I am beyond sick of this crap. I can't go to Reddit, ESPN, CBS or NFL, or any of my favorite Eagles-devoted blogs without seeing speculation on DeSean Jackson getting traded. There's been very little logical analysis of the situation, but there has been some, like this piece from yesterday by ESPN's Kevin Seifert. Here is a logical point by point rebuttal of the supposed "evidence" of the rumored DeSean Jackson trade. I have no sources and claim no insider knowledge. I'm just good at smelling bullshit.
1) Every team listens to offers for every player.
So, when you hear "EAGLES LISTENING TO OFFERS FOR DESEAN", you shouldn't get your panties in a twist.
2) Another team inquiring doesn't mean that player is available.
It just means they're checking availability. Just because the Patriots or 49ers inquired about a player doesn't mean they're available. Other teams inquire about player availability all the freaking time. I'm sure the Eagles inquired about the availability of some other team's superstar players. Doesn't mean it's happening.
3) Lack of denial is not proof of his availability.
Yes, the Eagles have had opportunities to deny his availability. Their modus operandi has always been to not comment on speculation. Perhaps they will, soon, because this crap has gotten out of hand. However, the fact that they have not commented to this point isn't a smoking gun by any means.
Chip Kelly was asked flat out whether or not there was any truth to the speculation by Jeff McLane. He responded in jest. There's two ways to interpret this: 1) Kelly is deflecting answering a serious question because he doesn't want to give away the Eagles true intentions or 2) Kelly isn't taking the question seriously because it's laughable to him. Feel free to interpret it how you want, but don't call it proof of Jackson's availability.
Howie Roseman, on the other hand, DID flat out deny rumors that Jackson was "one false step" from being jettisoned. From Philly's CBS affiliate:
"I’m one false step away from getting hit by a bus. I don’t know where that report came from. Obviously everything that we’re doing we’re going to do in the best interest of the Eagles. Don’t want to get into every rumor and kind of go through each player one by one, but certainly there was nothing there from anyone in this building that that report came from."
4) The Eagles have no use for the cap room it'd clear by moving DeSean right now.
The (shaky) foundation of Jimmy's speculation that the Eagles want to move DeSean because they're spending a relatively disproportionate amount of 2014 cap space on WR. There's three problems with that theory. 1) They're going to spend that money one way or another and 2) There's nothing else to spend that money on now that the high price Free Agents are off the market and 3) While Foles is on still his rookie contract, we should surround him with as much talent as possible. I'll touch on #3 in my final point.
The Eagles have flexibility in 2015. Maclin's on a one year deal. DJax has no guaranteed money. It's pretty likely that one or the other will be gone after this season, but there is no incentive to make that move now. Isn't it ironic that the WR with the most job security is Riley Cooper? He's going to be around at least two years. It'll cost more against the cap to cut him than it would to keep him until 2016.
5) The Eagles WR depth is shaky at best without DeSean.
We have Jeremy Maclin coming off an ACL tear. We have Riley Cooper with approximately half a season of quality production under his belt. DeSean is coming off a career year, and before that has been more productive than any other receiver on our roster. The rest of our WR corps is thin, at best. The only guy with any appreciable amount of experience behind Maclin and Cooper is Arrelious Benn, who is also coming off an ACL tear.
6) DJax isn't a drama-queen-migraine-causing-locker-room-cancer-diva-distraction.
"His house got broken into!"
This one is my favorite because it's the most ridiculous, so I'm going to address it first. I don't know why I see it repeatedly brought up, but I still see it at least once a day. Being the victim of a crime is somehow a strike against him? Somehow his fault? I really wish I didn't have to point this out, but nope. He didn't do anything wrong here.
"He's bitching about his contract!"
After the loss to the Saints, DJax didn't say "THEY NEED TO PAY ME!" He responded to a question. He responded to it honestly. The fact is, he's a 27 year old superstar WR with $0 in guaranteed money. That's a scary place to be if you're him. Any reasonable person in his position would want more security than that. He didn't demand a new contract. He acknowledged that a re-worked contract would be deserved.
"He's a gangster rapper!"
So what? Last I checked, NFL players are allowed to have hobbies.
"He doesn't get along with (WRs Coach) Bob Bicknell!"
He had a sideline spat with the dude that lasted 15 seconds. Want to watch the whole clip? Here it is. Dude got emotional in a tough game where the Eagles got dominated by a team they could've beat. Whoop dee doo.
Riley Cooper was a WR3 with 46 career receptions and 5 touchdowns over his first 3 years and no one would've batted an eye if the Eagles cut him last preseason after his infamous video leaked. That incident was more of a controversy/distraction than anything DeSean has done in his career. The Eagles were willing to let him stick around.
But we're supposed to believe despite what he means to the offense, the Eagles can't possibly move forward with DeSean and his supposed issues? It doesn't add up. At all. The truth is, DeSean continues to do charity work and is one of the hardest working, motivated, and focused wide receivers in the game today.
Final Point - Eagles are all in for 2014.
Here's where I'm gonna insert my opinion and speculate a bit. But I'm going to do something crazy and back it up with some facts and logic, too.
No one foresaw the emergence of Nick Foles in 2013. But when it happened, it was spectacular. He was efficient and methodical. His 9.1 yards per attempt were the best in the NFL. He's one of two QBs (the other being Josh McCown) who threw an INT on less than 1% of his pass attempts. 8.5% of his pass attempts went for touchdowns, best in the NFL.
Those are the three most important passing stats, if you ask me. These stats answer the questions 1) How far do we move each pass? 2) How often do we score? 3) How often do we give the ball away? It's not necessarily logical to expect improvement on these numbers in 2014. It's actually statistically more probable that they regress towards the mean.
On the other hand, there's a lot of reason for optimism. The only weapon the Eagles lost on offense was Jason Avant. Bless his heart, we love him, but we weren't going to keep him around for that much money. In his place, we added two offensive weapons in Jeremy Maclin and Darren Sproles. Lane Johnson and Zach Ertz had slow starts and strong finishes in their promising rookie campaigns. If they continue developing, our offense will be that much more efficient. Finally, everyone is entering year two of the Chip Kelly Era. They have a year's worth of familiarity with the playbook and offensive concepts Kelly preaches. Everyone has bought in.
With Nick Foles on his rookie contract and coming off such a promising season, it doesn't make any sense at all to downgrade the WR corps. We have a QB capable of playing like a stud. We're trying to set up the most spectacular year of offense in the NFL. We have the best o-line and the best RB in football. We have, at worst, two productive quality starters at TE. At best, we have a potential stud in Zach Ertz. We have three high quality options at WR, and we just added Darren Sproles into the fold.
Truth be told, if Foles had played all 16 games in 2013, there's no telling whether or not the Eagles offense would've been more impressive than the Broncos record-setting offense. I would lean towards no, because Foles certainly had some growing pains, but the stats don't lie. Foles was more efficient on a per play basis than Peyton Manning was, and the Broncos run game pales in comparison to the Eagles. We didn't exactly have Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, and Eric Decker, either. We did that with DJax, Cooper, and Avant. Imagine the possibilities in year two, with Djax, Maclin, Cooper, and Sproles in the receiver mix.
I'm just saying I would be absolutely blown away if the Eagles traded DeSean Jackson. I look forward to arguing with everyone in the comments. Just kidding (but not really).