The Eagles have put it out in the open that they are willing to listen to trade offers for wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Though not actively shopping the receiver, should a team come up with an attractive offer, the Eagles seem interested in sending him to another team. Philadelphia is asking for no less than a third round pick.
The roller coaster ride in Philadelphia continues. Earlier in the week, Philadelphia sports radio 94 WIP Ike Reese had confirmed that head coach Chip Kelly had indeed spoken with Jackson about putting the trade rumors to rest.
But where there’s smoke, there’s fire. According to Philly.com, Kelly had contacted Jackson to clear the air and let him know that the team had no intentions of trading him.
Reports had surfaced that the San Francisco 49ers and the New England Patriots have contacted the Eagles about Jackson, but nothing had been in the works for a possible trade. It’s difficult to gauge the possibility of a trade. The fact that the Eagles aren’t “shopping him” but “listening to offers” tends to make it sound like the team is willing to keep him if they can’t find the right deal. They have him under contract for another three seasons, and even with Jackson on the books, the team has 16.25 million dollars of free cap space, so they aren’t hurting financially to keep him.
It wouldn’t make sense for the Eagles to deal him, regardless of how much of a headache he may be. What he brings to this offense is a lot of attention on the field, for good reason. He draws the double team that helps create the one-on-one matchups that have made Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin effective in their short time in Philadelphia.
The Eagles may look to find a cheaper, effective option to Jackson through the draft as many draft experts are calling this a deep class for wide receivers. The team may also be lining up Maclin and Cooper on the outside and tight end Zach Ertz on the inside in three wide receiver sets.
If the Eagles do decide to move Jackson, their best option may have been with the Carolina Panthers. But as of Thursday morning, the Panthers had signed veteran Jericho Cotchery. Carolina had about $6 million in cap space prior to the signing, but with the signing, it will be very difficult to make a deal. The Eagles could attempt to look for a player on defense they could trade for and take on some contracts, but Carolina has lost a fair amount of talent on defense as well. Carolina has become a very tough trade partner. Other teams, such as the Niners and Patriots, either have future contracts that need to be negotiated that makes it tough to pursue a trade, or are just too close up to the cap to make a move unless the other team is willing to move a contract of their own.
At this point — now that the team has already stated that they are listening to offers for Jackson — they need to move him. It’s as if the team has hit the point of no return, by also not giving any assurances that Jackson is wanted in the City of Brotherly Love. The asking price of a third round pick could be too steep to move him, and they may have to settle for several mid round picks to move him. In time, the asking price may go down.
It’s time for the Eagles to deal with damage control. Chances are we see Jackson in an Eagles uniform in 2014. With Jackson expressing his desire to stay in town — but the Eagles unwilling to assure Jackson isn’t going anywhere or that they want him a part of the locker room — he could become an issue in the upcoming season. The owners meeting is coming up soon in Orlando, and Howie Roseman and Kelly will be in attendance. The media will be pressing the question until they get an answer. It would be smart for the Eagles to try and put the fire out before it becomes too much.