson in a Jets uniform, this days before the hidden truth behind the Eagles release was revealed. 

While Jackson is an immense talent, and he would definitely give the Jets a much needed weapon both at receiver and punt returner, they might be better off waiting until the draft to get a big time receiver to complement Eric Decker.

Jackson's situation sounds eerily similar to that of Holmes, whom the Pittsburgh Steelers couldn't wait to get rid of a few years ago. The Jets were the only team that jumped at the shot to get Holmes, and after a solid 2010 season, they quickly found out what the Steelers already knew. 

Jackson's poor personality would be an albatross not an asset, and with Michael Vick, a convicted felon already in the locker room, the Jets would only increase the outside perception that they are the 2010's version of the Oakland Raiders, and the 2000's Cincinnati Bengals. 

Some would try to say that having Vick in the locker room, as well as former Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg running the offense would calm Jackson down and get him to focus. We shall see, but his associations with gangs go back even to the time Mornhinweg served as Eagles OC. 

In light of the Aaron Hernandez fiasco, with the NFL very cognizant of its players associations in the off-season, the last thing the Jets need is for Jackson to suddenly find himself enthralled in a gang mess while as a member of the Jets. 

Nobody should shame the Jets if they ultimately pass on Jackson. John Idzik has led a very silent off-season where really the only positive moves were signing Decker and releasing Sanchez. He has preached getting the circus atmosphere out of town, and it remains to be seen if he would sign off on Jackson's joining the club. 

Let Jackson sign on a team that is desperate for a receiver with a big name, like Cleveland, Buffalo, Oakland, St. Louis, and Minnesota. The Jets already have a big receiver in Decker. Get another one in the draft. Let Jackson light up the scoreboard in those cities, because ultimately the hammer will fall and break up whatever marriage Jackson has with his new team anyway. 

For the first time in a long, long time, maybe since the Eric Mangini era, the Jets would be better off being safe than sorry. 

No comments: