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Rating the Rumor: Eagles likely to pursue DeSean Jackson

Rating the Rumor: Eagles likely to pursue DeSean Jackson

The seeds of DeSean Jackson reuniting with the Eagles were planted way back in October on a conference call with reporters in the week leading up a game against Washington. Since then, the story has taken on sort of a life of its own, with perhaps the strongest report coming from Tim McManus for ESPN, writing in December that the Eagles are likely to pursue the three-time Pro Bowl selection.

For the first time since his unceremonious release from the Eagles, Jackson is about to become a free agent. The person responsible for his departure, Chip Kelly, is nowhere to be found. Jackson never wanted to leave in the first place, and there are people within the organization who probably like the guy.

Meanwhile, the Eagles have a clear need at receiver, particularly somebody who can stretch the field. And although Jackson is now 30, he went over 1,000 yards receiving again in 2016 and has shown few signs of slowing down.

Everything about Jackson returning to the Eagles makes sense… on the surface. It’s when we begin to look at the foundation for this rumor that there are some obvious cracks.

Keep in mind, the speculation is almost entirely media fueled. It’s not as if Jackson has been running around telling anybody who will listen that he wants to come back. He was asked about the possibility during that conference call, and again at a postgame press conference in December, and once more by ESPN’s Adam Schefter on his podcast. And each time the question was raised, Jackson has sort of shrugged and said anything is possible.

Sure, anything is possible – for the right amount of money. If the price is right, Jackson will remain in Washington, or check out Tampa Bay, or sign with San Francisco and move a little closer to home. These are all plausible destinations for Jackson. If we’re being honest about it, each of those destinations is arguably more plausible than re-signing with the Eagles, for simple reason.

The salary cap.

The biggest hurdle the Eagles must clear before signing any of these top free-agent receivers, be it Jackon, Alshon Jeffery, Kenny Stills or anybody we haven’t made it to yet. The organization doesn’t have the money to make a huge splash in free agency at the moment. Even if the Eagles clear a few contracts between now and March 9, it’s going to be tight.

A veteran of nine NFL seasons, this is almost certainly Jackson’s last opportunity to cash in with a huge contract. It’s not as if the Eagles offer an especially great chance of winning the Super Bowl in the next year or two as a reason to accept a hometown discount, either.

That doesn’t mean the Eagles aren’t interested, or Jackson isn’t interest. That doesn’t even mean it absolutely won’t happen. It simply means for all the discussion about Jackson returning, it’s no more likely than his signing anywhere else. In fact, it’s less likely.

The Eagles will come away with a wide receiver in free agency. That much is almost certain. The idea that they have a leg up in negotiations with Jackson, on the other hand, is almost certainly false.

Rating the Rumor: Good luck with that

Eagles preseason stock report, Week 2: Mychal Kendricks up, LeGarrette Blount down

Eagles preseason stock report, Week 2: Mychal Kendricks up, LeGarrette Blount down

Carson Wentz was impressive in the Eagles’ second preseason contest against the Bills on Thursday. While he did not look sharp early in the game, the way he was able to bounce back and finish strong was very encouraging.

Wentz missed two of his first three passes, badly overthrowing the intended receiver on both plays. He scrambled for a short gain on another play where he easily could’ve unloaded the football for a bigger chunk. Not coincidentally, the Eagles failed to record a first down on their opening three drives.

That easily could’ve been it, but Wentz went back out for a fourth series and played better, completing five of his last six attempts for 45 yards. The drive ended with a fumble, but Wentz showed resilience.

Sometimes we forget Wentz is a second-year quarterback. There are still going to be ups and downs this season – stretches of series and perhaps even games where he doesn’t find his rhythm. However, he also showed an ability to let it go and stop pressing here when the game didn’t get off to the start everybody would hope.

While not his best evening from a numbers standpoint, Wentz’s stock is still very much on the rise. Unfortunately, not too many of his teammates on offense could say the same after this effort.

STOCK UP

Mychal Kendricks
Preseason or not, Kendricks was everywhere. The sixth-year linebacker saw extensive playing time, finishing with two tackles for loss, 1.0 sack and one interception. The crazy part is the numbers don’t really do the performance justice. Kendricks was rushing the passer, providing sound coverage and just generally in position to make plays. One good outing may not translate into more snaps come the regular season, but Kendricks managed to rebuild some confidence in his ability. Who knows, it may have been enough to entice a team to make a trade offer the Eagles can’t refuse.

