I'd like to preface this post by saying that DeSean Jackson is an incredibly talented player and has been vastly underpaid during the length of his rookie contract. Though I'm not well versed on football contracts, from what I understand, DeSean was basically forced into his deal based off of his draft position and the rookie wage scale, and he had every right to bitch and moan that he was underpaid. Now that he has finally hit free agency and is looking to cash in, which he deserves to do, I think the Eagles should keep their checkbook shut.
My reasoning for not wanting DeSean back is primarily three-pronged. First, DeSean has shown T.O. like cancerous tendencies. Second, DeSean is a constant injury to happen. And third, I presume because of his contract situation and fear of sustaining a third (?) career NFL concussion, he does not go all out on the football field.
In a sense all three of these prongs are combined, so I will just address them in one long, rambling, semi-un-concise post.
When T.O. was here, I think it's fair to argue that the Eagles were the best they have been in a long, long time. They went to the Superbowl and T.O. was an absolute stud. Maybe had that scumbag Behlichick not been a cheating bastard we'd actually have attended a parade that year. But what followed has forever shown that sometimes, character is as important as talent. There is no need to rehash the T.O. induced downfall of the Eagles, but what it showed is that one diva receiver is in fact capable of polluting an entire locker room. Not until DeSean this season have I seen a player that reminded me of T.O. His talent on the field is remarkable, but his attitude is absolutely atrocious. Sure, it's easy for him and fans alike to blame his contract, but that is precisely the reason I don't want him here. If the Eagles pay him, he'll be happy about his contract at first, but what happens if he feels he deserves more, or he isn't getting the ball enough? Someone with DeSean's attitude problems - which if I recall correctly have dated back to college - is a player that is too volatile to keep around.
Even pretending DeSean had no attitude problems, is it truly wise to invest tens of millions of dollars in a receiver who lists at 5' 10", 175 lbs and has a history of concussion problems? DeSean didn't suffer a concussion this past season, but I would attribute that primarily to him being a pussy. DeSean clearly held back on plays over the middle fearing a big hit. If he gets paid, he's likely to play up to the level he did earlier in his career, which is also likely to result in more chances to suffer concussions. Further, a player of his caliber with his propensity to trash talk is likely to be a target for every safety in the NFL. As a punt returner, DeSean is one of the most electric players in the league, but do you really want your 40 or 50 million dollar injury prone receiver returning punts? I don't, and I'm not sure if the Eagles will either.
Even without DeSean, the Eagles sport a young, talented receiving core. The free agent market for receiver is deep this year and there are options in the draft. The Eagles need to do the smart thing and not invest in DeSean.