The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still the most likely to sign DeSean Jackson, and no credible reports have connected him strongly to any other team. We’ll see whether that means a deal will get done — that’ll depend on contract demands — but the interest is mutual and real.
One way to find out what Jackson is likely to want in his contract is to look at recent receiver signings. Speaking of: Pierre Garcon is signing with the San Francisco 49ers, and will get a whopping $16 million in his first year, per Chris Mortensen.
When Pierre Garcon finalizes deal with 49ers, as expected, league sources believe he will make $16 million in first year.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) March 8, 2017
If Pierre Garcon is getting that kind of money, DeSean Jackson will definitely want it, too. And that could cost the Bucs, who are still the clear frontrunners for his services, a decent amount of money.
Of course, that $16 million is likely to be misleading. It probably includes a hefty signing bonus that will be paid out in year one, but is spread out over the entire contract for cap purposes. And that implies much lower salary in later years, and much lower compensation per year.
Compare, for instance, Brandon Marshall’s new deal with the New York Giants. Two years, $12 million. Garcon is likely earning more than that, but he could easily be sitting at $8 million per year over the lifetime of his contract. And his production was pretty close to DeSean Jackson’s the last two years, anyway, so while Jackson may want more than Garcon, he’s not likely to get much more.
Som what does this mean for the Bucs? Ultimately, not that much. Jackson was likely to get around $10 million per year anyway, and the Bucs usually guarantee the first two years of any free agent contract. They don’t work with signing bonuses, but if they did it would be the rough equivalent of giving Jackson $18 million in his first year.
That’s perfectly doable, and Garcon’s contract shouldn’t scare the Bucs at all.