Each year free agency rolls around this division manages to shuffle around a high-profile player. This year we’re talking about two Pro Bowl players in DeSean Jackson and Jason Hatcher staying inside the division to play for a former rival, pitting them against their former allies not once, but twice. How do these two signings specifically effect the rest of the division?
The Players Before:
Hatcher, selected in the third round by the Dallas Cowboys in 2006, had sat on the bench for much of his career with little to no impact before Monte Kiffin’s scheme resuscitated his career. Jackson, a second round selection by the Eagles in 2008, had a profound impact on the Eagles since the beginning. But what made them so great? What makes these two players so key inside this division? Here’s their 2013 statistics.
(Philadelphia ’13) DeSean Jackson: 82 receptions, 1332 receiving yards, 9 touchdown catches
(Dallas ’13) Jason Hatcher: 41 tackles, 11 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
The Players Now:
Both Jackson and Hatcher are now wearing burgundy and gold playing for the Washington Redskins.
On April Fools Day, DeSean Jackson played a trick on the birds and signed a three-year contract with Washington. There were interested teams outside of the NFC East – a reported total of nine teams – two of which lied in the California area, the 49ers and Raiders. Instead of playing for California, as NJ.com reports that he has affiliations with a gang in Cali, he chose to stay in the NFC East and play for a rival after being released by his team, after six years and two head coaches.
Jason Hatcher signed a deal for four years, worth over 27 million dollars and afterwards stated that the Cowboys showed no interest in bringing him back to the team after eight seasons. Whether that is true is really unknown. We’re not inside Jerry Jones’ mind.
The New York Giants:
How are the Giants doing after these turn of events? Not so good. They likely got the worst end of the deal, or deals. DeSean Jackson played the Giants twice last season and he went off, gathering 15 receptions, 195 yards and 1 score. Jason Hatcher put up 5 tackles and 3 sacks in two games versus the G-Men. Safe to say that these two greatly contributed to their All-Star campaigns when playing the New York football Giants. These two still know their new opponents very well, and that will only mean more havoc on the opposing side when this game rolls around.
The Philadelphia Eagles:
The Eagles will have to swallow a large pill, the one they were prescribed when they released the 27-year-old, 3-time Pro Bowler this week.
Bad news for those guys as they’re going to need to order another for a double dose because Jackson’s still in the NFC East and they’ll have to play him twice this season. DeSean knows the Eagles’ scheme after being around Chip Kelly for a season. If this move happened a year ago I wouldn’t have looked much at all into it, because DeSean wouldn’t be so aware of the defense Kelly runs. But now he has a clue; he’s experienced it.
In two games last year Jason Hatcher had eight combined tackles, three sacks, and one of his two forced fumbles.
With revenge on the mind of DJax, and Nick Foles possibly holding the ball longer without their speedy separation receiver, this could bode very badly for the Eagles.
The Dallas Cowboys:
I saved the best for last! DC Nation, we might not have a problem on our hands, not with DeSean Jackson at least. In two games last year, against the worst Cowboys defense he’s ever had to face, he managed only six grabs for 49 years and never saw the end zone. But Jason Hatcher?
Hatcher has a tendency to play well against division rivals. Does he get motivated off of this stuff? If so, with Dallas dropping him like Hatcher states, then we have a serious problem – Jason’s motivation to stick it to his former team. Eight of Hatcher’s eleven sacks last season came against NFC East teams. This concern might contribute to Dallas drafting a guard as an insurance policy for when the injury-bug strikes – which normally does.
It’s likely that Dallas has the least of the worries, as opposed to the Eagles and Giants, when it comes to Jason Hatcher and DeSean Jackson playing for the enemy in 2014. In my opinion, do I think these two signings propel Washington to first in the division? No, but they won’t hurt their chances if these two players perform like they did for their respective former teams.