For a couple seasons, Kirk Cousins and DeSean Jackson were teammates in Washington. In 2016, for instance, Jackson cleared 1000 yards receiving with Cousins under center, a statistical accomplishment that was largely the result of his ability to win deep. Jackson averaged 17.9 yards per reception that season.
Since that time, both Cousins and Jackson have gone on to play for different teams. The QB, of course, has been in Minnesota since 2018, serving as Minnesota’s starter over these past four seasons (and into 2022). Meanwhile, Jackson has played for a variety of teams, such as the Bucs, Eagles, and Rams.
Recently, the receiver indicated that he’s still interested in playing: “I’m not officially retired, I’m ready to get back to it.” There is also some mention of the Packers, Eagles, and Ravens as teams he’d be interested in joining. Green Bay does make some sense, but it remains to be seen if Minnesota’s division rival is interested in a deal.
Jackson entered the NFL in 2008 as a second-round pick. He ran a 4.35 forty, and his speed was evident from the outset. In his third season, Jackson averaged an incredible 22.5 yards per reception. While it’d be unwise to assume he’s as fast as he was more than a decade ago, it’d be similarly unwise to assume he doesn’t have some speed. In 2021, Jackson received 34 targets and had 20 catches. His per-catch average was 22.7 yards.
Now, if there’s a chance that DeSean Jackson could once again play alongside Kirk Cousins, it’s slim. The first and most obvious issue rests in the budget. According to Over the Cap, the Vikings are working with less than $700,000. In the NFL, that’s not very much money. A deal for the veteran receiver would need to occur after some money shuffling.
Minnesota has a clear-cut top 3 at receiver. Justin Jefferson is the WR1, and that’s a reality that isn’t going to change anytime soon. Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn are both strong players, ones who haven’t received enough attention through the opening five games. Plus, Irv Smith Jr. needs targets; the Dalvin Cook & Alexander Mattison pair also offer Kevin O’Connell a couple other pass-catching options.
The need, then, is quite low. Perhaps the main intrigue would simply rest in having a WR4 who’d function as a speedster, a player who will be tasked with going deep on a somewhat regular basis. Jefferson, Thielen, and Osborn are all capable of getting open down the field, but they’re mostly being targeted in the short and intermediate areas.
Furthermore, we ought to remember that Cousins is great at throwing the deep ball. Does he have an arm like Patrick Mahomes? I don’t think so, but Cousins’ arm strength and accuracy allow him to be excellent at throwing the ball deep.
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah needs to be continually interested in improving his squad. Obviously, that doesn’t mean he’ll be signing every available player (or even that he will be interested in every player). What it does mean, though, is that the team’s leadership needs to consider the options that are available to them.
Adding a deep threat to the offense isn’t a top priority, but it’ll still be fascinating to see what happens with Jackson. It’s very possible he ends up with Minnesota’s division rival. We’ll see if a deal develops for Jackson in the coming days.