The contract saga between DeSean Jackson and the Philadelphia Eagles took another turn Thursday, when the team announced it had placed its franchise tag on the enigmatic wideout, making him the first player to receive the designation this offseason.
If Jackson and the Eagles can't agree to a long-term deal, then Jackson will receive a 2012 salary of $9.4 million, the franchise-tag figure for wideouts under the new collective bargaining agreement.
Jackson said in a statement that he's honored to be the Eagles' franchise player, adding: "I look forward to getting a long-term deal done soon and being an Eagle for many years to come."
"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 issued 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 made it clear after the Eagles beat the Washington Redskins in their Jan. 1 season finale that he would accept the tag.
"I hope I will be here," he said. "These guys on this team and the fans, this is home."
Jackson made the Pro Bowl in 2009 and 2010, posting career totals of 229 catches, 4,085 yards and 21 touchdowns along the way. But he had 58 receptions for 961 yards with four touchdowns during the 2011 season, which was muddled by an ongoing contract dispute that placed his future with the team into question.
Jackson, 25, held out of training camp last season because he wanted a new deal -- he made just $600,000 -- and later admitted his contract situation was a distraction. He was deactivated for one game after being late for a team meeting and seemed disgruntled much of the season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.