At this point, it should be painfully obvious that these DeSean Jackson trade rumors are not simply a media creation that the Eagles and Jackson are laughing at behind the scenes. They're real.
The latest confirmation comes from Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer who reports that the Eagles reached out to the Panthers to gauge their interest in a trade for the Pro Bowl WR.
Person points out that the Panthers' need at WR is obvious after the team released Steve Smith and has only replaced him with mid to low tier guys like Jericho Cotchery and Tiquan Underwood. However, the Panthers have real cap issues and are currently just $5 million under this year's cap. Jackson's 2014 hit is currently $10.5 million.
Of course a big portion of Carolina's cap is currently tied up in Greg Hardy's franchise tag, which could be eased if Carolina got a long term deal done with him. Person says however that a long term deal does not appear close. He also mentions DE Charles Johnson and S Charles Godfrey as guys with big cap hits that could be in for a restructuring.
However, it may be more than just money that dampens the Panthers' interest.
Steve Smith, the franchise's all-time receiving leader and one of the team's most popular players, was released last week in part because general manager Dave Gettleman viewed him as a distraction, sources said.
If the Panthers cut ties with Smith because of his big personality, they clearly would have misgivings about acquiring Jackson, whose has a diva reputation around the league.
It certainly is not encouraging news for Eagles fans to see that the team is not only out actively soliciting offers for Jackson (rather than fielding lots of interested calls), they're doing so to one of their major rivals in the NFL. Other rumors have the 49ers, yet another NFL rival, as an interested party.
Not to be a negative nancy here, but so far the Eagles appear to have let this situation get entirely out of hand which almost certainly will hurt their position in any negotiation. Whether the reasons they have for wanting to move Jackson make sense or not, their handling of this situation has been downright awful from day one.
[Note by Brandon Lee Gowton, 03/21/14 4:25 PM EDT] - Report: DeSean Jackson doesn't believe he'll be back with the Eagles.