DeSean Jackson is playing the Eagles against the NFL

DeSean Jackson is playing the Eagles against the NFL

The Eagles sure could use a wide receiver, and DeSean Jackson is a free agent. Jackson even said it himself in an interview that ran on Tuesday: a reunion with the Eagles would be a good story.

Or perhaps a story that's almost too good to be true.

Don't get me wrong, Jackson could very well wind up back in an Eagles uniform once everything is said and done. He can become a free agent in March. There's an obvious need at wide receiver. Jackson never wanted to leave Philadelphia in the first place, and the person responsible for that — Chip Kelly — is long gone. It makes perfect sense.

So much sense, Jackson can use what is considered common knowledge around the NFL for leverage in contract negotiations with 31 other teams.

Jackson is a smart, calculating guy, especially when it comes to business. He doesn't even have to say he wants to play for the Eagles for people to presume the interest is there, and more to the point, he hasn't.

When a bunch of Philly reporters pressed Jackson about his impending free agency in October, he said there were no hard feelings with the Eagles. When confronted again in December, the three-time Pro Bowler responded that you never know what can happen. On Tuesday, Jackson flat out admitted he's thought about a potential return — while describing talk of it as "a lot of speculation."

There are reports the Eagles will pursue Jackson should he hit the market on March 9. The 30-year-old speedster will be happy to field their call.

Along with the rest of the calls he'll get from around the league.

Unlike the Eagles, Jackson has come right out and said he wants to remain in Washington, and as recently as two weeks ago. Whether the interest is mutual on the Redskins' part remains to be seen, particularly at Jackson's contract demands, but that's a lot stronger than any suggestion he's made to the contrary.

Another report emerged on Tuesday that indicates the Buccaneers are a potential landing spot for Jackson as well, citing a pre-existing rapport with quarterback Jameis Winston. In other words, at the very least, there are more teams competing for his services.

Philadelphia, Washington, Tampa Bay, the West Coast, wherever — this is ultimately going to come down to which one can or is willing to make the most attractive offer.

That might be strike one against the Eagles already. They don't have a great deal of room to maneuver under the salary cap as of now, and while additional money could become available, signing Jackson for around $10 million per year or more would be a strain no matter what.

Keep in mind, Jackson is simply answering the questions he's asked about the Eagles. He's not running around from one media outlet to the other trying to create a market there. And in all honesty, his answers have been lukewarm at best, essentially amounting to, Sure, I'll listen if the Eagles call. Why not?

In the meantime, that puts the rest of the NFL on notice. The Eagles can be very competitive in free agency when they choose to be, and if they really want Jackson — and there are people in high-ranking places that probably wouldn't mind that — they will be players. Even if the Eagles have no serious intention of chasing Jackson, the perception is out there.

Jackson certainly understands that, and he hasn't had to put much effort into keeping the fire burning. He's more or less let the flames fan themselves.

Ultimately, Jackson to the Eagles isn't the least bit unlikely. Yet the idea that he's going to show the club any more deference than another doesn't seem quite as plausible when his comments, this entire situation are placed under the microscope.

Words are cheap. Signing Jackson, on the other hand, will not be. Not for the Eagles. Not for anybody. Not while he's expertly pitting his suitors against one another in the DeSean Jackson Sweepstakes.

The winner isn't going to be based on sentimental favorite or nostalgia. It's who's going to make the best deal for Jackson.

Embiid watched draft with fans at Xfinity Live, signed Sam Hinkie banner

Embiid watched draft with fans at Xfinity Live, signed Sam Hinkie banner

Joel Embiid is a man of the people.

Jojo took time away from tweeting about the Sixers' newest death squad's nickname and throwing shade at Lonzo Ball to make an appearnce at Xfinity Live! in the South Philadelphia sports complex.

They were hosting an NBA Draft party.

Not only did Embiid make an appearance shortly after the Sixers selected Markelle Fultz, he also apparently signed the Sam Hinkie banner that was raised to the rafters at the lottery party last month.

Xfinity Live!'s Twitter account shared the following images and videos:

Brett Brown texted Sam Hinkie ‘basically saying thank you’

Brett Brown texted Sam Hinkie ‘basically saying thank you’

Longtime followers of The Process are well aware that Thursday night was a tag team effort.

Sam Hinkie put the Sixers in the position -- via a plethora of assets acquired during his tenure -- to allow Bryan Colangelo to deal with the Celtics for the No. 1 overall pick that turned into Markelle Fultz.

It's always a little strange hearing current employees give praise to former employees, but if anyone can do it well, it's head coach Brett Brown.

Brett was asked what his conversations with Sam have been since the draft lottery when the #PICKSWAP with Sacramento was executed.

"Just a random text basically saying 'thank you,'" Brown said. "I think organizationally we really haven't missed a beat. The volume of phone calls that I've been on in my four years, they're like every Monday you're on a conference call with the owners. We've tried to be so meticulously responsible in growing this patiently. Sam was excelent at what he did. I think Bryan [Colangelo] took that work and brought it forward. You can't help but go back and recognize how we arrived at the picks we had this year. I think you have to step back and really acknowledge the great work that Bryan did getting it over the line."

"You can't dismiss the position of the club and Sam helped us to get to this level."

Related:

Sixers select Markelle Fultz No. 1 overall 

Fultz made his first funny draft day faux pas 

Joel Embiid really wants Ben Simmons to dunk on Lonzo Ball

Joel Embiid declares Sixers' new nickname with Fultz in town