Bucs, Jack­son part II?

The Bucs’ new coach be­lieves the re­ceiver can be a big part of the 2019 of­fense.

Tampa Bay Times - - Sports - BY RICK STROUD Times Staff Writer

Re­port­edly new coach Bruce Ari­ans wants WR DeSean Jack­son to stay.

TAMPA — DeSean Jack­son asked for a trade from the Bucs this sea­son, was clearly frus­trated by the lack of a con­nec­tion with Jameis Win­ston, didn’t fight too hard to come back from a thumb in­jury he had al­ready played with and sold his home in Tampa Bay.

But new Bucs coach Bruce Ari­ans wants to re-re­cruit Jack­son for a third year in Tampa Bay, the NFL Net­work re­ported Satur­day.

For­get that the $10 mil­lion owed Jack­son as part of the three-year, $33.5 mil­lion con­tract he signed in 2016 is not guar­an­teed, or that the Bucs have other glar­ing needs and not much money un­der the salary cap.

Ari­ans wants to con­vince Jack­son he can play a big role in his of­fense even with Win­ston pulling the trig­ger, the NFL Net­work’s Ian Rapoport said.

“One of the first things that Bruce Ari­ans did upon get­ting the Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers job was reach out to peo­ple about get­ting a phone num­ber for DeSean Jack­son,’’ Rapoport said. “What (Ari­ans) in­tends to do — and they haven’t con­nected yet — … is re-re­cruit DeSean Jack­son to the Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers. … So what (Ari­ans) wants to do is … con­vince him that DeSean Jack­son can be a big part of the of­fense with Ari­ans now.’’

Of Jack­son’s 774 re­ceiv­ing yards this sea­son, 561 came from Ryan Fitz­patrick, who com­pleted 71 per­cent of his tar­gets to Jack­son. Also, four of Jack­son’s five touch­downs came from Fitz­patrick.

Win­ston com­pleted 37.8 per­cent of his tar­gets to Jack­son.

It’s hard to fathom the Bucs keep­ing a 32-year-old Jack­son for $10 mil­lion with the needs they have on de­fense and the of­fen­sive line.

It’s even harder to imag­ine Jack­son want­ing to re­main with the Bucs.

But Jack­son’s salary is not guar­an­teed un­til the start of the reg­u­lar sea­son. By then, free agency and the draft will have passed. Even train­ing camp and the pre­sea­son can elapse with no cost to the Bucs.

Maybe a top team loses a re­ceiver and makes an of­fer for Jack­son. Maybe after free agency, when the Bucs don’t let go of him, a trade mar­ket sur­faces.

But it seems a lit­tle hard to be­lieve that Jack­son will be play­ing in Tampa Bay in 2019, and the per­son most skep­ti­cal about that is likely Jack­son him­self.

MON­ICA HERN­DON | Times

Re­ceiver DeSean Jack­son has one year left on a three-year con­tract. The $10 mil­lion he’s due for 2019 isn’t guar­an­teed un­til the start of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

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