Eagles place franchise tag on DeSean Jackson

The first franchise tag for the 2012 season has been awarded.

DeSean Jackson, you’re it.

The Philadelphia Eagles placed the tag on the speedy wide receiver and playmaker this afternoon, four days before Monday’s deadline. That means Jackson can sign the tender and play for $9.4 million this season. The sides can work out a long-term contract before July 15.

“We want DeSean to be an Eagle for the long haul and this is a step in the right direction to accomplish that,” Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said in a statement released by the team. “DeSean is a talented player and a proven playmaker in this league and we look forward to him continuing his career in Philadelphia. It’s our understanding that he has the same desire. We will continue our efforts on getting a long-term deal done with him.”

Jackson is a two-time Pro Bowl performer who is coming off his worst season as a pro. He struggled last season and made it adamant he sought a big-time contract that didn’t come after the Eagles were up against the salary cap following the signing of quarterback Michael Vick to an extension.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Jackson said at the Super Bowl that he would be OK with the tag. Maybe he is taking a quiet approach to potential negotiations. Coming off a poor season, the Eagles might want to see more from Jackson before they commit to signing him for the long haul. He’s small and it could be they don’t want to sink a major investment into him. Still, $9.4 million for one season is a significant investment and it appears that is what the Eagles are willing to do this season.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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