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