Ronald Darby
This should go without saying, but Darby was impressive in his Eagles debut. In fact, the most disappoint aspect of his night may have been when he dropped a likely pick-six. He of course made up for it later with a 48-yard interception return. Darby’s speed and instincts were on display for both plays. He was patient and in sound position, as opposed to some overly aggressive ballhawks that gamble, and had the athleticism to close on the football and finish the play. If this preview was any indication of what’s to come, Darby could feast behind the Eagles' front four.

Corey Graham
With Ron Brooks nursing a hamstring injury, the Eagles used Malcolm Jenkins at nickel cornerback and brought in Graham to play safety. That could also be a package the Eagles go with depending on the match-up, with the 32-year-old defensive back showing he still has something left. Graham finished with five tackles, at one point coming up from his spot at safety to make a nice stop in the backfield. He hit hard and demonstrated some value on special teams. Signed two weeks ago, it’s clear Graham has already overtaken Terrence Brooks and Jaylen Watkins on the depth chart.

Corey Clement
Clement has been the most productive running back on the team through two preseason games. The undrafted rookie out of Wisconsin rushed eight times for 34 yards and one touchdown versus the Bills, and his 24-yard carry is the Eagles’ longest of the summer. Yet, the area where Clement has been most impressive is in the passing game. He’s shown some ability as a receiver, but more important, he’s been willing and effective in pass protection. Given all the issues in the Eagles' backfield, Clement is going to have a legitimate shot to make the 53-man roster should this continue.

Alshon Jeffery
It was only two receptions for 24 yards, but with that, Jeffery was able to provide a glimpse into why the Eagles have kept him in bubble wrap this summer. His 14-yard slant was especially exciting. While the grab was as easy as it gets in the NFL, Jeffery showed a little explosiveness after the catch. Everybody talks about the highlight-reel catches, but Jeffery is an all-around weapon who can get it done on short and intermediate routes as well. This was a nice preview that should leave people wanting to see more.

STOCK DOWN

LeGarrette Blount
Through two games, Blount has 17 yards rushing. To put that in perspective, he also has 15 yards receiving. In Blount’s defense, the offensive line has not given him much room to run. At the same time, the 30-year-old back doesn’t look like a great fit for the offense. He’s slow to the corner, he’s not really a threat as a receiver out of the backfield, and he’s not great in pass protection, either. Add a drive-killing fumble to Blount’s preseason resume as well. With Clement’s emergence, Blount’s roster spot might be up for grabs, especially if Wendell Smallwood can show anything.

Lane Johnson
Johnson played poorly, with the caveat that he was starting at left tackle rather than the right. Of course, Johnson is the emergency option there, so it’s not as if he gets a pass. There were at least three plays where the fifth-year lineman was beaten badly, resulting in a run getting stuffed in the backfield, a quarterback sack and a holding penalty. He was only in for 18 snaps. It’s not as if this was the first time Johnson played the position, either. Granted, Johnson would no doubt improve if he were on the left full-time, but in a pinch, he’s still a little scary.

Matt McGloin
The Eagles won’t feel the need to carry three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. Most of McGloin’s passes down the field are errant at best, with too many balls being forced into double coverage. One such attempt resulted in an easy interception on Thursday. McGloin simply doesn’t have the arm strength to get away with those mistakes. He doesn’t look comfortable in the pocket, either, a combination that tends to result in a lot of check downs. Fortunately for the Eagles, Nick Foles is healthy and expected to play next week.

CSN's Jim Salisbury suffers unfortunate (but hilarious) pregame injury

CSN's Jim Salisbury suffers unfortunate (but hilarious) pregame injury

The Phillies are having a rough week on the West Coast. They've dropped four straight games to bad teams in the Padres and Giants, but they haven't been quite as unlucky as CSN Phillies insider Jim Salisbury, who last night suffered an unfortunate injury that we can laugh at only because he's OK.

While the Giants were taking infield practice prior to Friday's game at AT&T Park, Salisbury was being interviewed outside the visiting dugout by a San Francisco reporter. Shortstop Brandon Crawford, a Gold Glover last season, uncorked a throw to first base that sailed a bit wide, bounced, and ... hit Jim in the worst of all spots.

It's really a video you need to see for yourself (up above).

Crawford clearly felt enough guilt to send Salisbury a parting gift.

Make sure to ice today, Jim.

Hans Moleman could not be reached for comment.