San Francisco 49ers

DeSean Jackson says 49ers were strong suitors in March

Former Cal receiver said he nearly made a trip back to the Bay Area when he was a free agent in March.
Former Cal receiver said he nearly made a trip back to the Bay Area when he was a free agent in March. AP

Wide receiver DeSean Jackson said he nearly paid the 49ers a visit when he was a free agent in March.

“It was a close call,” the former Cal star said. “I almost made the trip to come out there but obviously Washington did what they did and they kept me here and made everything right.”

Washington signed Jackson to a three-year, $24 million deal in early April. Two weeks later the 49ers signed Brandon Lloyd to a one-year contract and the following month traded for Stevie Johnson. Lloyd has a base salary of $955,000 this year; Johnson’s is $3.7 million.

Three different quarterbacks have started for three-win Washington this season, and the team is in disarray after a humbling home loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday. But Jackson's numbers continue to be strong. He ranks ninth in the league with 819 receiving yards, averages an NFL-high 20.5 yards a catch and has scored four touchdowns.

Jackson said he spoke with both Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke when he was on the market in March.

“Myself and coach Harbaugh played against each other when he was at Stanford and I was at Cal and things like that, so I respect him and what he's done,” he said.

Of course, the March free-agency period wasn’t the 49ers’ first opportunity to grab Jackson. They took defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer (29th) and guard Chilo Rachal (39th) ahead of Jackson (49th) in their infamous 2008 draft. Both are out of the NFL.

Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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