The DeSean Jackson trade raises more immediate questions than answers for Eagles


Eagles fans will undoubtedly be over the moon right now. 32-year old receiver DeSean Jackson, who many feel was unfairly kicked out of the organization during the Chip Kelly era, is coming home via a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But while the prospect of D-Jax tearing down the sideline at blazing speed, catching a bomb from Carson Wentz is truly exhilarating, there are some immediate questions that need answers first.

The odd man out:

First of all, let’s look at the cold hard facts. Nelson Agholor is going to cost the Eagles $9M in 2019, DeSean Jackson will cost them $10M and Alshon Jeffery, the team’s number one receiver, will cost them $14.2M against the cap. There’s no way that Roseman can afford to give all three players their current paychecks, so someone is going to have to take the fall.

There are two likely scenarios here. The first being that the Eagles can release Nelson Agholor prior to Wednesday, before that $9M becomes fully guaranteed. This would cost them absolutely nothing in terms of a cap hit and almost act as a direct trade-off to acquire DeSean Jackson.

If the Eagles do decide to let Nelly walk after yet another productive year, expect Jordan Matthews to be re-signed and move back inside after he set a career high in yards per reception as a swiss-army knife in 2018 for the Birds. He would be far cheaper, has chemistry with Wentz and is an immediate, reliable answer to what would be another wide receiver conundrum.

The second option is that the Eagles work on a longer term contract with Jackson, reducing his base salary to around $5M and incentivizing the rest. He’s in his contract year as things stand and without an extension, this doesn’t exactly solve what’s been a nagging need for three consecutive season’s.

What about me?

There are two, maybe three players who are going to scoff at this move. Mike Wallace, who suffered an injury last year, and Mack Hollins, who was dealt the same season-ending card. Both players were theorized to play a bigger role in the Eagles offense next season. Wallace suddenly becomes a cut-candidate, if not a backup at the WR2 slot, while Hollins was actually productive from the slot in his rookie season and could be a sleeper pick to make a full-time move inside.

Another name left out in the cold here is Shelton Gibson…although that . has been the case for quite some time. Gibson finally flashed some playmaking potential during the last preseason, but it wasn’t enough to really generate any kind of momentum going into the regular season, despite a complete lack of depth in the early goings.

The future…

Every year, we say that Jackson is getting older, and every year he seems just as efficient…especially with Kirk Cousins and Jameis Winston being . among the names throwing him the football, it’s beyond impressive. But let’s be honest…Jackson will want a sizeable bag and he likely won’t be the guy to run deep into this team’s five year plan, instead filling the ‘free agent speed’ void left by Wallace and Smith before him. Do the Eagles still target a receiver early in the draft, or potentially groom a later round pick? Their last two wideout draft picks haven’t been able to deliver consistent production, or stay on the field, which does cause some reason for hesitation.

There’s no doubting that Jackson will be the guy right now…but how much will the Eagles want to invest to keep him around and does his production warrant his current payday. A deal is estimated to be in the $8-$9M range as it is and the Eagles are already set to pay Agholor that kind of money. So would you rather allocate those funds to a younger receiver who can develop, or go all-in on the window right now?

This is all exciting to hypothesize over and there’s no questioning Roseman will be very busy over the coming days. But for now, let’s just sit back, have a cup of tea, and sip away at the thought of DeSean Jackson ripping the NFC East to shreds in the right colors once more.