Be prepared to watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers go all vertical in the passing game in 2017. Also be prepared to see a lot of smiles from quarterback Jameis Winston as well.
That’s because it appears field-stretching wide receiver DeSean Jackson is about to sign as a free agent later today. According to a report from NFL.com the former Washington Redskins wide receiver was top of the wish list of Winston in free agency.
Jackson is expected to sign his deal as free agency officially opens up at 4 p.m. ET on Thursday.
While Winston and his big arm are likely to be happy to see a speedster taking the field in 2017, he won’t be the only one happy. In a strange twist, fellow wide receiver, Mike Evans, may well become a better player with this deal.
After all, he was targeted an insane 176 times last season and caught 96 passes for 1,321 yards and 12 touchdowns. It was clear from the word go that Evans was the Bucs passing offense, and teams made sure to try and shut him down as much as possible.
While it didn’t work, Evans could’ve been even more dangerous had there been a real second option opposite of him. Sure, Jackson hasn’t killed it on the stat sheet as he turns 30 years old but would create a great 1-2 punch for defenses. Jackson caught 56 balls for 1,005 yards and four touchdowns last year.
Those numbers won’t jump off the stat sheet, but he did average a healthy 17.9 yards per catch.
Jackson also hasn’t played with a player like Evans opposite of him either. Put Winston, Evans and Jackson together and few NFL teams have the combination of size, speed and arm strength that Tampa Bay will likely have.
This could be one of the best marriages of free agent to team in the 2017 offseason. Will it also be enough to get the Bucs past the Atlanta Falcons or in to the NFC playoffs? That is the question that can only be answered on the field.
On paper, this move certainly helps Tampa Bay keep pace with the crazy offense that Atlanta has put up the past few years. It should also scare the rest of the NFC, at least to begin the season.