ASHBURN —Just when the NFL’s hot stove was beginning to cool down, the Washington Redskins are pursuing one of the game’s biggest names.
Former Philadelphia Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson, a three-time Pro Bowler who had 1,332 receiving yards and scored nine touchdowns last season, is scheduled to visit Redskins Park today.
Jackson was cut by the Eagles last week, two years into a five-year, $48.5 million contract extension.
A report from the Newark Star-Ledger cited Jackson’s alleged involvement with gang members in California. ESPN reported that the Eagles cut Jackson purely for off-field reasons.
“A bad attitude, an inconsistent worth ethic, missed meetings and a lack of chemistry with head coach Chip Kelly were the original reasons for his fall from grace,” the Star-Ledger wrote.
Jackson, 27, now becomes the league’s hottest free agent, a potential game changer for any team, though also a potential liability given the alleged gang ties.
Eagles representatives refused to speak about Jackson at the league meetings last week.
Several teams have reached out to Jackson, but he’ll be making his first visit to Washington, where the Redskins have stayed away from big-name signings so far in this season’s free agency period. Their biggest impact player was defensive end Jason Hatcher, who barely moved the needle nationally.
Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall was at a charity basketball event this weekend and endorsed opening the team pocketbook for Jackson.
“If we could add a piece like that … he’s a threat whenever the ball is in his hands,” he told CSN Washington at the event.
Video from the Eagles-Redskins game in Washington last season appears to show Jackson flashing a gang sign at Hall after making a reception.
Jackson issued a statement after he was released by Philly.
“I would like to address the misleading and unfounded reports that my release has anything to do with any affiliation that has been speculated surrounding the company I keep off of the field,” he wrote. “I would like to make it very clear that I am not and never have been part of any gang. I am not a gang member, and to speculate and assume that I am involved in such activity off the field is reckless and irresponsible.”
Aside from the recent reports out of Philadelphia, Jackson has mostly stayed out of trouble off the field since arriving in the NFL. He was the victim of a burglary earlier this year. Police estimated that $125,000 in jewelry was stolen from Jackson’s Philadelphia home.
On the field, he has been an impact player and could be just the thing Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III needs to get back on track.
The team struggled to find a consistent No. 2 receiver last season, with production lagging besides a big season by Pierre Garcon. Tight end Jordan Reed showed flashes of brilliance, but was also hampered by injuries.
The Redskins have less than $10 million under the salary cap left, but could make room for Jackson by signing him to a back-loaded, multiyear deal.