Before we get into this, I wanted to mention the "pay DeSean" chants at Eagles camp yesterday. Jackson practiced for the first time and clearly the fans were excited and want him around for a long time. After practice he was asked about the Steve Smith signing, a question that Les Bowen guessed was implying that it could be used as leverage against him in a contract negotiation. If that was the point of the question, DeSean didn't get it. He had another idea why.
"The reason why they picked him up is they're unsure of Maclin's health."
Now, I wouldn't presume that the Eagles share their reasoning for moves with DeSean Jackson, especially give that he just showed up less than a week ago. So I don't think anyone should take this as him revealing secretive concerns or letting any inside info slip. It's probably just what he thinks. That said, the fact that he does think it is interesting and I would assume that he's not the only Eagle who does.
I just have a problem with the logic of these theories that Steve Smith can be used as "insurance" for Jeremy Maclin or "leverage" against DeSean. He signed a one year deal, so there's no long term commitment that would make Jackson expendable in any way. So that theory would seem to hold no water at all. Second, he's injured. He could very well start the season on PUP and miss six games. If that's the case, how is he insurance against the possibility that Maclin won't be ready to start the season? The Eagles are "optimistic" he could be ready to start the year, but they're "optimistic" about Maclin as well. At least that's what they've said about both guys. Of course, it doesn't seem like their optimism over injuries is often right...
So I don't presume to know the teams' thinking on this anymore than DeSean Jackson knows it... but it just doesn't make logical sense to me that Steve Smith would be relied upon to be insurance for anything this year. To me, he seems like a guy the Eagles saw as an undervalued asset with pro bowl talent that could be had for cheap. This is a guy who could get healthy later in the year and give the Eagles the best possession/slot WR in the NFL for the stretch run, which probably was worth a $2 million gamble.