Some reporters say he’s staying, some say he’s leaving. Some say he should be traded, some say he should stay. Some say Jackson doesn’t get along with Head Coach Chip Kelly, some say there’s no problem. All I know is this: he should not and will not be traded this offseason.
So many different people have been saying so many different things, so it’s hard to determine what the actual report is. First, there are things like this:
Been told the 49ers aren't interested in DeSean Jackson. Right now, they have $4.22M in cap space. And they have to budget for Kaepernick.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 18, 2014
… Best I can tell, the Niners didn't call Philly. And as for the Patriots, they're running out of cap room too. Weird situation.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 18, 2014
I don’t know about you, but Albert Breer is a more reputable source than most people considering his inside connections in the NFL. I trust him more than even an Eagles beat reporter, who may be closer to the individual team, but also is less reliable. CSNPhilly.com’s Derrick Gunn reported, contrary to Breer’s report, that the 49ers and Patriots have actually called about acquiring Jackson. I’m not 100% positive as to which is true, but clearly there are conflicting reports.
As Breer suggests, neither of those teams is in a good position to acquire Jackson anyway. The Patriots do not have the cap space to get Jackson unless they unloaded Danny Amendola in the trade, which would be even worse for the Eagles than getting a draft pick. Amendola is nothing more than an overpaid, overrated slot receiver that the Eagles didn’t need a few years ago. To re-acquire him at a steep cap hit of $4.58 million knowing that it will continue to increase each year of his contract is stupid.
Plus, having Jackson and Julian Edelman, both short, fast receivers, as their #1 and #2 guys would not help them much more than having Amendola and Edelman (and would hurt their cap more). The Patriots have about $14.5 million in cap space (after the release of Vince Wilfork), which is just enough to eat Jackson’s $12.75 million cap hit. Trading Amendola would give them more flexibility, but would be trading away an asset. And keeping him would mean they’re stuck with 3 receivers under six feet. Also, they just signed Brandon LaFell in free agency, so picking up Jackson would crowd out their rookies (Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson) that they had last year. It just doesn’t make sense.
As for the 49ers, it makes even less sense. Sure, having a trio of Jackson, Anquan Boldin, and Michael Crabtree would be excellent and extremely dangerous, but they’re not financially in the spot to acquire a guy with as large of a cap hit as Jackson. They have $4.38 million in cap space at the moment, and while they could clear up space by releasing Frank Gore (which would save them $6.45 million in cap space), that’s still not enough to get Jackson. Plus, Colin Kaepernick has already been asking for a much bigger contract that would likely give him a higher cap hit than the measly $1.63 million one that he has right now. Honestly, they’re just not the team for him.
Some rumors also have Jackson going to a team like the Raiders or Jets, both of which have over $25 million in cap space at the moment, but it seems unlikely since neither team has shown official interest at this point. The Jets rumor is the one that seems the most likely, especially with them also interested in former Eagles QB Michael Vick, but at this point there is nothing there. This is not a story, it’s a rumor.
The Eagles would only try to trade Jackson in order to both clear cap space and “move on,” but neither of these seem like the way to go right now. The Eagles have plenty of cap space and have even told Jackson earlier this offseason that he’s not going anywhere. It’s possible that they could be trying to target a top 1st round WR in this year’s draft since it’s so deep, but the rumors have said that they’re looking for a 3rd or 4th rounder, which is counterproductive. They wouldn’t get a Mike Evans or Sammy Watkins that low, so why trade a franchise player?
Jackson is coming off his best season of his career last year, posting 82 receptions for 1,332 yards and 9 TDs. That’s a career-high in receptions and yards and tied for a career-high in TDs. Why trade a player that you know is a top 10 WR and replace him with an unproven rookie? There is just no logic in that since they can’t guarantee that the rookie they draft is going to dominate.
But, this is the most important part. Jackson himself has said that he’d be “really hurt” if traded for “no apparent reason,” according to Daily News. Jackson has also expressed interest in staying with the franchise for now and even possibly for the rest of his career. Does that sound like something someone told him to say? Maybe, but not Jackson. He has been known to say what he wants and he wouldn’t hold back in a situation like this.
Overall, this trade makes no sense and currently has no substance. While the Eagles have been said to be interested in listening to offers, this by no means suggests they’re going to trade him. It’s just another case of the media blowing up an issue that isn’t there.