It's hard to believe that it's nearly been a month since the idea of DeSean Jackson no longer being a member of the Eagles first emerged. It feels like it's dragged out longer than that. It's also hard to believe he's still really not on the team. But this is the reality we face.
Jackson's release carried shock value only because it did not make sense. The reasons as to why the Eagles made the move still aren't clear. The organization has declined to speak on the subject. But looking back over the past month, however, it's easy to see there was ample evidence to suggest that Jackson's departure was coming all along.
Slowly but surely, the rumors grew. Some dismissed all of the media reports as unfounded conjecture. Some claimed that the Jackson speculation was simply media fabrication. Clearly, that wasn't the case. But this isn't the time nor place for crow eating.
Instead, I'd like to think the point of this post is largely for archive purposes. It's interesting to see how what many dismissed as mere speculation at first proved to be true the entire time. Big ups to Jimmy Kempski (former BGN guy!) for having this before anyone else did.
DeSean Jackson Fallout Timeline
January 6, 2014
"I definitely feel it's something deserving," Jackson said at his locker in the NovaCare Complex on locker cleanout day. "We'll see how that plays out, and hopefully we can work things out smoothly and not have to worry about anything out of the ordinary.
"But I definitely feel like it's deserving. I'm proven in this league, and after this past year, went out there, no distractions, and just really put it all in for my team and went out there and had a lot of success, so we'll see how it goes."
January 9, 2014
Source: New contract for DeSean Jackson unlikely. Reported by Jeff McLane.
Whether Jackson does or doesn’t want his five-year, $47 million deal restructured, the Eagles are unlikely to rework his contract, a source close to the situation said.
January 11, 2014
(Note: This isn't necessarily related to the speculation... or is it? Either way, weird timing.)
March 1, 2014
The Eagles wrap up a week of in-house moves by re-signing wide receivers Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin. Shortly after, Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com reports:
There's an opinion among some in the Eagles organization that Jackson's personality is not a great fit with the locker room culture that Chip Kelly is trying to cultivate, and the Eagles could be open to trading him.
Howard Eskin replies to a Kempski tweet with the following message (edited for grammar):
Possibly trading DeSean Jackson is not connected to the signings of Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin. I hear the team may be at the point [of wanting to trade him] because of his drama.
March 5, 2014
According to multiple sources familiar with the team’s thinking, two incidents haven't gone unnoticed by the front office. First, Jackson lobbied for a new contract less than 48 hours after the team’s first-round playoff loss to the Saints. Then shortly thereafter, police in January reported $250,000 in stolen cash and jewelry along with a handgun from the receiver’s South Philadelphia home during a break-in while Jackson was vacationing.
Later that day, Jeff McLane reports that the DeSean rumors have little weight.
The Eagles are not actively shopping DeSean Jackson, nor do they have any intention of parting with their Pro Bowl wide receiver this offseason. Jackson isn’t close to being cut, and even if he was one misstep away from forcing the Eagles to move him, they most certainly wouldn’t release him without getting something in return. [...] But after talking with almost a dozen sources from around the league, it’s clear the Eagles aren’t interested in dealing the 27-year-old Jackson – not by a long shot.
This was and remains to be the only report denying the speculation. It was not confirmed by any other outlets.
Here's a highly interesting interview with Derrick Gunn on CSN Philly's Philly Sports Talk. I was not aware of this clip's existence until recently.
Here's a complete transcript of what was said.
Barkann: Gunner, you sat down with Jason Avant yesterday and you asked him... did he play peacemaker between DeSean Jackson and [Eagles WR coach] Bob Bicknell?
Gunn: On more than one occassion, yes.Yes. And that problem with that is... DeSean Jackson doesn't really listen to anybody. Jason Avant was probably the only guy who could get his attention. Over the last several years the Eagles have had a number of ex-players try to talk to DeSean. DeSean Jackson does what DeSean Jackson does and I think that's eventually going to be his downfall. Not just with the Philadelphia Eagles, but in the NFL because the word is out on him. The word is out across the league on DeSean Jackson: "We don't know if he's the kind of guy we want in our locker room. We don't care how talented he is."
March 6, 2014
"Well it’s funny because what I did last night when I got home is, I played the ‘one false step away’ game with my wife. So I said, ‘what am I one false step away from?’ and she said, certainly kicked to the curb," Roseman told 94WIP’s Angelo Cataldi and the Morning Team on Thursday. "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."
