By now, it's become pretty clear that the chances of DeSean Jackson returning to the Eagles next season look very slim. The Eagles are actively shopping him around the league. A number of teams have been reportedly interested in Jackson, including the Jets, Patriots, 49ers, Seahawks, Panthers, and Raiders. Jackson himself doesn't believe he'll be back.
But trading Jackson might not be so simple. He's due $10.5 million this season and not every team either has the cap space or would want to pay Jackson that much. Jackson may have restructure his contract in order to facilitate a trade. But according to a report (and to no surprise), Jackson doesn't want to restructure his contract.
Source: Eagles WR DeSean Jackson, scheduled to make $10.5M this yr, isn't interested in restructuring his deal.Jets reportedly inquired #nyj— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) March 22, 2014
So if teams don't want to trade for DeSean, the Eagles will have to just keep him, right? Well, no. Everything from what's been reported indicates that the Eagles are ready to move on from Jackson.
"He's as good as gone," said one source close to the 27-year-old receiver. Another source estimated Jackson's chances of returning to the Eagles at less than five percent. [Story]
"The feeling within the DeSean Jackson camp right now is that he will not be back. It's a matter of when, not if." [Story]
"There is no way he's an Eagle this year. However it leaked out, it leaked out, and now this is what you have." [Story]
It's not just a matter of getting value in return. It's a matter of getting rid of the 27-year old receiver entirely. So if that's the case, it's a very real possibility Jackson could be released. Doing so would create $6 million in dead money for the Eagles but would save them $6.75 million in cap space.
SEA and SF among the teams who talked trade w/Philly on DeSean Jackson. His $ and cap # a real issue. Some GMs think he gets released in end— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 22, 2014
Wouldn't shock me in the slightest. RT @TomWelke You've been on top of Djax mess from the start. Think if he's not traded he will be cut?— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) March 22, 2014
DeSean Jackson is coming off a career-best year & just turned 27. Chip Kelly is a pretty open minded guy. DJax mustve REALLY pissed him off.— Evan Silva (@evansilva) March 22, 2014
Chip Kelly has a history of giving his players the chance to rehab their image under him. Getting rid of DeSean isn't a kneejerk reaction.— Dave Mangels (@Southern_Philly) March 18, 2014
If I were DeSean, would not restructure contract for potential trade. Force Eagles to cut you, negotiate on open market and pick your team.— Sheil Kapadia (@SheilKapadia) March 22, 2014
This isn't the first time the possibility of Jackson being released has come up this offseason. A few weeks ago, a CSN Philly report suggested Jackson could be "one false step" away from being cut.
The move wouldn't seem to make much sense. Why release a player as talented as Jackson? The Eagles have the cap space to afford him and the off the field reasons why Jackson would be traded don't seem major enough that the team would cut him.
This leads me to believe, once again, there's more to this situation than any of us currently know.
I've maintained from the beginning of this speculation that there's probably more to all of this than we are all privy to. I think it's naive to assuming what we know about the DeSean situation is all their is to know. It just doesn't add up. The puzzle is missing pieces that are waiting to be filled in.
Chip Kelly worries about how much sodium is in the relish in the cafeteria. I'm pretty sure a major decision like trading DeSean Jackson is well reasoned. I just find it hard to believe the guy who preaches "we do everything for a reason" and abides by science would act so irrationally.
But just because it's well reasoned doesn't necessarily mean it's the right move. And I know it's hard to expect rationality in a situation like this. The Eagles eventually owe an explanation as to why all of this is happening. For now, I'm keeping an open mind.