Jets owner says team is interested in DeSean

Jets owner Woody Johnson (left) and Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (right). (Getty Images)
Jets owner Woody Johnson (left) and Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (right). (Getty Images)
Posted: March 25, 2014

ORLANDO - It's out there now.

Jets owner Woody Johnson made no bones about it - New York is at least one team interested in acquiring DeSean Jackson.

But at what price?

"We're looking at a number of players, including DeSean," Johnson said on Sunday at the NFL owners meetings. "He's a very good player. We're looking at a number of them. Trades are not our primary operating motif right now; we're trying to build through the draft."

Jackson, of course, is currently the property of the Eagles, so Johnson's answer raised some question about tampering. But the Eagles have been actively shopping the Pro Bowl wide receiver, three independent NFL sources told The Inquirer last week.

The Jets, along with the 49ers, Patriots, Panthers, Raiders and Seahawks, have reportedly expressed some level of interest in Jackson. But at least one team threw cold water on the reports.

"Right now, he's under contract with the Philadelphia Eagles," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said to CSNBayarea.com on Sunday. "We've not made any contact with the Eagles relative to a trade for DeSean Jackson. . . . As of this moment, those reports are totally misleading and false."

The Eagles have issued "no comments" to all of the reports and did not respond to a request for comment after Johnson spoke. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman were seen rushing from one event to the next on Sunday, but they didn't stop for interviews.

Johnson did.

"We're always interested in talent," Johnson said when asked whether he would be interested in Jackson if he became a free agent. "If it's someone that fits into our locker room, and he understands how to fit into our culture, at a price we can afford, and that is appropriate, we will do it."

The Eagles obviously would want a draft pick for the 27-year-old Jackson, but there has been increasing speculation that they may be forced to cut him if interested teams back off on a trade and paying Jackson's $10.25 million base salary.

Jackson could agree to rework his contract to facilitate a trade, but if he doesn't, the Eagles may have no other option than to release the receiver if they want to move on from him.

The Jets signed former Eagles quarterback Michael Vick to a one-year contract on Friday. Vick and Jackson remain close. Former Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who worked with Jackson for five years, is also now with the Jets.

Johnson was asked whether the Jets had reached out to the Eagles or they were the ones contacted.

"I don't know what the status of that is in terms of who reached out to who," Johnson said. "I haven't talked to DeSean or his agent."

Jackson is coming off his best season in terms of numbers. He caught a team-high 82 passes for 1,336 yards and nine touchdowns.

There has been plenty of speculation about why the Eagles would want to move Jackson - his production vs. salary and his high-maintenance personality are a few of the theories - but Eagles coach Chip Kelly has been unavailable.

Kelly is required to attend an hourlong roundtable interview on Wednesday at the meetings.


jmclane@phillynews.com

@Jeff_McLane

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