March 13, 2014
Paul Domowitch writes a column about the Eagles' trade options when it comes to acquiring more 2014 NFL draft picks. He ends the column with this curious line:
After re-signing Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin, and now adding a unique weapon like Sproles, who caught 71 passes last season and had seven touchdown catches in two of the last three seasons, and a draft coming up that includes one of the best and deepest wide-receiving classes in recent history, might the Eagles be willing to trade Jackson for more picks? Believe me when I tell you it’s been talked about on the second floor of NovaCare.
Kempski replies to Domowitch's article with the following message:
It's been discussed on every other floor too.
March 15, 2014
Reuben Frank takes notice of Kelly's question-dodging as well.
At the Maxwell Club presser Friday in Atlantic City, N.J., Chip Kelly was given every opportunity to affirm DeSean Jackson as a big part of the Eagles’ plans moving forward, but he ducked the question about Jackson’s future with a joke (see video). That’s a common Kelly device -- ducking questions he doesn’t want to answer with jokes. Not sure it means the Eagles are disenchanted enough with Jackson to move him, but he could have said, "Come on, DeSean’s our guy, he’s not going anywhere," and ended the speculation. And he opted not to.
March 16, 2014
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly spoke to the media for the first time since the season ended at the Maxwell Football Club awards. Kelly was specifically asked about Jackson and sidestepped the question entirely.
[Chip Kelly] sidestepped a question about speculation that DeSean Jackson could be moved, joking that he'll determine the importance of Jackson among the Eagles' receivers by how reporters predict they will be prioritized.
"He's a priority at wide receiver before Maclin, behind Cooper, or is it Cooper before Maclin, or Maclin before Cooper?" Kelly said. "I'll check what you write and tell you how I feel about it."
Kempski offered his own take on Kelly's answer:
I'll just add in a bit of my own commentary here. The reporter who asked the DeSean Jackson question was the Inquirer's Jeff McLane, who had previously reported that Jeremy Maclin was a priority over Riley Cooper when the two players were still unsigned by the team. The Eagles ended up signing Cooper first, but that doesn't mean that McLane was wrong. The Eagles could have certainly valued Maclin more, but were just able to get a deal done more quickly with Cooper. Kelly took the opportunity to needle Jeff a little, and in the process, say absolutely nothing about Jackson. It was really a brilliant answer.
The Eagles have had plenty of opportunities to simply say, "DeSean Jackson is an Eagle and will remain an Eagle, end of story."
But they haven't.
March 17, 2014
Tim McManus of Birds 24/7 comes out with an interesting post titled "DeSean Remains in the Dark". McManus notes that Jackson is aware of all the speculation that has taken place:
According to multiple sources familiar with the situation, Jackson is unsure about his standing on the team and troubled by what is being written about him. He has reached out to some of his teammates to express his concern. One of Jackson’s top confidants says that the whole situation has become "a bit of a distraction."
Adding to the confusion/strain is the fact that the Eagles had yet to contact Jackson as of Saturday to offer assurance. This seems a little peculiar, particularly since Chip Kelly has been very careful about making sure his players know where they stand with him. For instance, he spoke with every key veteran on the roster during the draft last April immediately after picking someone at their position.
McManus goes on to say that Jackson wants to return to the team. But it seems unclear if the Eagles feel the same way:
Given his level of production and Kelly's love for offensive weapons, you would think he would be. But the rumblings persist. We asked one agent that has established credibility with us if he had heard anything regarding Jackson, and he responded: "Yes. Heard there is no way [DeSean Jackson] is back [with the Eagles.]" He isn't looped directly into the situation and isn't to be looked at as a source, but it shows that the rumors are not confined to the internet. They exist in some league circles. They have reached Jackson and have been relayed to some of his teammates. They are beginning to have an impact.
March 18, 2014
BGN publishes the original "DeSean Jackson Speculation Timeline" post. Oddly enough, later that day the Jaccpocalypse gains legitimate steam when CSN Philly's Derick Gunn reports that the Eagles are willing to offers for Jackson.
The team has taken inquiries from the 49ers and Patriots, Gunn has learned from a league source, and notified the Pro Bowl wideout early last week that it’s not shopping him but is listening to potential suitors.
March 19, 2014
"He’s [DeSean Jackson] talked to Chip [Kelly] this off-season," Reese said, citing a source close to the situation. "He’s talked to Chip and Chip told him you don’t have to worry about all the rumors that are out there. You’re here. He’s been assured, at least he’s been assured at that time [when they talked], that he wasn’t going anywhere."
That report is later refuted.
