DeSean's days as an Eagle are all but over

Eagles coach Chip Kelly joked with DeSean Jackson during a November game. Some say the coach is behind the effort to move the receiver.    RON CORTES / Staff Photographer
Eagles coach Chip Kelly joked with DeSean Jackson during a November game. Some say the coach is behind the effort to move the receiver.    RON CORTES / Staff Photographer
Posted: March 26, 2014

ORLANDO - If there was any remaining doubt that the Eagles were at least looking to shop DeSean Jackson, it was erased Monday when Howie Roseman did not refute reports of the wide receiver's eventual ouster.

The Eagles had issued one "no comment" after another to reports last week that teams were contacting the Eagles and finally to an Inquirer report that they were full-bore trying to trade Jackson.

But Roseman's relative silence at the NFL owners meetings Monday spoke volumes.

"He's still under contract for us," Roseman said when asked about Jackson's future, "and until there's anything to report on our players, that's where we are now."

The general manager was more than willing to discuss any of the Eagles' 67 other players during a 33-minute interview, but any time Jackson's name was brought up, Roseman danced around the topic.

"I don't know how I can answer this anymore," Roseman said after he was concurrently asked whether Jackson would be on the team when offseason workouts begin April 21 and if speculation about his departure was harmful to the Eagles.

Whether the Eagles are right or wrong, shortsighted or forward-thinking, Jackson's days in Philadelphia are all but done. A handful of coaches and GMs here have been privately talking as if Jackson is already an ex-Eagle.

But many Eagles fans have had the same question since there was initial speculation: Why would the team want to part with a Pro Bowl receiver in the prime of his career and risk not getting anything in return?

Roseman was asked the same question, and after reiterating the Eagles' obvious desire to win, he concluded by saying: "We're just starting here. It's our first year in the program."

But after a 10-6 season in which the Eagles were only a field goal away from advancing to the second round of the playoffs, wouldn't dumping Jackson seem to lessen the team's chances in 2014?

The key missing ingredient in all this is Chip Kelly. The Eagles coach's true feelings about Jackson have yet to be revealed. He dodged a question about the receiver at the Maxwell Club awards banquet on March 14, but surely will be hounded by reporters during Wednesday's obligatory roundtable interview.

If the Eagles want to move Jackson, then surely it must be Kelly who has spearheaded the effort. It was the Andy Reid-Roseman regime, after all, that gave Jackson a five-year, $47 million contract extension two years ago.

The 27-year-old receiver always had the reputation for being a "huge pain in the [butt]," as one former Eagles employee said. But many teams excel with players who can be distractions.

Kelly's threshold may be different from others, and there are still many unknowns about what has occurred behind closed doors. But to some here it has become obvious: "Chip just doesn't want him," one GM said.

As one NFL coach said, "There has to be something there we don't know."

In NFL circles, there has been speculation that the Eagles decided to move on from Jackson after his South Philadelphia home was burglarized in early January.

Jackson, who was away at the time, told police that $200,000 in cash was stolen as well as a 9mm handgun and jewelry valued at about $125,000.

There were no signs of forced entry, police said, though security cameras in the house had been tampered with. Police said they have nothing pointing toward Jackson's doing anything wrong or that he filed a fraudulent report.

"We have no indication of any type of foul play or misrepresentation on his part," said Lt. John Stanford, a department spokesman. "We are treating this as a burglary, and there is no indication that it's anything different."

As for where Jackson may end up, the New York Jets continue to look like the most likely landing spot. Owner Woody Johnson conceded that the Jets were interested, even though his mentioning Jackson by name could have been considered tampering.

"I obviously know there's a lot of speculation that's going on," Roseman said when asked about Johnson's comments. "I think for us any conversation we have with teams about [players], I think it just serves our point well with the relationships we have to keep those private."

San Francisco and Seattle, according to a source, have denied their reported interest in Jackson, but Oakland and Carolina have not done so. Johnson said a trade was unlikely, and the Raiders reportedly aren't interested in giving up a draft pick, either.

And why should they? The draft is being called the deepest at the receiver position in years - an opinion Roseman agreed with.

"Yeah, no question," he said. "It's the best group at any position in the draft."

And with Jackson on his way out, it's one way the Eagles are certain to address the hole that his removal would create.


jmclane@phillynews.com

@Jeff_McLane

Staff writer Mike Newall contributed to this article.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|