Friday, September 5, 2014
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Don't believe the DeSean Jackson rumors

Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson. (Ron Cortes/Staff file photo)
Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson. (Ron Cortes/Staff file photo)
Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson. (Ron Cortes/Staff file photo) Gallery: Don't believe the DeSean Jackson rumors

The Eagles are not actively shopping DeSean Jackson, nor do they have any intention of parting with their Pro Bowl wide receiver this offseason.

Media reports surfaced this week that the Eagles could be open to trading Jackson or that he is one more slipup away from being released, but they are purely speculative, according to several NFL sources.

Jackson is not close to being cut, and even if he was one misstep away from forcing the Eagles to move him, they most certainly would not release him without getting something in return.

The Eagles do not respond to rumors. It wouldn't be in their best interest to feed a reporter this sort of information without attribution - as a "team source" - because refuting speculation would be acknowledging it.

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    But after checking in with almost a dozen sources from around the league, it's clear the Eagles aren't interested in dealing the 27-year-old Jackson - not by a long shot.

    Theories on the True Detective killer have nothing on the Jackson rumors.

    Are the Eagles thrilled about what Jackson does during the offseason and how he broadcasts it on social media? No. Were they happy when he sat by his locker the day after the Eagles lost to the Saints in the playoffs and told wave after wave of reporters that he thought he was "deserving" of a new contract? No.

    But these are small potatoes. Would the Eagles have to reconsider their position if Jackson did something that was an actual serious lapse in judgment? Of course. But when has he ever done anything to suggest he is capable of such behavior? Never.

    The basic facts are:

    Jackson is coming off a career year in which he caught 82 passes for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns.

    The Eagles were the second-ranked offense in the NFL in 2013 and set franchise records for points and yards.

    Jackson is slated to earn $10.25 million in base salary in 2014 - a large number but certainly in line with his production and where he ranks among the NFL's top receivers.

    The re-signing of receiver Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper has nothing to do with Jackson. The Eagles planned on heading into last season with all three, and even if Cooper is now a larger part of the offense, he offsets the loss of Jason Avant. There is more than enough offense to go around and Maclin still has to prove he's healthy and Cooper has to prove 2013 wasn't a fluke.

    The free-agent market is light on topflight receivers, especially ones with game-breaking ability like Jackson.

    NFL trades are difficult to pull off.

    The draft may be plentiful with receiving talent, but the Eagles have made a concerted effort to stay away from drafting for need. They won't go into May's draft thinking they have to get a receiver to replace Jackson - if by some miracle he was traded - and the odds are they won't find one who can immediately replace his production.

    As for Jackson's contract demands, while the timing wasn't right, NFL sources have said that a reconstructed deal is unlikely. There has been no indication from Jackson or his agent, Joel Segal, that he plans to hold out.

    The last time Jackson held out, in 2011, he got nothing.

    If the Eagles draft a receiver in the first round this year - which they still could do - and Maclin plays well enough to earn that big-money, long-term contract he seeks, the Eagles could think differently about Jackson in 2015.

    But there's something called the 2014 season that still needs to be played, and all signs point to Jackson's returning for Chip Kelly's second season.

     


    jmclane@phillynews.com

    @Jeff_McLane

     

    Jeff McLane INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
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