I've now heard from a more "official" DeSean Jackson source. Source says contrary to what I was told earlier, and what Ike Reese reported on 94WIP, DeSean HAS NOT talked to Chip Kelly about trade speculation. Says DeSean has tried to, but Chip has been too busy with free agency, etc.
March 20, 2014
It's reported that teams are inquiring about Jackson.
Earlier on Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that the New York Jets are a team interested in trading for DeSean Jackson. Now, other rumored suitors for the Eagles' wide receiver have emerged. Rapoport is reporting that the Carolina Panthers and Oakland Raiders also have interest in Jackson.
This seems to indicate Jackson has trade value.
March 21, 2014
So much for the fact that Jackson has trade value. Apparently the Eagles were the ones making calls. That's not a good look.
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.
Later, it's reported Jackson doesn't think he'll be back with the team.
"The feeling within the DeSean Jackson camp right now is that he will not be back," McManus explained on Philadelphia sports radio station 97.5 The Fanatic. "It's a matter of when, not if."
Even later, the Eagles were reportedly openly shopping Jackson.
While there have been earlier reports that teams reached out to inquire about Jackson, in several cases it has been the Eagles that have directly or indirectly shopped the wide receiver to gauge interest, two of the sources said.
"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.
March 22, 2014
Djac wants to know where he stands with eagles, but hasnt returned any of chip kelly's call's since season ended. #communications
March 23, 2014
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson openly comments on Jackson, which is surprising because that could be viewed as tampering.
Jets owner Woody Johnson at owners meetings asked about DeSean Jackson, "We're looking at a number of players, including DeSean."
March 24, 2014
"[DeSean] is still under contract for us, and until there's anything to report on our players, that's where we are now."
In the last week or so, trade talks for DeSean Jackson have escalated. However, the Eagles decided to move on from Jackson well over a month ago, and possibly earlier. It is absolutely not something they decided to do over the last week or two. That of course, should not come as a surprise, but it is something we can confirm via a source close to the team.
Jeff McLane seems to confirm what Kempski had to say in his own report.
NFL sources have indicated that the Eagles decided to move on from Jackson after his South Philadelphia home was burglarized in early January.
March 25, 2014
A twist in the saga: Jackson says he has talked to Chip Kelly (via Instragram).
"Good to Talk to [Big] Chip today !! Say of hear what ya want !! The Picture speaks for itself !! Winner BirdGaNg !!"
Then it's reported Jackson has called his teammates to tell them he's returning to the Eagles.
Source close to situation said that DeSean Jackson has called a few Eagles teammates and told them he's staying after talk with Chip Kelly.
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is interviewed by the media at the NFL owners meetings. Like Roseman, he refuses to comment on Jackson.
"Nothing to say."
March 26, 2014
A large group of media shows up for Chip Kelly's speaking appearance at the NFL owners meetings. Kelly is asked about Jackson's future with the team.
Do you want DeSean on the team? "I like DeSean," said Kelly. "We're going to do what's best for our team."
March 27, 2014
Eagles offensive lineman Todd Herremans hosts a charity event. Media attends and speaks with Eagles players regarding Jackson. As Kempski notes, Jeremy Maclin provides less than enthusiastic support for his teammate.
At Todd Herremans' Hoops for Help charity event Thursday night, it was interesting to get Maclin's take on the mysterious situation that has played out with Jackson over the last month. Like Chip Kelly at the owners' meetings, Maclin praised Jackson, but his praise did not include a definitive declaration that he wants Jackson to return to the team for the 2014 season.
Maclin, who said he has not yet spoken with Jackson, was asked point blank if he wanted Jackson back. "I want to win games," Maclin replied, "and obviously DeSean is a very talented player. So I want to win games."
That's not exactly a resounding "yes."
March 28, 2014
Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com reports the Eagles are concerned with Jackson's off the field concerns.
Yet the Eagles' apparent interest in jettisoning Jackson likely has little to do with his performance on the field or a big-money contract that could squeeze the team's salary cap. Rather, sources close to Jackson and within the Eagles' organization say, it's Jackson's off-field behavior that concerns the front office. A bad attitude, an inconsistent work ethic, missed meetings and a lack of chemistry with head coach Chip Kelly are the reasons, sources told NJ.com. And when the Eagles looked more deeply into why Jackson was missing meetings, they found that his friends were becoming a more powerful -- and negative -- influence in his life.
After careful consideration this offseason, Eagles decide to part ways with DeSean Jackson. The team informed him of his release today.