Yes, this goes against my firm affirmation that DeSean Jackson wasn’t going anywhere, but new development suggests he may indeed be on his way out. The Eagles have confirmed that they are shopping Jackson around the league, but have not announced whether they will trade or release him. The teams I discussed last week are all still part of the rumors, as well as a couple more such as the Seahawks and Panthers. Regardless, it seems as though attitude and money are not the main reason that Jackson could be gone. The Eagles don’t need a receiver like him anymore.
While Eagles GM Howie Roseman hasn’t directly confirmed Jackson’s future with the team, sources all over the place have been saying he’s as good as gone. All Roseman would say was that “He’s still under contract.” Some even say this decision was made a long time ago.
Report: Eagles decided to part ways with DeSean Jackson a month ago http://t.co/spShaV6gpA
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 24, 2014
The hard part to determine is which teams have no interest at all, which teams don’t want to trade for him, and what teams are interested in him no matter what. As for the first of those, reports have said that Seahawks and 49ers are out of the running and have no interest in him. The Panthers are kind of in this category. Even though they may have interest in him, it’s not strong enough to warrant trading a draft pick or paying him $10+ million in free agency. Plus, they just signed WRs Jerricho Cotchery and Tiquan Underwood, suggesting they may be done signing receivers this free agency.
The Linc – Seahawks Not Interested in DeSean Jackson http://t.co/9PZDFNsE1W
— BleedingGreenNation (@BleedingGreen) March 24, 2014
49ers GM Trent Baalke Denies Interest in a DeSean Jackson Trade http://t.co/5U8JNO7MZy
— BleedingGreenNation (@BleedingGreen) March 23, 2014
— David Newton (@DNewtonespn) March 24, 2014
Well, that eliminates three premier teams in the NFC, all of which the Eagles have to play next season. Then there’s the teams that have interest in Jackson, but are likely unwilling to trade away a high pick for him. The Raiders are the main team in this category, which makes sense because they have the cap space to sign him if the Eagles release him. But they are still in their continuous rebuilding stage, meaning that trading a high draft pick would be counterproductive.
#Raiders are intrigued by DeSean Jackson, but sources say they are not inclined to give up a '14 pick. Interested in him, if he’s free.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 24, 2014
Then that leaves the Jets, who seem like the most obvious pick for Jackson no matter how it’s looked at. They have a ton of cap money and can handle Jackson’s contract, and they are in serious need of an actually talented #1 WR. They did sign Eric Decker already in free agency, but he’s not a proven #1 guy. Also, Jets owner Woody Johnson has confirmed that the team is interested in Jackson, and the acquisition of Michael Vick at QB might be a good fit. Plus, they have Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who used to hold the same position for the Eagles. But even the Jets might not want to give up a draft pick if they’re the only team really interested in him because they could easily just wait till the Eagles release him and not have to give up anything.
Jets’ Owner: Team interested in DeSean Jackson “at right price” http://t.co/Q7TmN4k1P6
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 24, 2014
In the end, if the Jets are the only one trying to trade for him, his value is much lower if the Eagles are trying to get rid of him anyway (that’s basic economics). So it’s likely that the Jets would hold out on Jackson till he was released and then offer him a contract. And if they don’t get him, they still have Decker as their top WR, so no big deal.
As for the main reason why the Eagles want to get rid of Jackson, it’s because of his size. Sure, he’s on the fastest guys in the NFL, but he’s too small of a guy to fit Chip Kelly’s new system. Kelly likes big, tall, and physical receivers, but Jackson doesn’t fit that description at all. Drafting a guy like Mike Evans or Kelvin Benjamin makes a lot more sense. The Eagles know Jackson is a talented player, but if a guy doesn’t fit their system, why keep him around, especially for such a high price? The Eagles have decided to move on, and as long as they draft a guy that can fill his shoes, I think I may be okay with it.