All along DeSean Jackson has been the good soldier.
So why break rank now?
All along the Eagles wide receiver has shown patience, said the right things and — oh, yeah — played his rear end off, while knowing full well he is woefully underpaid.
But on Tuesday Birds quarterback Michael Vick offered hints that Jackson, his No. 1 target, might not be on hand today, when the team reports to training camp at Lehigh University. And that, quite frankly, makes no sense.
Why change course now? What is there to gain by holding out?
Jackson will make just $565,000 this season, the last of his four-year rookie contract. He is going to get a nice new deal, one that is commensurate with his abilities and production. Bailing on Bethlehem accomplishes exactly nothing, and runs counter to his approach to this point in his career.
Two years ago, after a big performance in Giants Stadium — the old one — he was asked if he thought he had outperformed his contract, the word his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, had thrown around while trying to get a new deal out of the Eagles for Terrell Owens years before (in a totally different situation, by the way; Owens had just completed the first year on his contract).
Jackson wouldn’t say. What he did say is this: “When the time is right, it will work out.”
He has since had another big year, one that ended with a second straight trip to the Pro Bowl (and one that included another stupendous performance in Giants Stadium, this time the new one). But what he said that night in 2009 remains true.
And there’s no way a holdout will change anything.
In other news: The Eagles signed 10 rookie free agents — running backs Noel Devine and Graig Cooper; wide receivers Terrance Turner, Perry Baker and DeAndre Brown; tight end Martell Webb; quarterback Jerrod Johnson; linebacker Brandon Peguese; defensive tackle Cedric Thornton; and punter Chas Henry.
Interesting that there are no offensive linemen in that bunch. The Eagles usually bring in at least one.
And always remember that the Birds tend to find gems among the undrafted free agents. One example would be safety Quintin Mikell, who on Tuesday agreed to terms on a four-year deal with the Rams; he cannot sign with them until Friday.
Mikell, late of Boise State, signed with the Birds in 2003 and during his eight years with the team went from special teams ace to reliable starter.
They will likely find someone like that in that group as well. They usually do.
One last note: While the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday that the Eagles do not intend to sign any of their 15 veteran free agents (including, most notably, kicker David Akers), Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com, citing a team source, debunked that later in the day.