The Eagles are not actively shopping DeSean Jackson, nor do they have any intention of parting with their Pro Bowl wide receiver this offseason.
Jackson isn’t close to being cut, and even if he was one misstep away from forcing the Eagles to move him, they most certainly wouldn’t release him without getting something in return.
The Eagles, of course, don’t respond to rumors. It wouldn’t be within their best interest to feed a reporter the above information without attribution – e.g. as a “team source” – because refuting speculation would be acknowledging it.
But after talking 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.
Reports that the Eagles could be open to trading Jackson – as if they aren’t open to trading any player for the right price – or that he is one more slip-up away from being released – as if posting Instagram pictures with rappers is a slip-up – are purely speculative.
Theories on the True Detective killer have nothing on the Jackson rumors.
Are the Eagles always thrilled about what Jackson does during the offseason and how he broadcasts in 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’s capable of illegal 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 No. 2 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 other top receivers.
-- The re-signing of receiver Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper has nothing whatsoever 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 top-flight receivers, especially ones with game-breaking ability like Jackson.
-- Player-for-player trades, or any NFL trades for that matter are difficult to pull off.
-- The draft may be plentiful with receiver 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 that 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. And there hasn’t been any 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.
Jackson is due to make $9.75 million next season in the second-to-last year on his contract. The Eagles will take a cap hit of $12 million. 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 returning for Chip Kelly season No. 2.