Ex-Cal Star DeSean Jackson Joins Rams; Hardy Nickerson Signs With Texans

Injuries ruined Jackson's past two seasons, but he'll provide deep threat with Los Angeles
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Former Cal star DeSean Jackson has found a new home, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Houston Texans reportedly signed former Cal linebacker Hardy Nickerson Jr. on Monday.

The Jackson signing has greater impact.

Jackson's deal reportedly will pay him a $4.5 million base salary with incentives that can take it up to $6.25 million.. He earned the $8.6 million in 2020 with the Philadelphia Eagles, who released the 34-year-old Jackson after an injury-plagued 2020 season.

He provides a much needed deep threat for the Rams and new quarterback Matthew Stafford.

"We're always trying to add some juice, and we'll see what the next month and a half entails," Rams coach Sean McVay said Friday, according to ESPN, when asked whether the team needed a wideout to stretch the field for Stafford.

"Every offense probably in the NFL would love a deep threat, right?" Rams general manager Les Snead said, according to ESPN. "If I added to that, it doesn't necessarily have to be someone that catches one deep ball a game; those can be low-percentage throws. But when you definitely have skill players with juice, that can threaten the top shelf of the coverage."

Jackson was limited to eight games in 2019 and 2020 combined because of injuries. But in the one game he played in the second half of the 2020 season, Jackson demonstrated he is still a deep threat, catching an 81-yard touchdown pass. Even after a severe ankle injury knocked him out for nearly all of the season, Jackson said he wanted to return in 2021.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Jackson led the league in yards per reception four times, the last time as recently as 2018. Jackson has the most touchdown receptions of 60 yards or more in NFL history, and he ranks sixth all-time in career yards per reception, according to ESPN.

His 2020 season was limited to five games because of a hamstring injury and a subsequent ankle injury. Jackson played just one game after Oct. 22 ankle injury, and he was targeted just once in that one game. However, that one target resulted in the 81-yard touchdown reception on a pass from Jalen Hurts.

Jackson played for Cal from 2005 through 2007 before becoming a second-round pick by the Eagles in the 2008 NFL Draft.

Nickerson Signing

The Texans signed former Cincinnati Bengals and Minnesota Vikings linebacker Hardy Nickerson to a a one-year contract, according to the Houston Chronicle.  The addition of Nickerson makes a deep Texans linebacking corps even deeper.

The Texans are transitioning to play the Tampa-2 scheme, which deploys a 4-3 front, away from the 3-4 scheme Houston has run since 2011.

Nickerson played the 2020 season with the Vikings, and he saw action in 14 games, including one start. He finished with 14 tackles and one interception.

Nickerson played his first three college seasons at Cal from 2013 through 2015, then transferred to Illinois for his final season to play under his father, Hardy Nickerson Sr., a former Cal standout who was Illinois defensive coordinator at the time.

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Cover photo of DeSean Jackson by Bill Streicher, USA TODAY Sports

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