When the Buccaneers signed veteran wide receiver DeSean Jackson last offseason, the fanbase went nuts. Even head coach Dirk Koetter was smiling like a 10-year-old who just opened up a Playstation 4 Spider-Man edition console from under the Christmas tree (who wouldn’t what that?!). But all that excitement has fizzled and many are wondering why Jackson made it past the trade deadline and is still on the roster.
Known for his speed and big-play ability, we haven’t seen that from the soon-to-be 32-year-old receiver — mainly because of quarterback Jameis Winston’s inconsistent inability to hit him deep. However, veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has also struggled recently to hit Jackson on a deep ball and Sunday’s game against the New York Giants validated that.
Between Fitzpatrick and Winston, Jackson has been targeted 60 times this season. He has hauled in 37 receptions for 731 yards, four touchdowns and seven interceptions. If you’re curious on the splits, Fitzpatrick has thrown four interceptions and three touchdowns targeting Jackson 38 times while Winston has thrown three interceptions and one touchdown on 22 targets.
The combination of Winston and Fitzpatrick is not very good when they go Jackson’s way. An 86.9 passer rating when targeted ranks Jackson 72nd out of 95 receivers who have seen at least 28 targets.
So what exactly is the reason for the disconnect? There have been opinions suggesting he doesn’t put in consistent effort on a ball thrown up his way unless he has his man beat. We may never know. But what we do know is that his numbers and performance does not match up very well with his current salary with Tampa Bay.
(Cam Mellor of Pro Football Focus contributed to this story.)