“Don’t believe everything you read!” captioned one of DeSean Jackson’s recent Instagram posts. The receiver has stamped the news over the past few weeks, as murmurs revealing the Eagles’ wishes to part ways have surfaced. Claims of insurance fraud, locker room antics, and overall selfishness have been plastered onto the name of the star as reason for these stories. As Jackson himself stated, however, one cannot follow along with the media in this read-aloud session.
On Tuesday, Jackson took to twitter and stated that he had spoken to Chip Kelly. He had even reportedly told teammates that he was staying, even though nothing about their exact conversation was released. Despite all of the speculation and the prospect of BFL teams salivating over a top player, it appeared as DeSean Jackson was set to stay.
On Wednesday morning, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly met with a slew of media at the NFL League Meetings. When asked about the proverbial elephant in the room, Kelly finally ended the silence: “I’ve talked to DeSean…but we’ll do what’s best for the team.” Kelly went on to add that he has “no issue” with DeSean. Ultimately, Kelly kept all avenues open when he declared that “[his] offense isn’t predicated on one player.” The only conclusion one can draw is that this situation has yet to reach a conclusion.
After the season ended, Jackson was asked about wanting a contract extension. Jackson hinted at wishing for a new deal, but Kelly shot down those rumors Wednesday: “DeSean hasn’t come up to me or Howie and asked for a new contract,” Kelly clarified. Football analyst Adam Caplan also eliminated the possibility of a new contract, saying, “He’s not going to get a new one that;s for sure. What he did his job, so he wants more money? It doesn’t work like that.”
One window that is firmly shut, however, is the one leading to Jackson’s release. Overall, it doesn’t make sense to cut Jackson outright after he amassed 1,300 yards receiving last year, along with a career-high nine touchdowns. At age 27, Jackson is in the purple patch of his career. To waste the rights to a talent this promising would be to demonstrate the executive version of Plaxico Burress’ infamous shot to the foot. Financially, the move would make accountants shriek with horror. If the Eagles were to cut Jackson, Eagles Cap predicts the team to be docked a whopping $6 million in dead money. To put this into perspective: all five of the Eagles free agent signings combined have a cap figure lower than $6 million. To cut Jackson would be to cut crucial resources that could be used to improve a potential Super Bowl contender.
Though League Meetings–the NFL’s Silk Road–have ended, the possibility of trading DeSean Jackson is one the Eagles can linger upon. While Jackson poses a heavy burden if he is released, he will cost the Eagles a massive $12.75 million in 2014, a number higher than that of LeSean McCoy. This is obviously the best time to trade Jackson, as the sell-high principle of bargaining would seem to net the Eagles a hefty ransom. However, the team has yet to receive any major offers in the two weeks that the rumors have floated. Only the Jets have reportedly sent an offer, that being a fourth and fifth round pick.
Jackson could very well remain an Eagle. Players like him cannot be plucked off trees, especially those who can use their speed well. He would pose no threat to the cap this year, since the Eagles are well under the cap for 2014. Jackson at his current price is at least feasible for 2014.
A coin flip could decide how this roller coaster ends. The outcome is on edge. Judgement day would appear to be draft day, as after that the Eagles would gain no significant return investment in the trade market. Roseman must be wise before he lets a proven threat walk out of the building better than he came in.