DeSean Jackson joining agent Rosenhaus’ roster

By LES BOWEN
Philadelphia Daily News
bowenl@phillynews.com

Hugh Douglas knew his old agent, Drew Rosenhaus, was in town for the Eagles-Cowboys game last weekend, but didn’t know exactly why – until yesterday, when Douglas was told about DeSean Jackson’s reported agent shift from DeBartolo Sports Inc. to Rosenhaus.
“In baseball, people talk about Manny [Ramirez] being Manny,” Douglas said, with a laugh. “That’s just Drew being Drew, right there.”

Douglas, a former Pro Bowl defensive end who is now a WIP radio personality, added that he was not surprised.

It’s no secret that Rosenhaus, the NFL’s highest-profile agent, ends up representing a lot of players who already were represented, until they somehow decided they weren’t being represented well enough. Fellow agents have taken umbrage here and there, but nothing has come of it – at least, nothing that has kept Rosenhaus from continuing to add high-profile clients to his stable.

Who is the highest-profile young Eagle with the most earning potential ahead of him? Hmmm, think it over a while.

“I’m not talking about anything today,” Jackson said, when approached after practice. “I’m focusing on football.”

Rosenhaus did not respond to a request for comment. Ditto Eagles president Joe Banner. Eagles coach Andy Reid said, “I’m not going to get into that.”

The current collective bargaining agreement says you have to be in your third NFL season to rework your contract. This is Jackson’s second year, so Rosenhaus, assuming he officially is hired, will have nothing to talk to the Birds about until the offseason, at least.

Jackson, originally projected as a mid-first-round pick in 2008, lasted until the second round, the 49th overall selection, partly because he weighed only 169 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine, and partly because of concerns about his personality. Both concerns have been largely dismissed so far, with Jackson developing into one of the NFL’s most feared weapons, a threat to score a touchdown every time he gets the ball.

That second-round draft status limited Jackson to a bargain-basement, 4-year, $3.078 million contract, with a $1.353 million signing bonus. Jackson will make $385,000 this season, $470,000 next season and $550,000 in 2011.

The Birds’ other starting wideout, Jeremy Maclin, got more than $9 million in guarantees and can make more than $15 million over the life of his 5-year deal – but Maclin was taken in the first round last spring, 19th overall, about where Jackson originally was projected in 2008.

ESPN radio’s Brian Seltzer, co-host of “The DeSean Jackson Show,” reported the pending move. Jackson’s name did not appear in the NFL Players Association’s player-agent listing yesterday, where previously it stood next to that of DeBartolo rep Adam Heller. The NFLPA requires a 5-day waiting period between the dismissal of one agent and the hiring of another. Heller did not respond to a request for comment.

Jackson’s parting with DeBartolo is significant, because the agency was the tie between Jackson and mentor Jerry Rice, whose guidance Jackson has credited with helping him become a force so quickly in the NFL.

Eagles fans know Rosenhaus mostly from his contentious representation of Terrell Owens, who was suspended from the Eagles 4 years ago and traded after the season. Rosenhaus tried to get Owens’ 7-year contract revised after the first season, and was unsuccessful. Owens did get a new contract from Dallas after the trade.

However, most Rosenhaus negotiations go a little better than that one. Rosenhaus represents rookie running back LeSean McCoy, injured rookie tight end Cornelius Ingram, cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu and guard Max Jean-Gilles.

Andrew Brandt, founder of the National Football Post blog, worked with the Eagles’ front office last summer negotiating deals. Brandt said last night he had no problems getting the McCoy or Ingram pacts done. (Of course, rookie contracts are pretty much slotted, especially after the first round.)

“Obviously, Drew’s representation speaks for itself,” Ikegwuonu said yesterday. Ikegwuonu keeps a copy of Rosenhaus’ book, “Next Question,” on a shelf in his locker stall. “Drew’s great at what he does.”

McCoy indicated he didn’t know about the switch until a reporter told him.

McCoy said he would tell Jackson, “Welcome home.” *