In all likelyhood, DeSean Jackson will be traded (if he is going to be traded and not released) between now and Wednesday, during the NFL owners meetings. With coaches required to speak to the media, and team executives all gathered in one place, it seems extremely unlikely that the Eagles will leave Orlando (where the meetings are being held) with number 10 still on their roster. Where DeSean ends up is a crap-shoot right now.
Acquiring Jackson through a trade–when he is due $10.5 million next season–seems out of the question for the Seattle Seahawks per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco passed along that San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke told reporters, upon his arrival at the meetings, that the team ‘hadn’t contacted the Eagles’ about a trade for DeSean. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio says that despite that statement from Baalke, the 49ers are ‘very interested’.
The real question for the Eagles is do they really want to move DeSean in the NFC and make a team like the 49ers better? Their number one priority appears to be moving on from DeSean, but they can’t be stupid about it. If they want to be a Superbowl contender over the next four or five seasons, what sense does it make improving another one of the best teams in the NFC?
Florio believes that the only interest that anyone can be certain in, is the Jets, given that Woody Johnson publicly said it last night.
Some think that the Eagles or the agent are lying about the existence of interest. Others are convinced one or more teams are lying about the non-existence of interest. Perhaps the only person telling the truth is Jets owner Woody Johnson, who risked a tampering violation by admitting the Jets have interest in Jackson.
If the Jets are seriously interested, and are willing to give the Eagles a third-round pick, then it may be time to pull the trigger. Not only are the Jets not in the NFC, but the chances of them getting in the Eagles way of winning the Superbowl anytime soon seem slim.
As far as compensation, a third-round pick would be a gift at this point. If teams know that both sides have irreconcilable differences (even though no one is sure what those differences are), and that the Eagles are willing to cut DeSean, then expecting a first or second-round pick is pretty unrealistic. That’s without mentioning that Jackson already is due a ton of money, and wants even more.
I’m really starting to get the feeling that the Eagles NEED to trade DeSean and pick where he lands. They need to make sure it is an AFC team, and preferably one that isn’t a Superbowl contender with him on the roster. They can’t allow him to end up in Seattle, San Francisco, New Orleans, New York (Giants), Carolina, or anywhere that he is going to make his team a true threat to keeping the Eagles from winning the NFC. (Obviously some of those teams would need to clear cap space to make that a reality, but just go along with my point.) If they release him, they risk that chance.
As I wrote yesterday, the Eagles are still going to be an elite offense with DeSean in my mind. I’m just not sure they are going to be the best offense in the league, like I thought they would be with him. But the last thing I want to see is the Eagles offense slowed down in the NFC divisional round or NFC title game, and the team that beats them moves on to the next round behind an explosive offense opened up by DeSean.